‘US inputs serious, being examined’: MEA on report claiming ‘plot to kill Sikh separatist foiled by US’

MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, when asked about the the report, said that the US government has shared “some inputs” that were being “examined by “relevant departments.”

Statesman News Service

Statesman News Service

The Statesman


Khalistani leader Pannun threatens Indo-Canadian Hindus, asks them to leave. PHOTO: THE NATION

November 23, 2023

NEW DELHI – The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Wednesday responded to a report that claimed the United States has foiled a plot to kill Khalistan extremist and Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) co-founder Gurpatwant Singh Pannun and raised the issue with the Indian government “at the senior most level”.

MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, when asked about the the report, said that the US government has shared “some inputs” that were being “examined by “relevant departments.”

He said the inputs were related to a “nexus between organized criminals, gun runners, terrorists and others” which is a concern for both the countries.

“India takes such inputs seriously since it impinges on our own national security interests as well,” Bagchi said.

The report published by the UK daily Financial Times claimed that “US authorities thwarted a plot to kill a Sikh separatist in the United States and issued a warning to India over concerns the government in New Delhi was involved.”

The report named SFJ founder Pannun, who was booked by India’s anti-terror probe agency NIA over his video threatening to fliers of Air India. Earlier today, the NIA also conducted raids on several premises linked to the Sikh extremist’s SFJ in Punjab.

White House spokesperson Adrienne Watson, when asked about the FT report, said that India “expressed surprise and concern” and “stated that activity of this nature was not their policy.”

“We understand the Indian government is further investigating this issue and will have more to say about it in the coming days. We have conveyed our expectation that anyone deemed responsible should be held accountable,” Watson was quoted as saying by Reuters.

This comes just two months after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged that Ottawa has evidence of “credible” allegations linking agents of Indian government to the murder of another Canadian Sikh extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June early this year.

While India rejected Canadian PM’s claims as “absurd and motivated”, the issue triggered a massive diplomatic row between Canada and India.

Who is Gurpatwant Singh Pannun? 

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun is a dual citizen of America and Canada. Born and raised in Khankot village, located on the outskirts of Amritsar in Punjab, India, Pannun hails from a modest background.

His father, Mohinder Singh, formerly worked for the Punjab State Agricultural Marketing Board, while his mother’s name is Amarjit Kaur. Pannun also has a brother named Magwant Singh Pannun.

Although Pannun is not widely known in his village, his family possesses substantial assets, including valuable agricultural land, a school, and a college within the village.

Their wealth can be traced back to their migration from Pakistan to Khankot village during the Partition in 1947.

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun has gained notoriety for his advocacy of a separate state for Sikhs in Punjab.

As the legal advisor and spokesperson for Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), he played a role in promoting the concept of Khalistan, an independent Sikh state.

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