The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday filed a chargesheet against four accused, including Harpal Singh Pratap Singh Naik (42), who was arrested from Pune for his alleged links with the Khalistan movement, which seeks to create a separate Khalistan state through militancy.
Three of the accused — Harpal Singh, Mohiuddin Siddiqui and Gurjeet Singh Nijjar — have been charged under sections of the Indian Penal Code, as well as sections of the Bombay/Maharashtra Police Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The fourth accused, Sunder Lal Parashar, has been charged under the Arms Act.
A native of Ropar district in Punjab, Harpal Singh was arrested by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on December 2, 2018, from Chakan-Shikrapur Road in Pune. He was found to be in possession of a pistol and five cartridges.
The ATS later took custody of accused Mohiuddin Siddiqui from Punjab on December 24, 2018. Siddiqui was earlier arrested by Punjab Police from Sirhind, and was found to be carrying a pistol and live cartridges.
Probe had revealed that Harpal Singh, a school dropout, worked as a driver. He was active on social media and was allegedly drawn towards operatives based in London and Pakistan who were promoting ‘Referendum 2020’, an online movement to gather support for declaring Punjab as a separate Khalistan nation by 2020.
Harpal Singh had also allegedly started a Facebook group, ‘Khalistani Zindabad Khalistan’. The probe revealed that he, along with Siddiqui and other “terror minded” persons, were connected to each other through the FB page.
The case was subsequently taken over by NIA for investigation in January this year. A press release issued by the NIA stated that the investigation by the agency has “established that Harpal Singh alias Raju alias Happy, Mohiuddin Siddiqui alias Mohin Khan alias Moin Khan and wanted accused Gurjeet Singh Nijjar, entered into a criminal conspiracy to commit a terrorist act for
the formation of a separate ‘Khalistan state’ and thereby threatened the security, integrity and sovereignty of India and have been making attempts to revive Sikh militancy.”
“They used to post videos and images containing praise of militant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Jagtar Singh Hawara (a convicted accused in the assassination of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh), images and videos of Operation Blue Star and pro-Khalistani posts related to Babbar Khalsa International, with the sole intention to motivate vulnerable Sikh youths and others to join the Khalistan movement in India with the ultimate objective of a separate ‘Khalistan state.’ In pursuance of said conspiracy, they also arranged illegal weapon and ammunition,” stated a press release by the NIA.
It further mentioned that during investigation, NIA also arrested Sunder Lal Parashar, a resident of Rajouri Garden, New Delhi on April 24, 2019, who had allegedly supplied a country-made pistol to accused Siddiqui, who sold it to Harpal Singh, which was subsequently recovered from his possession.
According to the NIA, the investigation revealed that Gurjeet Singh Nijja, a native of Punjab who is believed to be living in Cyprus, is allegedly the main conspirator of the case.