November 22, 2023 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Chandigarh: A report in Financial Times (FT) today noted that “Authorities in the United States have thwarted a plot to kill a Sikh separatist in the country and issued a warning to India over concerns the government in New Delhi was involved”.
Who Was Target of Threat:
Citing unnamed sources, the FT identified Gurpatwant Singh Pannun as the target of the allegedly foiled plot. “The target of the plot was Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, an American and Canadian citizen who is general counsel for Sikhs for Justice, a US-based group that is part of a movement pushing for an independent Sikh state called Khalistan”, reads report published by the FT.
Let US Govt’s Respond: says Pannun
The report said Pannun had declined to say whether US authorities had warned him about the plot, but quoted him as saying he would “let the US government respond to the issue of threats to my life on American soil from the Indian operatives”.
Details That Were Not Shared:
The report further notes that “[t]he people familiar with the case, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the intelligence that prompted the warning, did not say whether the protest to New Delhi led the plotters to abandon their plan, or whether the FBI intervened and foiled a scheme already in motion. The US informed some allies about the plot following the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian Sikh separatist killed in Vancouver in June”.
Sealed Indictment Filed in New York District Court:
“One person familiar with the situation said the US protest was issued after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a high-profile state visit to Washington in June. Separate from the diplomatic warning, US federal prosecutors have filed a sealed indictment against at least one alleged perpetrator of the plot in a New York district court, according to people familiar with the case”, FT report notes further.
One Person Charged in Indictment is Believed to Have Left US:
According to FT: The US justice department is debating whether to unseal the indictment and make the allegations public or wait until Canada finishes its investigation into Nijjar’s murder. Further complicating the case, one person charged in the indictment is believed to have left the US, according to people familiar with the proceedings. The US justice department and FBI declined to comment.
What Biden Administration Is Thinking:
“Several people familiar with the debate inside the Biden administration said officials were aware that any public disclosure of the US plot, and Washington’s protest to New Delhi, would renew questions about India’s reliability as a trusted partner. The Biden administration has faced criticism from human rights groups for its efforts to deepen relations with India”, reads the report.
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