India’s National Investigation Agency charges 16 foreign-based Sikhs in SFJ case

Canada-based JS Dhaliwal, Hardeep Singh Nijjar and Jatinder Singh Grewal face charges in India

New Delhi (IANS): The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday filed charges against 16 foreign-based persons in connection with its probe into an alleged organized conspiracy by them to launch a concerted secessionist campaign under the banner of ‘Referendum 2020’ (Sikhs for Justice) for the creation of ‘Khalistan’.

An NIA spokesperson said that the agency has named New York-based Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, Avtar Singh Pannun, Harpreet Singh aka Rana Singh and S. Himmat Singh, UK-based Gurpreet Singh Baagi, Paramjit Singh aka Pamma, Sarabjit Singh Bannur, Kulwant Singh Mothada, Kulwant Singh aka Kanta and Dupinderjit Singh, California-based Amardeep Singh Purewal aka Amardeep Singh Khalsa, Harjaap Singh aka Japhi Singh and Sarabjit Singh aka Sabi Singh and Canada-based JS Dhaliwal, Hardeep Singh Nijjar and Jatinder Singh Grewal.

The official said that the 16 accused are members of Sikh for Justice, an organization declared as ‘unlawful association’ under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The official said that during the investigation, it was revealed that Sikhs for Justice, a secessionist outfit floated in the garb of ‘human rights advocacy group’ with its offices in various foreign countries like the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, etc., is a frontal organization of Khalistani terrorist outfits operating from foreign soils, including Pakistan.

“Under this campaign, numerous social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, YouTube and a number of websites have been launched, which are being used to propagate sedition as well as enmity on the grounds of region and religion, to radicalize impressionable youth, to cause disturbance to peace and harmony and to raise funds for terrorist activities,” the official said.

The NIA official further said that the SFJ has been attempting to undermine the security of the India by instigating Sikh personnel in the Indian army to rise up in mutiny against India.

“The SFJ is also trying to radicalize the youth of Kashmir and openly extending support for secession of Kashmir from India,” the official said.

“Based on the dossiers provided by NIA and other agencies, the chief patrons of SFJ namely Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, Hardeep Singh Nijjar and Paramjit Singh have already been designated as ‘terrorist’ under UA(P)Act,” the official said.

During the course of investigation, NIA identified immovable properties belonging to Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in Punjab’s Amritsar and Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s in Punjab’s Jalandhar.

On the request of the NIA, the Ministry of Home Affairs, in exercise of powers conferred under UAPA, has ordered attachment of these properties, the official added.