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NIA raids suspects in Punjab linked to banned terror group Sikhs for Justice

New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday conducted raids at the premises of suspects in Punjab having links to outlawed 'unlawful Association' Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), sources said.

The raids are underway in close coordination with the Punjab Police.

The NIA sleuths conducted the raids based on specific inputs about some suspects having links to the SFJ, and started raids since early Wednesday morning.

The move comes two days after the NIA announced to register a case against 'listed individual terrorist' Gurpatwant Singh Pannun of the SFJ over his latest viral video threatening the passengers flying in Air India and the airlines with a global blockade and closure of its operations from November 19. The anti-terror agency made the announcement on Monday

The NIA has booked Pannun under various sections Indian Penal Code and sections Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

NIA said in a statement that "Pannun is the the self-proclaimed General Counsel' of the outlawed 'unlawful

Association' SFJ, and is in the eye of the storm yet again following the release and circulation of video messages on various social media platforms urging the 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 the said date, citing potential threat to their lives.

He also issued a warning to the Government of India that "The Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) would remain closed on the 19th of November." IGIA, located in New Delhi, is one of the world's busiest airports.

As part of his concerted plan to promote terror acts in India to revive terrorism in India, Pannun has been creating a false narrative around the issues prevailing in the state of 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 Ministry of Home Affairs had, 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 Central government.

Pannun has been under the NIA 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 Union Territory. 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. (ANI)

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