‘US thwarted plot to kill Sikh separatist on American soil’


External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar had requested Canada to give evidence to support the claims…reports Asian Lite News

UK-based Financial Times has published a report claiming that the US thwarted a plan to allegedly assassinate India-designated terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on American soil.

Recently Pannun, the founder of the banned Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), had released a video asking Sikhs not to fly in Air India aircraft after November 19, as their lives can be under threat. He had claimed that Air India would not be allowed to operate on November 19.

This is not the only time that SFJ Chief Pannun has issued such a threat. In September, he asked Hindu-Canadians to leave Canada amid a diplomatic row between India and Canada over the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Pannun was also seen in Surrey, Canada, during a pro-Khalistan rally held to mark a so-called referendum.

According to the Financial Times which quoted people familiar with the matter, the US had informed India of concerns regarding the alleged plot to kill Pannun.

However, the news report fails to elaborate whether the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the US was involved in the thwarting of the plan nor does it mention the specific nature of the communication between the US and India.

Further, no such discussion between India and US has been made public by any US Authority. The subject also never came up for discussion in the recently held meetings between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and EAM S Jaishankar in Delhi. The bilateral meeting between the two leaders was held on the sidelines of the Indo-US 2+2 ministerial dialogue.

The news report citing people familiar with the matter goes on to claim, that US federal prosecutors have filed a sealed indictment against at least one alleged perpetrator of the plot in a New York district court.

However, the US Justice Department and the FBI have also not issued any formal statement on such claims.

The Financial Times reported, that the US had shared details regarding Pannun’s case with a wider group of allies after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made allegations regarding India’s involvement in Nijjar killing.

India has rejected Canada’s claims about New Delhi’s possible involvement in Nijjar’s killing, calling it “absurd and motivated.” Notably, Canada has not been able to present any evidence to back its claims over the killing, according to the MEA.

Earlier this month, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar had requested Canada to give evidence to support the claims.

During a conversation with journalist Lionel Barber, Jaishankar emphasised the importance of credible evidence. When asked if there was any evidence of the Indian government’s involvement in the killing, the EAM categorically stated, “None.”

Speaking about Trudeau’s allegations, Jaishankar revealed that he has discussed the matter with his Canadian counterpart, Melanie Joly, urging the Canadian government to share any evidence they may have. He highlighted India’s willingness to consider an investigation but emphasised that no evidence has been provided thus far.

“Now, in the case of Mr Trudeau, I have discussed it also with my own counterpart. And we have told them, look, if you have a reason to make such an allegation, please share the evidence with us. We are not ruling out an investigation and looking at anything which they may have to offer. They haven’t done so,” Jaishankar said.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on November 20, registered a case against ‘listed individual terrorist’ Gurpatwant Singh Pannun over his latest viral video threatening the passengers flying in Air India. The NIA booked Pannun under various sections of Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. (ANI)

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