The voice from US stirring Khalistan waters in Punjab

A day after the Punjab Police’s Intelligence Wing HQ was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, an audio message, purportedly of Gurpatwant Singh Pannu, the US-based founding father of the banned Sikh for Justice (SFJ), did the rounds by which he’s heard sending out a warning to Himachal CM Jai Ram Thakur that the assault in Mohali may as nicely have been on the Shimla Police headquarters. The audio message additionally has Pannu allegedly claiming accountability for putting in ‘Khalistani flags’ on the gates of the Meeting constructing in Dharamshala.

Pannu has been on the centre of among the most vexing circumstances for the Punjab Police, those who have served to deliver again recollections of the state’s turbulent previous – from holding ‘Punjab Referendum 2020’ to operating a marketing campaign in search of the discharge of Jagtar Singh Hawara, who’s serving a life sentence within the Beant Singh assassination case.

Initially from Khankot village on the outskirts of Amritsar, Pannu is a legislation graduate from Panjab College. One of many three kids of Mahinder Singh, a former worker with the Punjab State Agricultural Advertising Board, Pannu is now an legal professional at legislation within the US.

He was among the many founders of the US-based SFJ, which claims to be “a global advocacy and human rights group arrange in 2007 with the categorical intent of attaining self-determination for the Sikh folks of their historic homeland within the area of Indian held Punjab and establishing a sovereign state, popularly referred to as Khalistan.”

Pannu’s skilled abilities as a practising lawyer helped him run the SFJ’s marketing campaign towards Indian leaders allegedly linked to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. SFJ even moved the US courts in search of to prosecute Congress leaders Kamal Nath, Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh.

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In September 2013, throughout Manmohan Singh’s go to to the US, a federal court docket in Washington had issued summons to the then PM appearing on a plea by the SFJ that accused him of “funding crimes towards humanity perpetrated upon the Sikh group in India”.

In 2016, then Punjab CM Amarinder Singh needed to cancel a go to to Canada following a case filed by the SFJ.

In August 2018, he was within the midst of one other headline-grabbing train: the SFJ made a declaration in London for a ‘Referendum 2020’ “to liberate Punjab that’s at present occupied by India”. The ‘referendum’, nevertheless, fizzled out.

In 2019, Pannu and the SFJ acquired a jolt when the outfit was banned underneath the Illegal Actions (Prevention) Act. The Dwelling Ministry famous: “Within the garb of the so-called referendum for Sikhs, SFJ is definitely espousing secessionism and militant ideology in Punjab, whereas working from secure havens on international soils and actively supported by inimical forces in different international locations.”

Pannu was within the information in the course of the agitation towards the farm payments when, in January 2021, the Nationwide Investigation Company registered an FIR towards Pannu and issued summons to varied farmer leaders and activists to probe their supply of funding.

Regardless of his brazenly secessionist calls, like-minded pro-Khalistan teams in India such because the Dal Khalsa and Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) have reservations about Pannu and his activism. They accuse him of luring kids in Punjab into finishing up his actions by paying them cash whereas himself having fun with diplomatic immunity from arrest as he’s a US citizen.

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Pannu’s critics level to how over 10 kids have been arrested in 2018 alone in circumstances allegedly instigated by Pannu, but the person himself roams free – he was as soon as even noticed at a White Home occasion when Donald Trump was US President.

Pannu is thought to usually announce rewards for hoisting the Khalistan flag on authorities buildings. SFJ had additionally promised visas to kids to lure them to attend its ‘London declaration’.

Pannu is thought to be relentless about bombarding social media along with his audio and video messages, delivered in extremely accented Punjabi. The newest was after the Mohali blast, when he despatched out a chilling warning to the Himachal CM.

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