Overseas support was crucial for Khalistan groups, says new book

As more and more foreign governments, including the United Kingdom and Canada, refuse support for Khalistani demands of a “Referrendum 2020” , a new book sheds light on operations of India’s external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) in the face of earlier covert support by these countries for the Khalistani terror networks.

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

The book, RAW: A History of India’s Covert Operations (Amazon Westland) by journalist Yatish Yadav, goes into much detail on not just how Khalistani terrorists operated off shore, but also how foreign governments turned a blind eye and, in some cases, offered covert support to such groups.

“The R&AW didn’t believe U.S. authorities’ assurances that it would investigate the role of Khalistani extremists in Washington and New York,” says the book.


According to the book, an R&AW operative — one “Dinesh Mathur” — managed to penetrate the networks in North America, and even managed to get to the terror movement’s leader Jagjit Singh Chouhan, and other top ranking members.

“In November 1988, Mathur had recruited a key Khalistani figure, Chatar Singh, who was living on Fairfax Road in Maryland,” says the book, describing in detail the large cache of arms in Singh’s basement and his eventual recruitment by the Indian spy agency.

“In a report in July 1989, based on information provided by Chatar, Mathur warned his top bosses in Delhi about the financial support extended to a few Panthic Committees from the U.S.A and Canada. The leaders from the committees were operating from Pakistan and safe havens in Nepal. He described the U.S. and Canada-based leaders of the movement as the fountainhead of Punjab’s insurgency,” says the book.

Also read: Centre outlaws pro-Khalistani group Sikhs for Justice for anti-national activities

Recruitment of U.S. lobbyists, politicians for propaganda purposed by pro-Khalistani outfits abroad was also deemed very harmful to India in efforts to build a case in international fora against Khalistani terror groups.

Lessons from the agencies’ mixed bag of success and failure in handling the Khalistani terror groups, are now being sought to be implemented as the hardsell over “Referrendum 2020” has begun. A proposal has been moved by the government extending immunity to cyber decoys recruited to counter propaganda and criminal activities in the virtual world. A decision to set up a joint counter operations centre involving the R&AW, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Punjab Police, has been taken.

Most importantly, in a meeting of top officials in 2019, hiring of retired officers and spies, who had served in Punjab during the peak of the Khalistan movement, has also been approved.

The events of the turbulent 1980s when the country was almost torn asunder due to separatist movements in Punjab and Assam is vividly described in the book. A set of years important in the history of independent India.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2020 10:35:56 PM |

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