Acting against Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, Khalistani leader and head of the banned organisation Sikhs for Justice, the National Investigation Agency on Saturday seized his house in Punjab’s Chandigarh and confiscated land owned by him in Amritsar.
India’s home ministry had in July 2020 declared Pannun a ‘terrorist’, and requested an Interpol red notice for him. However, Interpol has twice rejected India’s request to issue a Red Corner Notice on terror charges against him, citing insufficient information.
Confiscated properties include 46 Kanal of agricultural land in his ancestral village, Khankot, situated on the outskirts of Amritsar district. Additionally, house no 2033 in Sector 15-C, Chandigarh, has been seized. Pannu has forfeited ownership of these properties, which are now under government control. In 2020, his properties were frozen, prohibiting him from selling them.
The Sikh separatist leader faces 22 criminal cases in Punjab, including three of draconian sedition.
The NIA action comes after Pannu had allegedly threatened Indo-Canadian Hindus to leave the country and return to India.
In a viral video amid a diplomatic row between the two countries over the murder of a Sikh leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, Pannun was heard saying, “Indo-Canadian Hindus, you have repudiated your allegiance to Canada and Canadian Constitution. Your destination is India. Leave Canada, go to India.”
In Canada, Pannun urged all Sikhs to gather in Vancouver on 29 October for a referendum to vote on whether the Indian High Commissioner Sanjay Kumar Verma was responsible for Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s killing.