The Union Home Ministry has banned the Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), a group advocating secessionist and pro-Khalistani activities in India. The group was advocating Referendum 2020, an online campaign for Khalistan, a separate land for the Sikhs.
Its founder Avtar Singh Pannu was seen shouting slogans and wearing a T-shirt that said “Khalistan Zindabad, Referendum 2020” at the India-New Zealand cricket match in the U.K on Wednesday.
A senior Ministry official said the SFJ’s online supporters were over 2 lakh but physically it was only a group of eight to 10 people. The Punjab government gave crucial information to help ban the group, the official said.
The official said 11 cases were registered against the SFJ in the past four years and 39 people were arrested. The group also funded certain activities.
“The Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave its clearance to declare SFJ, a fringe organisation run by radical Sikhs in U.S, Canada, U.K, etc. as an unlawful association under Section 3(1) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967,” the official said.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said the Centre’s decision to declare Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) an “unlawful association” was a “welcome step”.