The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has booked US based designated terrorist and leader of Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) Gurpatwant Singh Pannun for his latest viral video threatening the passengers flying Air India and the airline with closure of operations, people familiar with the development said on Monday.
Pannun, under the scanner of NIA since 2019 and a designated terrorist under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), runs a Khalistani propaganda from foreign soil and Indian agencies have been making efforts to get him extradited here.
The anti-terror probe agency, in its latest case against him, has filed a suo motu case against Pannun under various sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and UAPA as he released video messages on social media platforms on November 4 asking Sikhs not to fly on Air India planes on and after 19th November claiming threat to their lives if they flew on Air India.
“Pannun also threatened that Air India would not be allowed to operate in the world. His assertions and threats have triggered a high alert as well as investigations by security forces in Canada, India and certain other countries where Air India flies,” NIA said in a statement.
“In his video messages, released on 4th November, Pannun had urged Sikhs to stop flying on Air India planes on and after the said date, citing potential threat to their lives. He also issued a warning to the government of India that the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) would remain closed on the November 19,” NIA said.
Asserting that these threats are part of his concerted plan to promote terror acts in India to revive terrorism in India, NIA said Pannun “has been creating a false narrative around the issues prevailing in the state of Punjab, especially with regard to Sikh religion, by promoting enmity between the Sikhs in the country and other communities”.
The latest threat, NIA said, is in line with the same narrative, which Pannun has actively promoted in the past by threatening and attempting to disrupt essential transportation network systems, including the railways, as well as thermal power plants in India.
A chargesheet filed by the NIA in December 2020 against Pannun, UK based Paramjit Singh Pamma and Canada based Hardeep Singh Nijjar stated that SFJ, floated in the garb of ‘Human Rights advocacy group’ with its offices in various foreign countries like the USA, Canada, the UK, Australia etc, is a frontal organisation of Khalistani terrorist outfits operating from foreign soils including Pakistan.
Intelligence agencies have also alerted that Pannun is a key person behind organising demonstrations and on-ground campaigns outside Indian high commissions in the UK, the US, Canada, Germany and other countries.
The ministry of home affairs (MHA) had banned SFJ on July 10, 2019, for its anti-India activities while Pannun was declared an individual terrorist on July 1, 2020.
The first ever case was registered against self-proclaimed General Counsel of SFJ in 2019. In September this year, the NIA confiscated his share of the house and land in Amritsar (Punjab) and Chandigarh UT.
He has been declared a proclaimed offender and attempts to get an international arrest warrant from Interpol have not fructified yet.