London (Press Release): Sikh Council UK representatives attended a meeting with the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit today following the raids conducted on the homes of Sikh activists earlier this week.
Concerns raised by Sikh Council UK representatives included operational concerns, allegations of Punjab Police involvement, disclosure of names in the Indian press, the language used in West Midlands Police reports including the reference to extremism and the alleged taking down of websites. West Midlands CTU clarified with the following: –
This operation is based on intelligence gathered in the UK over a period of time and not Indian intelligence
It was conducted under West Midlands CTU executive powers and there was no Indian or UK Government involvement
The warrants for the operation were presented to and issued by UK courts following scrutiny
The investigation relates to suspected terrorism offences in the UK some relating to activity in India and fraud offences
That in UK law terrorism offences committed abroad are prosecutable as offences committed in the UK
Extremism is the advocacy of or support for political or religious violence
They are not aware of any websites being taken down
No one has been arrested and the investigation is ongoing
They did not release the names of any individuals concerned into the public domain
They are agreeable to put out a statement clarifying the above
They are agreeable to reconvene with Sikh Council UK representatives following future developments
Following the meeting Sikh Council UK has received the following statement from West Midlands CTU which is also being shared with media outlets:
Detectives searched a number of properties on Tuesday (18 September) as part of a West
Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit (WMCTU) investigation based on intelligence gathered over a period of time.
The warrants were scrutinised and issued by the courts.
The residential addresses in Coventry, Leicester and Birmingham were searched by WMCTU with the support of East Midlands Special Operations Unit − Special Branch (EMSOU-SB).
The searches were in connection with allegations of terrorist offences in the UK relating to activity in India, and also fraud offences. The investigation is led by WMCTU and is not directed by the UK or Indian Government.
No-one has been arrested and the investigation continues.
Sikh Council UK Secretary General Jagtar Singh said “We have relayed concerns to West Midlands CTU in connection with this case and are reporting back the responses received. There are naturally concerns and fears within the community in the circumstances and we continue to monitor developments.”