India has finally banned the pro-Khalistan outfit ‘Sikhs for Justice’ (SFJ) for its separatist agenda. The SFJ is an ISI backed organisation that has been pushing for the Sikh referendum in 2020. They have been now banned under the UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act).
A Gazette Notification issued by the Home Ministry said that the Central Government is of the opinion that the SFJ is indulging in the activities which are prejudicial to the integrity and security of the country. The notification says that SFJ is involved in anti-national and subversive activities in Punjab and elsewhere, intended to disrupt the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India; it is in close touch with the militant outfits and activists, and it is supporting violent form of extremism and militancy in Punjab and elsewhere to carve out a sovereign Khalistan out of India; and SFJ is encouraging and aiding the activities for secession and supporting separatist groups fighting for this purpose.
The government is also of the opinion that if the unlawful activities of the SFJ are not curbed and controlled immediately, it will escalate its subversive activities including attempts to carve out Khalistan out of India, continue advocating the secession of Khalistan, propagate anti-national and separatist sentiments, and it will escalate secessionist movements, support militancy and incite violence in the country.
In view of these observations, the government decided to ban Sikhs For Justice under sub-section (1) of section 2 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act,
Chief Minister of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh has hailed this decision and described it as the first step towards protecting the nation from the anti-India/secessionist designs of ISI-backed organisation.
Punjab CMO: CM Captain Amarinder Singh has hailed the Govt of India’s decision to ban Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) as an unlawful association, describing it as the first step towards protecting the nation from the anti-India/secessionist designs of ISI-backed organisation. (File pic) pic.twitter.com/aMydtRhqav
– ANI (@ANI) July 10, 2019
‘Sikhs for Justice’ is a UK based that group that is allegedly supported by ISI, Pakistan’s intelligence agency. The group had organized an event calling for a referendum for the separation Punjab from India at London’s Trafalgar Square last year in August. They had held what is known as the ‘London Declaration’ for the referendum in 2020. The group also had to face a large gathering of Indians who arranged a counter-protest, displaying support for India’s sovereignty.
Just today a group of Sikh protestors sporting “Punjab Referendum 2020” were evicted from the stadium for chanting pro-Khalistani slogans during the World Cup semi-final between India and New Zealand.
The government had previously taken several steps to clamp down the Khalistani separatists. In September 2018 Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, SFJ’s legal advisor, was banned from WhatsApp. The government had also successfully taken steps to limit his Facebook and Twitter reach.
Pannun is notorious for his numerous lawsuits against Sikh political leaders. Following the WhatsApp ban, he had also uploaded a video threatening the Punjab CM Amarinder Singh and insulted the Indian national flag. In 2017, the Punjab Government had filed a sedition case against him for putting up posters of the ‘referendum 2020’ supporting the Khalistan demand.
Pakistan’s close nexus with the Khalistani extremists was evident in December last year. Members of a Canada based Khalistani organisation had honoured Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and their Army Chief, General Bajwa for opening the Kartarpur Corridor.