In another breakthrough against radical forces trying to disturb the state’s peace and harmony, the Punjab Police have arrested two persons, allegedly indoctrinated, radicalized and funded by their foreign-based handlers, including Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, Legal Advisor to Sikhs for Justice (SFJ). One person has also been arrested for allegedly supplying weapons to the duo for carrying out hate crimes on the directions of their handlers.The arrests came even as a US-based Khalistani group affiliated to SFJ issued a video threat to Punjab Jail Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa for his opposition to its referendum on creation of a separate homeland for Sikhs. The threat had been tweeted by Pannun, apparently in response to Randhawa's open criticism of the referendum launched by SFJ in Canada and the United States. The jail minister had said that the people who were "pitching for Khalistan from their cosy confines were playing with the sentiments of innocent Sikhs in India and they had no knowledge of the reality in Punjab.”The Punjab Police, which has taken a serious view of Pannun’s video threat, has initiated a probe into the matter, as well as detailed investigations to ascertain the SFJ Legal Advisor’s links with Dharminder Singh @ Commando Singh (21 years) and Kirpal Singh (26 years), who were arrested from the former’s house in village Harpura Dhandoi in Batala.
Giving details of the arrests, a police spokesperson said the duo had confessed to being motivated and financed by Pannun, along with Paramjit Singh Pamma (UK), Mann Singh (UK), Deep Kaur (Malaysia), to carry out various types of violent acts, with the aim of giving wide publicity in the media to the ongoing ISI funded and sponsored secessionist campaign for the ‘liberation of Punjab’ from the Indian government.The arrests came during investigations into setting of two liquor vends on fire in the wee hours of May 31 in Harpura Dhandoi and Panjgrian villages in Sri Hargobindpur block of Batala Police district, said the spokesperson.The accused have told the police that they were indoctrinated after being contacted on various social media platforms (such as Telegram and Whatsapp) by these foreign based handlers. They had been asked to spray-paint Referendum 2020 slogan,s and to put liquor vends and government properties on fire during the Ghallughara week, they further told the police.One 32 caliber Revolver was recovered from the personal search of Dharminder Singh, while a .30 caliber Pistol was recovered from the possession of Kirpal Singh. During the search of his house, posters regarding Sikh Referendum 2020, stencils of Khalistan Zindabad and Referendum 2020, and spray paint bottles were also recovered. One Bajaj Platina motorcycle used by duo in the crime has also been recovered.
Both Dharminder and Kirpal were arrested from Dharminder’s house for their involvement in case FIR no. 46 dated 31-05-2018, u/s 307, 438, 427, 148, 149 IPC, PS Rangar Nangal, district Batala, said the police spokesperson, adding that Dharminder’s interrogation subsequently led to the arrest of one Ravinder Singh @ Raja s/o Sadhu Singh r/o Daulatpur, PS Qadian.It was Raja who had provided the two weapons to Dharminder about 40 days ago. Dharminder had in turn handed over one weapon to Kirpal Singh. These weapons were to be used for committing hate crimes on the instructions of their foreign based handlers. Police investigations have further revealed that Dharminder Singh had been working in the Territorial Army in Jan 2016 (Unit: 105 TA Rajputana Rifles) in New Delhi, where he was imparted basic training of 9 months, including firearms training by the Territorial Army. Kirpal Singh (26 years) s/o Karnail Singh, hailed from Fatehpur Nawanpind village in PS Valtoha TarnTaran.The arrests have nailed Pannun’s lie that SFJ’s “Sikh Referendum 2020” campaign for self-determination did not have any room for violence, and that SFJ or its leaders were not funding any terrorist activity in Punjab. It has also proved that SFJ continues to exploit and use poor and gullible youth of Punjab as cannon fodder to promote its secessionist campaign in Punjab through commission of violent acts, said the spokesperson.The arrests have come just two months after Nawanshehar Police apprehended four youth when they were planning to burn a liquor vend in village Gunachaur, PS Sadar Banga (District Nawanshehar) and spray-paint posters of Referendum 2020 to catch the attention of the media. A case FIR no. 26 dated 2.4.2018, u/s 436, 511, 120-B, PS Sadar Banga was registered. During investigations, they had revealed that they were working at the behest of one Malaysia-based Deep Kaur and Pakistan-based Fateh Singh. These operatives had also been tasked by Gurpatwant Singh Pannun of SFJ to put Referendum 2020 banners during Mohali IPL match to give wide publicity to the Referendum 2020 campaign in Punjab, the spokesperson added.