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NIA examines Khalsa Aid functionary in case against Sikhs for Justice

Volunteers of Khalsa Aid giving out essentials to farmers. File   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had last week examined a functionary of Khalsa Aid, an international NGO, in connection with a recent case registered against Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), a foreign based group that advocates secessionist and pro-Khalistani activities in India. Two others will be examined this week, Ravinder Singh, KA’s founder, said. He said this was the first time since 1999, the year they started work in India, after they provided aid during the ongoing farmers’ agitation that the group members had been called for questioning by any Indian agency.

Also read: NIA summons farmer leader, TV journalist in fresh case against Sikhs for Justice

The functionary was asked to appear before the agency on January 15 as a ‘witness’ in the case registered under various Sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The NIA has summoned around 40 persons to be examined as ‘witness’ in the SFJ case. Few persons were examined on Sunday, a senior NIA official said.

Khalsa Aid has presence in the U.K, U.S.A., and Canada. The NGO provided foot massage machines and geysers to farmers sitting on protest against the three agriculture laws at Delhi’s borders since November 26.

Also read: NIA files chargesheet against 10 persons supporting banned group Sikhs For Justice

Speaking to The Hindu on phone from U.K, Mr. Singh said their activities were not against the Government of India and they had no links with the banned outfit SFJ.

Indian donors

“Not only Khalsa Aid but other human rights organisations in Punjab have received NIA summons. We are not aligned to any political party. About 80% of donations to the India team has come from generous Indian donors. In our existence in India since 1999, we have never been accused of any illegality,” Mr. Singh said.

He added that the KA is registered as a charitable trust in Delhi with offices in Patiala and Jalandhar and has not received any foreign donations.

“Every item we distributed at Delhi’s border has been donated by Indians. The only items we purchased was massage machines and geysers. Every day people are donating truckloads of essentials, we have an account of every transaction and can provide to the NIA,” he said when asked about the funding pattern of the NGO.

‘Deeply disappointed’

He said the NIA’s notice was “unheard of” and they were “deeply disappointed” as the NGO had always respected Indian guidelines.

The NIA registered a fresh case against SFJ on December 15, 2020 where it alleged that large amounts of funds being collected by Khalistani terrorist outfits are being sent through non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to pro-Khalistani elements based in India. The FIR said designated terrorists such as Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, Paramjeet Singh Pamma, Hardeep Singh Nijjar and others spearheaded campaigns to collect huge funds for on-ground campaign and propaganda against the Government of India that includes staging demonstrations against Indian missions in U.S.A., U.K., Canada and Germany.

The SFJ was first banned in 2019 by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and on the government’s request Twitter had taken down the account of Pannun. In the past five years, 14 cases have been registered against the SFJ where more than 40 people have been arrested.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 4:35:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/nia-examines-khalsa-aid-functionary-in-case-against-sikhs-for-justice/article33594744.ece

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