New Delhi: Union home minister Amit Shah on Wednesday declared nine individuals linked to separatist Khalistani organisations, including four based in Pakistan, as designated terrorists under provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
According to a statement by the home ministry, the individuals include Wadhawa Singh Babbar, chief of Babbar Khalsa International (BKI); Lakhbir Singh Rode, who heads International Sikh Youth Federation; Ranjeet Singh, chief of Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZB) and Paramjit Singh Panjwar, who leads Khalistan Commando Force.
All these four are Pakistan-based terrorist organisations.
The others are: Germany-based key members of terrorist organisation KZB Bhupinder Singh Bhinda and Gurmeet Singh Bagga; Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, US-based key member of unlawful association Sikh for Justice, Hardeep Singh Nijjar: Canada based Chief of Khalistan Tiger Force and the UK-based Paramjit Singh of BKI.
The home ministry said these individuals are operating from Pakistan and other foreign soil, and are involved in various acts of terrorism.
They have been relentless in their nefarious efforts of destabilising the country by trying to revive militancy in Punjab through their anti-national activities and their support to and involvement in the Khalistan movement, the statement said.
“Reinforcing Modi government’s commitment to strengthening national security and its policy of zero tolerance to terrorism, Union Home Ministry under leadership of Home Minister Amit Shah today declared the nine individuals as designated terrorists under provisions of UAPA Act,” the home ministry statement said.
The ministry said under the strong and iron-willed leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the central government had amended the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, in August 2019 to include the provision of designating an individual as a terrorist.
Prior to this amendment, only organisations could be designated as terrorist organisations.
By invoking this amended provision, in September 2019, the central government designated four individuals as terrorists — Maulana Masood Azhar, Hafeez Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Dawood Ibrahim.
The home minister, during the debate in Parliament last year on the amendment to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, had strongly expressed the Modi government’s commitment to firmly fight the menace of terrorism and had unequivocally reaffirmed the nation’s resolve on this matter, the statement said.