New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday declared "Sikhs for Justice (SFJ)" as an unlawful association under provision 3(1) of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act 1967, sources in Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said.
Sources said that Centre took the decision to call SFJ an unlawful association in consultation with state governments, including Punjab. Major Sikh bodies also raised alarm over secessionist activities of SFJ, and so, the government decided to curb the potential threat.
SFJ and its secessionist campaign 'Referendum 2020' is supported by Pakistan, sources added. MHA sources said that official website of SFJ 'www.sikhforjustice.org' and Referendum 2020 'www.2020referendum.org' were sharing and sourcing content from a Karachi-based website of a number of SFJ activists, including Guruswamy Singh Punnu.
Twelve cases have been filed against the SFJ, while 39 people associated with the organisation have been arrested by various security agencies. Many social media handles of the organisation have also been blocked.
SFJ wanted to use Kartarpur Corridor for propagating their secessionist ideology, sources said while adding that there is no concrete evidence that Pakistan has curbed or banned the group.
India is likely to raise the issue regarding security and safety of pilgrims during Kartarpur talks on 14 July.
Punjab Police and National Investigative Agency (NIA) busted several modules of SFJ, indulging in various subversive activities in Punjab. The probe revealed that activists were radicalised and funded by foreign-based SFJ handlers Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, Harmeet Singh, Paramjit Singh Pamma.
Paramjit Singh Pamma was seen during India-England World Cup match. He is also associated with Sikhs for Justice, said MHA sources.
Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh welcomed the Union government's decision to ban SFJ and the dubbing of it as an unlawful organisation.
In a statement, the Punjab Chief Minister's Office said, "Amarinder Singh has hailed the Government of India's decision to ban Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) as an unlawful association, describing it as the first step towards protecting the nation from the anti-India/secessionist designs of ISI-backed organisation."
Updated Date: Jul 10, 2019 21:36:46 IST