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India blocks 40 websites of Sikhs For Justice

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has issued orders for blocking 40 websites of the U.S.-based Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), which has been banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The ban orders came on recommendations from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). The outfit, which was banned by the MHA about a year ago, has been running an online campaign for recruiting supporters.

Also read: India designates nine individuals linked to Khalistani groups as terrorists

Accordingly, based on the recommendation, the MeitY has issued orders under Section 69 A of the Information Technology Act to block SFJ websites, said a MHA spokesperson on Sunday.

The move comes after the government designated nine more individuals as “terrorists” under the anti-terror law for their links to various separatist Khalistani groups.

Among them are Wadhawa Singh Babbar, Pakistan-based chief of Babbar Khalsa International (BKI); Lakhbir Singh Rode, who heads the Pakistan-based International Sikh Youth Federation; Ranjeet Singh Neeta, based in Pakistan and chief of Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF); and Paramjit Singh Panjwar, the head of Pakistan-based Khalistan Commando Force.

Also read: Comment | Beyond Khalistan

Others under the MHA list are Bhupinder Singh Bhinda and Gurmeet Singh Bagga, both from Germany and key KZF members; Gurpatwant Singh Pannun from the U.S., a prominent member of SFJ; Hardeep Singh Nijjar from Canada and chief of the Khalistan Tiger Force; and Paramjit Singh Pamma of BKI in the United Kingdom.

Wadhawa Singh, who faces eight cases under the Indian Penal Code, the Explosives Act and the UAPA, had allegedly killed several people in Jalandhar in 1981.

“He maintains close association with radical elements based in the U.K., the U.S., Canada and European countries. His son Jitender Vir Singh and son-in-law Satnam Singh are based in Germany and are active members of BKI there,” said a government official.

Also read: Check spread of Khalistan movement: Punjab CM

Rode, against whom an FIR has been registered, runs an import/export business of edible items from Lahore. He has been accused of smuggling drugs. His son, Bhagat Brar, is based in Canada and frequents Pakistan, officials said. Rode is also linked to the extremists operating from the U.K., U.S., Canada and European countries.

Neeta’s outfit was said to be involved in bomb blasts in Delhi’s Connaught Place in November 1995, another explosion on board Jhelum Express in December 1996 and blasts in vehicles near Delhi in January 1997. The allegations include that the outfit is also into gun-running, fake Indian currency smuggling and organising migration of extremist elements from India to various European countries via Nepal. Neeta is wanted in 15 cases.

Panjwar is wanted in 20 cases. His wife and two sons are currently based in Germany. In 2012, another “terrorist” Bhinda was sentenced to over four years’ jail by a Frankfurt court for conspiring to kill the Radha Soami Beas Dera head, Baba Gurinder Singh, in July 2010.

Pannun runs a law firm with its offices in New York and California. The allegation is that he is the legal adviser of SFJ. He is wanted in seven cases.

Pamma, who operates from the U.K., is wanted in two cases in Punjab. He spearheaded a hate campaign against India during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the U.K. in April 2018, as alleged.

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2020 2:29:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-blocks-40-websites-of-sikhs-for-justice/article31996333.ece

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