Govt Outlaws Pro-Khalistani Group ‘Sikhs for Justice’ Under UAPA

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday, 10 July, declared ‘Sikhs for Justice’ (SFJ) an unlawful association for its alleged anti-national activities.

Home Ministry sources cited by ANI said “the Cabinet declared SFJ, a fringe group run by a few radical Sikhs of foreign nationality in US, Canada, UK etc, as an unlawful association under provision 3(1) of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) 1967.”

The founder of the secessionist group, Avtar Singh Pannu, was seen shouting slogans, wearing a t-shirt that said, "Khalistan Zindabad, Referendum 2020" at the India-New Zealand cricket match in the UK on Wednesday.

“Twelve cases have been filed, 39 people of SFJ have been arrested. Many social media handles of SFJ have been blocked,” the sources said.

The decision to ban the group was taken by the Centre in consultation with the state governments, including the one in Punjab, they added.

"“Sikhs for Justice wanted to use Kartarpur Corridor for propagating their secessionist ideology. There’s no concrete evidence that Pakistan has curbed or banned the group. India is likely to raise the issue regarding security and safety of pilgrims during the Kartarpur talks on 14 July.”" - MHA sources, as quoted by ANI

A senior Ministry official also said that the SFJ's online supporters are over 2 lakh but physically, it is only a group of eight to 10 people.

Punjab CM Welcomes Govt’s Order

Hailing government’s decision, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said that the group deserved to be treated as a "terrorist organisation".

Singh termed the move as the first step towards protecting the nation from "anti-India or secessionist designs" of the ISI-backed organisation.

"Though the outfit deserved to be treated as a terrorist organisation, the government of India has at least taken a long-overdue stand against the SFJ, which had unleashed a wave of terror in Punjab in recent years," Singh said in another statement, PTI.

US-based SFJ pushes for Sikh Referendum 2020 as part of its separatist agenda. The group's primary objective is to establish an "independent and sovereign country" in Punjab.

It openly espouses the cause of Khalistan, and in that process challenges the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India, an official was cited by PTI as saying.

(With inputs from The Hindu)

Also Read: Referendum 2020, the Campaign to ‘Liberate’ Punjab

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