New Delhi, Nov 20, 2023
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday said that it has registered a fresh case against “listed individual terrorist” Gurpatwant Singh Pannun of the banned terror organisation Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) over his latest viral video threatening the passengers flying on Air India with a global blockade and closure of the operations of the airline from November 19.
An NIA spokesperson here said that the agency has booked Pannun under several Sections of the IPC and of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The official said that Pannun, the self-proclaimed General Counsel’ of the outlawed SFJ, had issued a threatening video message on various social media platforms urging Sikhs not to fly on Air India planes on and after November 19 claiming threat to their lives if they flew on Air India.
Pannun also threatened that Air India would not be allowed to operate in the world.
Pannun’s assertions and threats have triggered a high alert as well as investigations by security forces in Canada, India and certain other countries where Air India flies.
In his video messages, released on November 4, Pannun had urged Sikhs to stop flying on Air India planes on and after November 19, citing potential threat to their lives.
Pannun also issued a warning to the Indian Government that, “The Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) would remain closed on November 19”.
The IGIA, located in New Delhi, is one of the world’s busiest airports. The official said that as part of his concerted plan to promote terror acts in India and revive terrorism here, Pannun has been creating a false narrative around the issues prevailing in Punjab, especially with regard to Sikh religion, by promoting enmity between the Sikhs in the country and other communities.
“The latest threat is in line with the same narrative, which Pannun has actively promoted in the past by threatening & attempting to disrupt essential transportation network systems, including the Railways, as well as Thermal Power Plants in India,” the official stated.
The Ministry of Home Affairs, on July 10 2019, banned SFJ as an ‘unlawful association’ under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for its activities.
On July 1, 2020, Pannun was listed as an ‘individual terrorist’ by the Indian Government. Pannun has been under the NIA’s lens since 2019, when the anti-terror agency registered its first case against him. In September 2023, the NIA had confiscated his share of the house and land of the listed terrorist in Amritsar (Punjab) and Chandigarh UT.
Non-Bailable Warrants of arrest were issued against Pannun by the NIA Special Court on February 3, 2021 and he was declared a ‘Proclaimed Offender (PO)’ on November 29, 2022.(Agency)