New Delhi: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday hailed the decision of the Centre to ban Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) for its unlawful activities. Singh described it as the first step towards protecting the nation from the anti-India or secessionist designs of an ISI-backed organisation.

The Union Cabinet had declared Pro-Khalistani group ‘Sikhs for Justice’ (SFJ) as an unlawful association and imposed the ban on July 10. In this regard, the government also blocked many of the social media handles of the ISI-backed organisation.

According to Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) sources, “Union Cabinet declares Sikhs for Justice, a fringe group run by few radical Sikhs of foreign nationality in US, Canada, UK etc, as an unlawful assn under provision 3(1) of UAPA, Act 1967. 12 cases filed, 39 ppl of SFJ arrested. Many social media handles of SFJ blocked.” The decision was taken by the Centre in consultation with state govts, including Punjab, stated MHA Sources adding that major Sikh bodies had also raised alarm over secessionist activities of SFJ.

The Sikhs for Justice wanted to use Kartarpur Corridor for propagating their secessionist ideology, noted the MHA sources. Yet there is no concrete evidence to prove that Pakistan has curbed or banned the group. Notably, India likely to raise the issue regarding security and safety of pilgrims during Kartarpur talks on July 14, stated the sources.

News agency ANI quoted MHA sources as saying, “Punjab Police and NIA busted several modules of Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) indulging in various subversive activities in Punjab. A probe revealed that activists were radicalised and funded by foreign-based SFJ handlers Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, Harmeet Singh, Paramjit Singh Pamma.” They added that a wanted Khalistani militant identified as Paramjit Singh Pamma was seen during the India-England World Cup match. He is also associated with Sikhs for Justice.

As per sources, the SFJ and its secessionist campaign referendum 2020 is supported by Pakistan. The official website of SFJ and referendum 2020 were sharing and sourcing content from Karachi based website of a number of SFJ activists who were also linked with same Pakistani websites.

(With Agency inputs)