NIA Takes Action Against Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a Designated Terrorist Linked to SFJ

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has made a significant move by confiscating the properties of Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a designated terrorist and member of the banned pro-Khalistani group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ). This action was carried out under section 33(5) of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), 1967. It’s noteworthy that this is the first time the NIA has taken such a step to seize assets related to an individual accused under this section.

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun is associated with the fringe organization SFJ, which comprises radical Sikhs of foreign nationality in countries like the US, Canada, and the UK. SFJ was declared an unlawful association under Section 3(1) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, by a notification issued by the Indian government on July 10, 2019. The ban on SFJ was imposed for five years due to its primary objective of establishing an independent and sovereign country called Khalistan in Punjab, openly challenging the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India.

Various law enforcement agencies have filed cases against Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who has been categorized as an “individual terrorist” under the fourth schedule of the UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Amendment Act).

This development comes at a time when diplomatic tensions between India and Canada have escalated. Canada accused New Delhi of involvement in the murder of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, leading to the expulsion of a senior diplomat from each country. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged the involvement of “agents of the Indian government” in Nijjar’s killing in Surrey in June. However, these allegations were vehemently denied by New Delhi as “absurd” and “motivated.”

An official source stated, “Pannun is accused in case RC-19/2020/NIA/DLI dated 05.04.2020 under sections 120-B, 124-A, 153-A, 153-B, and 17, 18, and 19 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. The case pertains to the funding of terrorist activities in Punjab from abroad, creating disharmony among communities, and radicalizing youth for terrorist activities. The confiscated properties include agricultural land in Village Khankot, Amritsar, and a share of House Number 2033, Sector 15/C, Chandigarh.”

In October of the previous year, Interpol declined India’s request for a Red Notice against Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. The Central Bureau of Investigation, which serves as India’s national central bureau for Interpol matters, had submitted the request to Interpol on behalf of the NIA. However, it was returned with further queries.

Key Highlights

  • The NIA seizes properties of Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a designated terrorist linked to SFJ, under section 33(5) of UAPA.
  • Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) is a banned pro-Khalistani group that openly advocates for Khalistan and challenges India’s sovereignty.
  • Gurpatwant Singh Pannun faces charges related to funding terrorist activities in Punjab and radicalizing youth.
  • Diplomatic tensions between India and Canada rise following allegations of Indian government involvement in a Khalistani leader’s murder.
  • Interpol rejects India’s request for a Red Notice against Pannun.

It remains to be seen how this asset seizure impacts the activities and influence of the banned SFJ and its members. The NIA’s action sends a strong message about India’s commitment to countering terrorism and maintaining its territorial integrity.

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