May 22, 2024

MOON Desk: Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the leader of Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), has firmly stated that India’s recent attempts to suppress him through asset seizures in Punjab, India, and false allegations will not deter the Khalistan Referendum movement. This movement has continued to gather momentum despite facing numerous challenges.

Pannun’s comments come in response to India’s federal anti-terror agency’s announcement of the confiscation of his properties in India’s northern state of Punjab. The Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) accuses him of involvement in terror activities in India. This development follows Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s public accusation that India was behind the assassination of pro-Khalistan Canadian leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was a close associate of Pannun.

The seizure of Pannun’s house and land “comes as a big boost to the country’s crackdown on the terror and secessionist network being operated from various countries, including Canada,” a statement issued by the Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) said.

Pannun said India was desperate and in a state of shock over the success of Khalistan Referendum campaign which has mobilised tens of thousands of Sikhs in UK, Canada, Europe and America through Khalistan Referendum voting.

Regarding the seizure of his property, Pannun said, “The issue at the heart of the conflict with India is not the properties of an individual – Pannun. The issue is about the land of the Sikh people – Punjab – that is forcefully occupied by India and the resources of the indigenous people of Punjab that are being plundered by Delhi. Khalistan Referendum 2025 loaded with millions of ‘votes’ is going to be ‘Sikhs’ Surgical Strike’ against India that will liberate Punjab to create Democratic Republic of Khalistan (DRK) where people of all religions are going to have equal status, rights and freedoms.”

Notably, in 2020, India sought Interpol’s assistance in issuing a Red Corner Notice (RCN) against Pannun, alleging him to be a terrorist. However, Interpol rejected the request, citing a lack of evidence linking Pannun to any acts of violence or terrorism worldwide, including India. Interpol further suggested that India’s motives may be related to Pannun’s human rights activism and his political campaign for the Khalistan Referendum.

Despite India’s persistent requests, both the US and Canada have refrained from taking action against Pannun due to insufficient evidence and India’s inability to substantiate its claims.

Tensions between India and Canada have escalated following Trudeau’s statement, where he claimed credible intelligence linking Indian government agents to Nijjar’s murder in Canada. Nijjar was the President of the Khalistan Referendum chapter in Canada, operating under the banner of Sikhs For Justice.

This is not the first time India has taken legal action against Pannun. According to Indian media reports, the New York-based lawyer faces over 25 criminal cases in India. The NIA’s latest action involved seizing Pannun’s properties in Chandigarh and Amritsar.

Last week, Pannun called on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to expel India’s High Commissioner to Canada, Sanjay Verma, following Trudeau’s confirmation of India’s involvement in Nijjar’s assassination.

“Over the past number of weeks, Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar,” Trudeau said, addressing the House of Commons about an “extremely serious matter,” after informing the opposition party leaders.

Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said the head of Indian intelligence in Canada Pavan Kumar Rai has been expelled as a consequence. “If proven true this would be a great violation of our sovereignty and of the most basic rule of how countries deal with each other,” Joly said. “As a consequence we have expelled a top Indian diplomat.”

Pannun echoed Trudeau’s stance, asserting that Nijjar’s assassination was the work of Indian agencies operating on Canadian soil. SFJ has called for a ‘Shaheed Nijjar Referendum’ in Surrey, BC, on October 29 and urged PM Trudeau to declare Sanjay Verma persona non grata, expelling him from Canada immediately. “It’s now urgent that the Indian diplomats are held accountable.”

 

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