India denies U.S. news outlet’s report on Khalistan sympathisers

“We strongly assert that such reports are fake and completely fabricated. There is no such memo,” says Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson

December 10, 2023 11:56 pm | Updated December 11, 2023 11:47 am IST - NEW DELHI

U.S.-based online news outlet The Intercept reported that the official order was signed by Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra and listed several pro-Khalistan figures. Representational file image.

U.S.-based online news outlet The Intercept reported that the official order was signed by Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra and listed several pro-Khalistan figures. Representational file image. | Photo Credit: AP

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on December 10 “strongly” denied that a written order was issued last April to deal with the threat of Khalistan sympathisers in the western countries. The remark from MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi came soon after the U.S.-based online news outlet The Intercept reported that the official order was signed by Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra and listed several pro-Khalistan figures that included Hardeep Singh Nijjar who was killed in an incident in Surrey, British Columbia on June 18. 

“We strongly assert that such reports are fake and completely fabricated. There is no such memo,” said Mr. Bagchi in response to the report that indicated India’s growing impatience with the Khalistan figures in the western countries. 

Also read |A dark shadow on New Delhi’s credibility

“Concrete measures shall be adopted to hold the suspects accountable,” the U.S. publication had reported. In response, Mr. Bagchi said without naming the news outlet, “This is part of a sustained disinformation campaign against India. The outlet in question is known for propagating fake narratives peddled by Pakistani intelligence. The posts of the authors confirm this linkage. Those who amplify such fake news only do so at the cost of their own credibility.”

FBI chief’s visit

The news from the American news organisation has added to the atmospherics around the scheduled visit of FBI chief Christopher Wray who is expected to take up the case featuring Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. The U.S. Justice department announced in November that it had arrested a man who allegedly was working to assassinate Mr. Pannun, a spokesperson for Khalistan movement based in New York and Canada. The case came in the backdrop of India-Canada tension over the death of Nijjar and added to India’s growing discomfort in dealing with the pro-Khalistan forces. 

India has set up a high-level committee to investigate the allegations raised by the U.S. Justice department that will go into “all relevant matters”, the MEA had earlier declared. 

Watch | Where do India-U.S. relations stand? | Worldview with Suhasini Haidar

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