Punjab Police have arrested three men, including a serving Territorial Army jawan, in an attempt to murder case, where two liquor vends were set on fire on May 31 in Harpura Dhandoi and Panjgrian villages in Sri Hargobindpur block of Batala Police district.
Police said investigations revealed that two of the three arrested, Dharminder Singh (21), who joined Territorial Army as a jawan in January 2016 and Kirpal Singh (26) were “indoctrinated, radicalised and funded by their foreign-based handlers, including Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, Legal Advisor to Sikhs for Justice (SFJ).”
Police said interrogation of Dharminder led to the arrest of Ravinder Singh who supplied weapons to him “for carrying out hate crimes”.
“One 32 caliber revolver was recovered from Dharminder Singh, while a .30 caliber pistol was recovered from Kirpal Singh. During the search, posters regarding Sikh Referendum 2020, stencils of Khalistan Zindabad and Referendum 2020, and spray paint bottles were also recovered. One Bajaj Platina motorcycle used by duo in the crime has also been recovered,” said a police spokesperson.
The arrests come close on the heels of a US-based Khalistani group issuing a video threat to Punjab Jails Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa for his opposition to Referendum 2020 on creation of a separate homeland for Sikhs. The threat had been tweeted by Pannun, apparently in response to Randhawa’s open criticism of the referendum launched by SFJ in Canada and the United States, said the police spokesperson. The jail minister had said that the people who were “pitching for Khalistan from their cosy confines were playing with the sentiments of innocent Sikhs in India and they had no knowledge of the reality in Punjab.”
“The Punjab Police, which has taken a serious view of Pannun’s video threat, has initiated a probe into the matter, as well as detailed investigations to ascertain the SFJ Legal Advisor’s links with Dharminder Singh alias Commando Singh and Kirpal Singh, who were arrested from the former’s house in Harpura Dhandoi village in Batala,” said the police spokesperson.
The spokesperson said the duo had “confessed to being motivated and financed by Pannun, along with Paramjit Singh Pamma (UK), Mann Singh (UK), Deep Kaur (Malaysia), to carry out various types of violent acts, with the aim of giving media publicity to the ongoing ISI funded and sponsored secessionist campaign for the ‘liberation of Punjab’ from the Indian government.”
“The arrests have nailed Pannun’s lie that SFJ’s “Sikh Referendum 2020” campaign for self-determination did not have any room for violence, and that SFJ or its leaders were not funding any terrorist activity in Punjab. It has also proved that SFJ continues to exploit and use poor and gullible youth of Punjab as cannon fodder to promote its secessionist campaign in Punjab through commission of violent acts,” the spokesperson said.