With Britain having lifted its ban on the pro-Khalistan International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF), its founder, Jasbir Singh Rode, the nephew of slain Sikh militant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, is hopeful that Canada and the US will now follow suit.
Talking to The Indian Express, Rode claimed his organisation never endorsed violence of any sort. “I had constituted ISYF on September 23, 1984, in the presence of 10,000 Sikhs. It is clearly mentioned in our constitution that we will work in a democratic manner for the establishment of Khalistan. We have never said that ISYF would adopt an armed struggle. Our body was banned due to baseless allegations against us. Not a single member of ISYF has been convicted under any criminal activity till date,” he said.
“I myself was jailed for eight years in India but the government could never prove any allegations. They tried to connect me to the murder of Indira Gandhi,” he said.
“The Indian government could not prove the allegations against me but my passport was still impounded. I have been trying to get it back the legal way,” said Rode, who was arrested from Manila on December 24, 1984.
“We are hopeful that USA and Canada will also remove the ban on ISYF as Britain has done,” Rode said.
The international ban had forced the ISYF to splinter into two groups — the International Panthic Dal and the Sikh Youth Federation, UK. The latter has played a proactive role in getting Britain to revoke the ban. Rode said he was hopeful of a merger of both groups.
Hardline Sikh groups in India have welcomed the lifting of ban but the Akal Takht and the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC) have not blinked at the development.
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