Crackdown on Khalistanis: NIA seizes properties of SFJ Terrorist Pannu

NEW DELHI: In its latest crackdown on Canada-based “designated individual terrorist” Gurpatwant Singh Pannu, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday confiscated the house and land of the self-styled general counsel of the banned terror outfit, Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), in Amritsar and Chandigarh.

The NIA’s action is part of a crackdown on terror and secessionist networks being operated from various countries, including Canada. This is the first time that the properties of an absconding accused of NIA have been confiscated under Section 33(5) of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

“Property confiscation” notices were put up outside the residence of pro-Khalistan leader Pannu in Chandigarh and near a piece of agricultural land in Amritsar after a confiscation order was passed by an NIA special court in Mohali, an NIA spokesperson said.

Pannu has been on the NIA’s radar since 2019, when the agency registered its first case against him. Pannu has played a major role in promoting and commissioning terror activities and spreading fear and terror in Punjab and elsewhere in the country through threats and intimidation tactics.

Non-bailable warrants of arrest were issued against Pannu by an NIA special court in February 2021. He was declared a "proclaimed offender" on November 29, 2022.

So far, the NIA’s investigation has revealed that Pannu’s organisation, the SFJ, was misusing cyberspace to radicalise gullible youth and instigate them to undertake terror activities. It further emerged during the probe that Pannu was the main handler and controller of the SFJ.

Sikhs for Justice was declared an "unlawful association" by the government of India, vide notification No. S.O. 2469 (E) dated July 10, 2019.

Pannu was declared a ‘designated individual terrorist’ by the government in July 2020. He has been actively exhorting Punjab-based gangsters and youth via social media to fight for the cause of the independent state of Khalistan, challenging the sovereignty, integrity and security of the country, the NIA’s probe revealed.

In recent days, Pannu has been in the news for issuing threats to senior Indian diplomats and government functionaries on public forums. He had also threatened Canadian Hindus a few days earlier, asking them to leave Canada, claiming that they had adopted a "jingoistic approach" by siding with India.

Pannu's properties were earlier attached following orders passed by the government in two different cases. A total of 10 accused, including Pannu, have so far been chargesheeted in the case, the agency said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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