A PRO-KHALISTANI activist in Pakistan, Gopal Singh Chawla, who is associated with Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) and who stopped Indian High Commission officials from entering gurdwaras in Nankana Sahib and Lahore on November 21 and 22, respectively, was allegedly in “regular touch” with a member of terror module busted by Punjab police in the beginning of this month.
Chawla’s role is being investigated in that case, a senior Punjab police officer said.
On Thursday, in a viral video, Chawla while stopping Indian High Commission officials from entering a gurdwara, was seen and heard telling them that there were Khalistani supporters inside. The officials were denied access to Sikh pilgrims visiting Pakistan in connection with the birthday celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev.
On November 1, Punjab police had arrested one Shabnamdeep Singh from Patiala allegedly with a pistol, a hand grenade, CT-100 Bajaj Platinum black motorcycle and letter pads belonging to ‘Khalistan Gadar Force’
and other banned terrorist organisations.
Police claim that Shabnamdeep’s arrest had “blown up Pakistan ISI’s nexus with Gurpatwant Singh Pannun’s campaign for Referendum 2020 and the conspiracy hatched by ISI-backed SFJ to spread mayhem in Punjab and other parts of India”.
Police believe that Chawla was in regular contact with Shabnamdeep over phone and “even arranged for a live darshan of gurdwara Nankana Sahib for Shabnamdeep through a video call”.
Shabnamdeep, police say, was contacted by a suspected Pakistani Intelligence Officer, identifed as Javed Khan Wazir, who introduced him (Shabnamdeep) to Chawla.
As per police, Shabnamdeep was further introduced to three other persons, who told him that they were “SFJ operatives” and after being incited by them Shabnamdeep carried out “acts of arson involving setting on fire several liquor vends, shacks, along with a house with his associate last month”. Police say Shabnamdeep then sent videos of the incidents to the trio. Police say that “around
October 24, the pistol and hand grenade were delivered to Shabnamdeep and he was advised to use this grenade on some police station/police post and crowded place during the [Diwali] festival season”.
Chawla who police say was in regular touch with Shabnamdeep has been under the radar of intelligence agencies earlier also after his photo with Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafeez Saeed surfaced.
When contacted Thursday, Chawla said, “Many Khalistani supporters often call me. I think there was one man by the name of Shabnamdeep who may have talked to me. But, that does not mean that I have supplied grenades for any terror activity. We are for Khalistan, but through peaceful means and not by violence.”
Asked about stopping Indian High Commission from entering gurdwaras, Chawla said, “I did so because there were a number of Khalistani supporters inside and anything could have happened had they learnt that Indian High Commission officials were there. Had anything untoward happened, it could have projected Pakistan and Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee in a bad light. So, I simply told them that they are welcome to visit the shrines at any other time, but not during these days. The doors of Sikh shrines are open to all. I just stopped them to prevent any untoward incident.”