Outlawed Sikh group’s leader indicted in Himachal Pradesh for ‘Khalistan’ flags

9 May, 2022 | Riya Girdhar

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun has been accused with violating the Unlawful Activities Act, which is a tough anti-terror law.

In connection with the appearance of ‘Khalistan’ banners and graffiti on the walls of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly in Dharamshala yesterday, the leader of the banned organisation Sikhs for Justice has been named as the main accused.

The strict anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act has been used to accuse Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. In 2019, the Centre banned his organisation, Sikhs for Justice, for anti-India actions.

After Sikhs for Justice called for a ‘Khalistan’ referendum on June 6, Himachal Police have increased security in the state. Security has been increased at major government facilities and interstate crossings have been blocked.

“In light of recent incidents of Khalistani elements in neighbouring States, as well as an incident of tying a Khalistani banner in Una district on 11.04.2022 and a recent incident of hoisting Khalistan banners and graffiti on the outer boundary of Vidhan Sabha in Dharamshala, as well as the threat posed by Sikhs for Justice (SJF) regarding the announcement of 6th June, 2022 as voting date for Khalistan Referendum in Him

Senior police officers have been ordered to keep a watchful eye on probable hideouts of members of the outlawed organisation, including hotels, according to the directive.

They’ve also been told to have bomb disposal teams and special forces on standby in case of an emergency.

Security staff protecting all critical buildings have been instructed to be alerted so that they can alert police if they see anything suspect.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur had ordered an investigation when the Khalistan banners and graffiti appeared.

According to reports, an intelligence notice released on April 26 warned of such an incident. According to the notice, Gurupatwant Singh Pannu, the chairman of Sikhs for Justice, had written to the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, stating that a flag of Sikh extremist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale with the word ‘Khalistan’ would be flown in Shimla.

It is understood that Himachal Pradesh’s decision to prohibit vehicles bearing Bhindranwale and Khalistani flags enraged the banned organisation.

“I strongly condemn the cowardly act of hoisting Khalistan flags at the Assembly Complex entrance in the dead of night. Because only the winter session is held here, greater security precautions are required just during that time “This morning, Chief Minister Thakur tweeted in Hindi.