New Delhi: India on Wednesday declared foreign-based, pro-Khalistan group Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) an unlawful association for supporting militancy and secessionism in Punjab. The decision, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, was taken in a Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The fringe group is run by a few radical Sikhs of foreign nationality in the US, Canada and the UK, a Home Ministry statement said, adding that all the major representative bodies of the Sikh community, during consultations by the Centre, have categorically supported the government action.
The Ministry said that SFJ is a New York-based fringe group run by a few radical foreign Sikhs and doesn’t have any support or traction in the Sikh community. “It openly espouses the cause of Khalistan and has started an online secessionist campaign, the so-called ‘Sikh Referendum 2020’ on the social media advocating secession of Punjab and formation of Khalistan,” it said. The ban of the SFJ is said to be the part of Centre’s “Zero Tolerance” policy against secessionist and extremist elements.
The Ministry said that the group is supporting militancy in Punjab and indulging in activities aimed at vitiating communal harmony in the border state. The step came after the Punjab Police and National Investigation Agency (NIA) busted several modules of the SFJ indulged in various subversive activities in Punjab.
“Close and effective coordination between intelligence and security agencies at the Centre and the state level is being maintained. Concerted efforts are also being made to proscribe the unlawful activities of the global arms of the organization and its activists under the relevant local laws of those nations,” said the Ministry. Extremist ideology, whether based on religious, ethnic or political grounds, pose security challenges, and the government is bound to deal with them firmly, it added. (IANS)
Also Read: Amnesty seeks justice for 1984 riot victims