US Thwarts Plot To Sikh Separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, Issues Warning To India: Report

The development comes two months after Canadian PM Justin Trudeau said there were ‘credible’ allegations linking Indian agents to the June murder of a Khalistan terrorist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Khalistani leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun

US authorities have thwarted a plot to kill a Sikh separatist in the country, while it has issued a warning to India over concerns that the Indian government was involved in the act, the Financial Times (FT) report said. 

India has not so far responded on the allegation.

The development comes two months after Canadian PM Justin Trudeau said there were “credible” allegations linking Indian agents to the June murder of a Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in a Vancouver suburb. 

India has already rejected Canada’s allegations.

As per the FT report, the target of the plot was Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, an American and Canadian citizen who is the leader of Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), a US-based group that is part of a movement pushing for s separate homeland for Sikhs called “Khalistan”.

The report said according to people aware of the matter, they did not reveal whether the protest to New Delhi led the plotters to abandon their plan, or whether the FBI intervened and foiled a scheme already in motion.

A person aware of the developments said the US protest was issued after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Washington in June, report said.

Apart from the diplomatic warning, a sealed indictment was filed by US federal prosecutors against at least one alleged perpetrator of the plot in a New York district court, people familiar with the case mentioned, it mentioned.

The US justice department is contemplating on whether to unseal the indictment and make the allegations public or wait for Canada to finish its investigation into Nijjar’s killing, it mentioned.

People familiar with the proceedings added that one person charged in the indictment is believed to have left the US further complicating the case, it added.

There was no response from the US justice department and FBI, the report stated.

The National Security Council however said that the US does “not comment on ongoing law enforcement matters or private diplomatic discussions with our partners” but added, “Upholding the safety and security of US citizens is paramount”, it said.

The details of the Pannun case was shared by Washington with a wider group of allies after Trudeau publicly gave details of the Vancouver killing, it said.
Ministry of External Affairs refused to comment on the development, the report by FT stated.

Pannun declined to say whether US authorities had warned him about the plot, saying he would “let the US government respond to the issue of threats to my life on American soil from the Indian operatives”, he was quoted to as saying by FT.

“The threat to an American citizen on American soil is a challenge to America’s sovereignty, and I trust that the Biden administration is more than capable to handle any such challenge,” Pannun had told FT.

Pannun had issued a video released on 4 November, in which he warned Sikhs to stop flying on Air India planes on and after the said date, citing potential threat to their lives.