Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, July 10
The Centre has banned Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), an organisation which pushes for Sikh Referendum 2020 as part of its separatist agenda.
Welcoming the move, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh described it as the first step towards protecting the nation from the anti-India and secessionist plans and designs of the ISI-backed organisation.
Police officials here said the decision has been taken in New Delhi. Punjab police had booked more than half a dozen cases against SFJ activists in India for terrorist activities.
Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh had also registered some cases against the organisation.
SFJ legal head and spokesperson Gurpatwant Pannun had recently threatened Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta in a video message.
Pannu’s twitter handle was also recently suspended after a request from India. Pakistan had banned SFJ in April this year.
Outfit deserves total ban as ‘terror organisation’: Capt
Capt Amarinder said though the outfit deserved to be banned outright as a terrorist organisation, the Centre had at least taken a long-overdue stand against SFJ, which had unleashed a wave of terror and fear in Punjab in recent years.
With this step, the Centre had finally shown its much-needed intent to crack down on the organisation, which was covertly being backed by Pakistan’s ISI in its conspiratorial campaign over ‘Sikh Referendum 2020’, launched in 2014, said the Punjab CM.
He, however, asserted that the Centre would have to take more proactive measures to crack down on SFJ and its affiliates/operatives in the interest of national security.
The recent years had seen blatant attempts by SFJ to radicalise, fund and motivate some poor and gullible youth of Punjab into committing acts of arson and violence, Captain Amarinder pointed out, adding that the outfit had also been making efforts to enlist the support of gangsters and radicals in Punjab and exhorting them to fight for the ‘liberation of Punjab’ from the Indian government.
Captain Amarinder came down heavily against those trying to play down the vile threat posed by SFJ, which continues to flex its muscle not just within but also outside India, as manifest in the June 30, 2019, incident. On the day, UK-based SFJ activists were in the spotlight during the India vs England World Cup cricket match at Edgbaston (Birmingham). Pamma and his associates were seen wearing T-shirts of Referendum 2020 and waving the Khalistani Flag at the Cricket match.
In a highly secessionist act, SFJ also shared a poster on social media just last week urging pro-Khalistani Sikhs to boo the Indian Team during the Semi-Final match against New-Zealand on July 9, 2019.
The Chief Minister said these incidents totally negate the ridiculous stand of SAD and its leaders, as evident in the statement of party spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema that Khalistan was no longer an issue.
Pointing to the gravity of the issue, Captain Amarinder urged the Akalis to refrain from playing petty politics over it, and instead to join the government in fighting and eliminating the menace.
Captain Amarinder also exhorted the global community to support India’s efforts to understand and counter the SFJ’s secessionist and violent agenda and gameplan, which had been cleverly shrouded behind a supposedly non-violent Referendum campaign.
The Punjab Police, over the last 3 years, had registered several criminal cases against such youth as well as SFJ leaders/operatives based in various countries and working under the command of SFJ promoters, operating from USA, Canada, UK, Malaysia etc.
The Chief Minister said SFJ had even tried to instigate Punjab Police personnel to revolt against the state government, besides issuing threats and intimidating Punjab Chief Minister, Punjab Jails Minister and senior police officers of Punjab, including many former and present DGP. Besides, the outfit had been targeting Sikh Army soldiers through a dedicated social media campaign and instigating them to desert the Army and work for promotion of Referendum-2020 instead.
More recently, a strong nexus between SFJ and Kashmiri separatists had come to light, suggesting a wider net that goes beyond Punjab, with serious repercussions for national security, said the Chief Minister, adding that what had so far been exposed was only the tip of the iceberg.
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