Amritpal aide Avtar Singh Khanda dies in England : The Tribune India

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Amritpal aide Avtar Singh Khanda dies in England

While unnamed sources say the cause of death was cancer, his supporters claim that he died of poisoning

Amritpal aide Avtar Singh Khanda dies in England

Photo for representation



Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 15

Avtar Singh Khanda, a self-styled chief of the banned Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) and a close associate of arrested Amritpal Singh, died in Birmingham.

While unnamed sources said the cause of death was cancer, his supporters claimed that he died of poisoning. A medical report from Sandwell hospital, where he died, is awaited.

Khanda had been on life support in the London hospital for some days.

Sources in the agencies here said that though initially it was believed to be suspected poisoning for which he was admitted to hospital, “according to the information which we could gather so far, in his medical records the cause of death has been identified as blood cancer”.

The National Investigation Agency believes he had masterminded the March 19 violence at the Indian High Commission in London and was also instrumental in bringing down the Indian flag flying outside the premises.

Khanda was born in Moga district. Khanda was believed to be aligned with other leaders of KLF including Jagtar Singh Tara and Paramjit Singh Pamma. He was also related to another militant leader Gurjant Singh Budhsingwala. Khanda was in league with other London-based extremists Joga Singh, Kuldip Singh Chaheru and Gursharan Singh in staging aggressive demonstrations before the Indian High Commission on several occasions.

Indian agencies accuse Khanda of radicalising and training susceptible youth in extremist and separatist ideology. His name was in the list handed over to the British government in 2015 for conspiring against India. However, Khanda was allowed to live in Britain on political asylum after he entered the country on a student visa.

His freedom of movement in Britain and frequent outbursts against the Indian government was a sore point with the intelligence agencies and his activities remained largely unchecked despite NSA Ajit Doval raising the issue more than a couple of times with his British counterpart Tim Barrow. However, the British authorities shut down a TV channel on which he would pass inflammatory comments against the Indian state.

 

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