Monday, April 15, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Mann back from Pakistan
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Wagah, April 14
The Sikh militants who figure in India’s “most wanted” list have gone underground in Pakistan, even as the radicals displayed neither placards carrying inflammatory slogans nor distributed literature among the devotees during pilgrimage to Sikh shrines in Pakistan to mark the Baisakhi celebrations.

This was disclosed by Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, a member of Parliament and president Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) who reached here this afternoon after two-day pilgrimage to gurdwaras in Pakistan. Gajinder Singh, chairman Dal Khalsa International, Paramjit Singh Panjwar, chief of the Khalistan Commando Force, Ranjit Singh Neeta, chief of the Khalistan Zindabad Force, Lakhmir Singh Rode, chief of the International Sikh Youth Federation and Wadhawa Singh Babbar, chief Babbar Khalsa International, who earlier used to meet freely Sikh devotees during the visits of jathas disappeared from the scene, obviously under global opinion against terrorism. Sources revealed that whereabouts of the militants were not known as their means of communication stood snapped.

Mr Mann said that no attempt was made by the militants to capture the stage and the Baisakhi celebrations at Panja Sahib gurdwara (Hassan Abdal) went smoothly. However, while addressing the Sikh sangat ‘at Panja Sahib, Mr Mann urged the government of Pakistan not to hand over Sikh militants to India unless both countries signed extradition treaty. He said he would also make this demand in Parliament not to force Pakistan to hand over the ‘most wanted’ persons in the absence of such treaty.

Replying a question, Mr Mann said that his mission of going to Pakistan was to break the ‘blockade’ put up by the central government in the way of pilgrimage. He said he had gone to Pakistan on a ‘peace mission’ and he was accorded warm welcome by the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, the government of Pakistan and common people. He said people of both countries want peace in the region and hence tension on the international border due to Army build-up should be defused immediately.

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