Sunday 28 February 2021
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NIA to question journalist, farmer leaders, others in SFJ case

In the FIR lodged last year under sections of the UAPA, the NIA alleged that SFJ has conspired to create an atmosphere of fear and anarchy

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Politics India NIA to question journalist, farmer leaders, others in SFJ case

Sources have informed that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has sent notices to several people, including a journalist, farmer leaders and others associated with the agitation against three agricultural reform laws in connection with its probe into the Sikh For Justice (SFJ) case. An NIA insider told news agency IANS, “The NIA has sent notices to several people for examination.”

The official clarified that the NIA is not looking at these people as criminals but they could serve as witnesses to ascertain certain details of the case.

When asked who had been called other than the journalist, the official said, “I cannot specifically say about the profession of the individuals who have been called for examination.”

The NIA official said that the agency had called a number of people as witnesses for investigation. “They have been called to be examined to ascertain certain details for the investigation,” the official said.

The NIA has summoned among others Baldev Singh, the president of Lok Bhalai Insaf Welfare Society. The LBIWS is one of the unions participating in talks with the government over the new farm laws.

The NIA summons says that Singh has been asked to appear on 17 January before the anti-terror probe agency at its headquarters located in Delhi’s CGO Complex.

The probe agency has summoned also Surender Singh Thikriwal, Palwinder Singh, Pardeep Singh, Nobeljit Singh and Karnail Singh to appear before it on 17 and 18 January.

The agency had registered a case on 15 December 2020 after a notification from the government under several sections of the IPC and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA. In the FIR, the NIA alleged that SFJ, an unlawful association and other Khalistani terrorist outfits including but not limited to Babbar Khalsa International, Khalistan Tiger Force and Khalistan Zindabad Force — along with their front or proxy organisations — have hatched a conspiracy to create an atmosphere of apprehension and anarchy. These activists may cause disaffection in people. They incite people to rise in rebellion against the government, the agency believes.

The FIR said that Khalistanis are collecting huge funds abroad for on-ground campaign and propaganda against missions in countries like the US, the UK, Canada, Germany, etc.

Designated terrorists Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, Paramjit Singh Pamma, Hardeep Singh Nijjar and others are spearheading these campaigns.

The NIA FIR also alleged that SFJ and other pro-Khalistani elements involved in this conspiracy, through their incessant social media campaign and otherwise, are radicalising and recruiting impressionable youth to agitate and undertake terrorist acts for creation of a separate nation of Khalistan after secession from India.

The NIA had filed a charge sheet against 10 Khalistani terrorists in the SFJ case — including designated terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on December 18 last year. The agency has filed the charge sheet in the Special NIA court in Punjab’s Mohali under several sections of the Indian Penal Code and the UAPA.

Besides Pannun, who is a resident of New York in US, the NIA has named Pargat Singh, Sukhraj Singh, Bikramjit Singh, Manjeet Singh, Jatinder Singh, Gurwinder Singh, Harpreet Singh, Kuldeep Singh and Harmeet Singh.

The NIA filed the charge sheet in a case related to a series of acts of violence including acts of arson in Punjab during the year 2017-18, carrying out of propaganda activities both online and on-ground campaigns in support of the SFJ and Referendum-2020. A gang of radicalised Sikh youth, under the direction and financial assistance from SFJ handlers located abroad, committed these acts as part of an organised conspiracy by the accused. They want to launch a concerted secessionist campaign for the creation of Khalistan, the NIA asserts.

It was Punjab Police that first registered the case in Amritsar. The NIA took over the investigation on 5 April last year.

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