Why Interpol Refused India's Request For Notice Against Khalistani Leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun is the founder of the pro-Khalistani outfit Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), which is a banned organisation in India.

Khalistan put up on the main gates and walls of Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha complex in Dharamshala

Amid rising tensions regarding the Khalistiani issue in India and Canada, The International Criminal Police Organisation or Interpol has sent back India's request seeking a Red Notice against founder of pro-khalistan group Sikhs for Justice, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, with a set of queries.

The Central Bureau of Investigation, which is the national central bureau of India to liaison with the Interpol, had sent the request of National Investigation Agency seeking Red Notice against Pannun but it was returned with further queries, as per officials on Wednesday, PTI reported.

Sources in the government have stressed that the Interpol did not flag any "misuse" of the unpopular UAPA as was being reported by some media reports. 
The global anti-crime organisation does not make such comments, sources said.

What is SFJ?

Fringe organisation SFJ, run by a few radical Sikhs of foreign nationality in the US, Canada, the UK, etc, was declared unlawful under the provisions of Section 3(1) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. The group has recently been in news for increasing activities and gaining publicity in Canada which has a sizable Sikh and Punjabi population. 

On September 19 this year, over a lakh Canadian Sikhs took part in voting for the Khalistan Referendum in Brampton, Ontario organised by SFJ. Visuals that have since gone viral on social media depicted men and women queueing up in large numbers to vote for the Referendum. 

Recently, The BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Toronto was vandalised by ‘Canadian Khalistani extremists’, one among series of attacks or vandalism incidents involving pro-Khalistani elements in the past few months.

Why India is seeking a red notice against Pannun

Multiple agencies have filed cases against Pannun who has been declared as an "individual terrorist" under the fourth schedule of UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Amendment Act). 

Earlier in May, Pannun had been accused of being the perpetrator behind the pro-Khalistani banners and graffiti that appeared. onthe Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly building in Dharamshala. 

The Centre by its July 10, 2019 notification had declared SFJ unlawful association and had banned it for five years, saying the group's primary objective was to establish an "independent and sovereign country" in Punjab and it openly espouses the cause of Khalistan and in that process, challenges the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India.

This was later upheld by a Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act tribunal headed by Delhi High Court Chief Justice D N Patel.

India had on September 23 issued an advisory for Indian nationals and students in Canada to remain vigilant amid increasing incidents of crimes and anti-India activities in the country. 

(With inputs from PTI)