Sikhs for Justice Operative Reportedly Arrested in Germany Over Indian Court Blast
The US-based Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) was banned in India in 2019 under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), the country's anti-terror legislation, over its advocacy of a Sikh separatist state and alleged role in violent militancy. New Delhi has also asked Canada to declare the SFJ a terrorist group.
An operative from the banned separatist group, Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), has been arrested in Germany over his alleged role in plotting a bomb blast in a courtroom in the northern Indian city of Ludhiana last week, the Indian media has reported, citing Indian officials.
According to Indian media reports on Tuesday, SFJ's Jaswinder Singh Multani was arrested by the German Federal Police in the city of Erfurt on Monday. India's counter-terror agencies shared evidence about Multani's involvement in the Ludhiana bomb plot with the German authorities.
The blast, which took place at the District and Sessions Court in Ludhiana, Punjab, last Thursday (23 December), caused injuries to five persons, killing the person who had planted the bomb. The attacker has been identified as a dismissed head constable.
Indian investigators later reportedly found out that the blast had been plotted with the help of Jaswinder Singh Multani as well as another militant currently based in Pakistan.
Multani is allegedly a close associate of SFJ's US-based founder Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who reportedly works as a legal adviser.
The Indian daily the Hindustan Times reported that Indian authorities have also provided their German counterparts with "actionable intelligence" about Multani's plans of carrying out terrorist strikes in Mumbai and Delhi.
New Delhi reportedly told the German government that they will "hold them accountable" if terrorist attacks take place in the said Indian cities.
Indian officials are slated to fly to Germany to question Multani.
Indian agencies also believe that Multani was involved in plotting the assassination of farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal during the farm protests in the South Asian country this year.
The plot was foiled by authorities, who also arrested the hired gunmen, Jeevan Singh, before he could carry out the assassination.
17 December 2020, 11:02 GMT
During the probe, it was revealed that Jeevan Singh had been in contact with Multani in Germany.
Indian police claim that creating unrest during the farmers' stir was the primary objective of the planned assassination attempt.