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U.S. Thwarts Plot To Kill Sikh Separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun In America: Report

According to the report, the target of the plot was Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, an American and Canadian citizen who is a key leader in the Sikh separatist movement advocating for the establishment of an independent Sikh nation, Khalistan.

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PM Narendra Modi holds bilateral meeting with US President Joe Biden.
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U.S. authorities intervened in a plot to assassinate Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a prominent Sikh separatist and the leader of Sikhs for Justice, a U.S.-based advocacy group advocating for the establishment of an independent Sikh state known as "Khalistan", according to a report.  

Pannun, holding dual citizenship in the United States and Canada, has been designated an 'individual terrorist' by the Government of India since July 1, 2020.The National Investigation Agency (NIA) recently took action against Pannun, booking him for alleged threats to Air India passengers.

The thwarted plan has prompted a diplomatic warning to India, expressing concerns over potential involvement by the Indian government, as reported by the Financial Times on November 22.

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This development surfaces in the aftermath of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau publicly alleging that agents linked to the Indian government were involved in the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada. Nijjar, an advocate for Khalistan like Pannun, was fatally shot in Surrey, Canada, in June this year.

India has rejected Canada's accusations.

Sources cited by the Financial Times did not confirm whether the protest to India resulted in the plotters abandoning their scheme or if it was foiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The warning to India reportedly followed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's state visit to the United States in June, where he was welcomed by President Joe Biden. 

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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.

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.

Contacted by the Financial Times, Pannun declined to confirm whether U.S. authorities had warned him about the thwarted plot. He stated, "I will let the U.S. government respond to the issue of threats to my life on American soil from the Indian operatives." 

“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 told the Financial Times.

In the past, India has accused countries with significant Indian diaspora communities, including Canada and the UK, of being too tolerant of members of the Sikh separatist movement, frequently labelling them as terrorists. 

During a visit to Washington in September, Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar told a Hudson Institute event that Ottawa had a “very permissive” attitude towards Sikh separatists because of Canadian politics.

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