In a blow to the case of the Centre for Khalistan militant Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, Interpol has denied India’s second attempt for the issue of a red corner notice regarding terror-related charges against the Canadian-based director and legal advisor of the Khalistan’s pro-Khalistan outfit Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) in a statement that Indian authorities did not provide sufficient evidence to support the case of SFJ, The Indian Express has learned.
Sources confirmed that Interpol also pointed out that UAPA, for which it was red-corner requested for, has been criticized as being “misused” to target minority groups and rights activists without “respecting” their right to an equal trial.
The sources stated that Interpol acknowledged Pannun’s status as a “high-profile Sikh separatist” and that SFJ is an organization that advocates establishing an independent Khalistan. However, they added that it was able to conclude that the Pannun’s activities are an “clear political dimension”, which is not the reason for an official Red Corner Notice, according in Interpol’s constitution.
The Deccan Era has discovered that the Interpol Control Commission’s Records communicated its panel’s decision in August to India during August after deciding on a petition filed by Pannun based on the request of India and after analyzing the response of Indian authorities.
At a meeting that took place in June-end, according to sources that the Commission came to the conclusion the following “insufficient information” has been supplied from the Indian National Central Bureau (NCB) to demonstrate that the “terrorist nature of the crime” and Pannun’s “possible active and meaningful involvement in terrorist activities”.
The NCB operates under the supervision of CBI which processes and manages Red Corner Notice requests for Indian law enforcement agencies. In the case of Pannun the request for Red Corner Notices was issued the 21st of May, 2021 through NCB NCB for the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The SJF was sanctioned by India.
The Indian Express asked the NIA regarding the Interpol move, but Interpol’s spokesperson was not available for comment.
In its application for the Interpol Commission on Pannun’s application sources claimed that India referenced an arrest warrant that was issued to Pannun by the court of the Special NIA Court in Mohali on 3 February 2021. In its report, the court said that the NIA’s probe “established” that Pannun “recruited”, “radicalised” and “tasked” other accused through an accomplice named Nihal Singh, alias Fateh Singh on social media platforms to commit “terror acts”, sources claimed.
According to reports, India told the Commission that the acts were “killing of prominent Indian leaders, burning of business installations, procuring weapons for carrying out terror acts” and “recruitment” in their “terror gang”. These crimes, India is learnt to submit as having been “funded from abroad” by Pannun “through his proxies” by different methods for money transfers.
The goal of Pannun, India stated, was to “revive terrorism in Punjab” and “kill innocent people” to push an “secessionist” agenda.
In his submission to the Commission Pannun resisted the allegations and said that India’s request was an attempt toward “silence activists”, sources stated. Pannun also denied that SFJ were a terrorist group and said that his legal action was to promote “self-determination” for Sikhs, and submitting complaints to both the US in the US and Canada in behalf of “victims regarding human rights abuses” Sources said.
In this case the court ruled that Pannun claimed that he brought separate civil lawsuits at New York in September 2013 against Congress president Sonia Gandhi and then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He claimed they caused “damages” were caused by the “commission of crimes against humanity and other abuses in Punjab”.
This decision by the Commission, according to sources it is an important issue: Article 3 of the Interpol Constitution that prohibits the organization from carrying out “any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character”. Interpol had in January 2019 rejected a request for a Red Corner Notice from Indian authorities Interpol was in January 2019 denied an earlier application for a red corner notice against Pannun by Indian Authorities in November of 2018.
The second time around, the report pointed out some flaws within this Indian request, mostly the lack of information about three aspects of alleged links with Pannun as well as Fateh Singh or any other suspects in the NIA case; Pannun’s banking details or allegations of wire transfers to international wires; his involvement in alleged terrorist actions.
The Commission also noted that Pannun is as a “terrorist” under the UAPA without conviction. Pannun is identified as a terrorist by MHA as one of the 38 terrorists. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) as one of the 38 “terrorists” under the UAPA.
Concerning UAPA On UAPA, the Commission has cited open letters from UN experts who said the following “UAPA’s vague definition of ‘unlawful activities’ and ‘membership of terrorist organisations’ confers discretionary powers upon state agencies, which weakens judicial oversight and diminishes civil liberties in the process”.
According to the sources, the NIA has submitted three or more charge reports against Pannun, and SFJ in connection with accusations relating to damage to the Tricolour and raising the “Khalistan flag” on the premises of the office of the Deputy Commissioner in the Punjab city of Moga in the month of August in 2020.
In July The MHA announced that the SFJ in the category of an “unlawful association” for “indulging in activities, which are prejudicial to internal security of India and public order, and have the potential of disrupting peace, the unity and integrity of the country”.
As per the Interpol website Red Corner Notices were sent to 279 people in response to request from Indian police agencies which includes 200 Indian citizens. These include the gangster Dawood Ibrahim and some Sikh separatists.
In addition to cases that have been filed in Himachal Pradesh Haryana in Haryana and Delhi, Pannun is facing at the very least the number of cases that are pending in Punjab alone, a few of which were handled as cases by NIA.
In April, Gurgaon Police in Haryana issued An FIR on Pannun over charges of sedition. He was accused of releasing a video that asked for people to wave the “Khalistan flag” at the offices of the Deputy Commissioners and the Superintendents of Police in the state.
In May, a brand new instance under UAPA was filed with Pannun of Himachal Pradesh for allegedly masterminding the tie-up of a pro-Khalistan banner along the boundaries of Vidhan Sabha of Dharamshala and other similar incidents across the state, in addition to declaring 6 June 2022 in the state of Himachal Pradesh, as “Khalistan Referendum Day”.
In the meantime, Himachal DGP Sanjay Kundau claimed he was seeking an order of Red Corner against Pannun.