BY RAJNISH SINGH
New Delhi, Oct 22 (IANS) With Kartarpur Corridor set to be operationalised, there are fears that the initiative may be used by Pakistan to promote its pro-Khalistan agenda.
Indian intelligence agencies have warned that Sikh fundamental organizations like Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) plan to use the Kartarpur Corridor to further their secessionist agenda by radicalizing pilgrims who travel to Pakistan.
The government in July had announced a ban on SFJ under Section 3 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for its alleged anti-national activities.
Pakistan had in April this year claimed that it has also banned the SFJ, but India is yet to receive any formal communication from Pakistan in this regard.
A Home Ministry official, requesting anonymity, told IANS that the SFJ is being supported by Pakistan-based handlers to provide money and logistical support to local terrorists in Punjab to carry out subversive activities.
The Kartarpur Corridor may be used by such anti-national elements as pilgrims may be approached by these pro-Khalistani elements in Pakistan.
Pakistan has been trying to fuel pro-Khalistan campaign in India.
Intelligence sources have raised alarm that several gurdwaras in Pakistan are still being used to promote pro-Khalistan campaign and they have shared inputs regarding pamphlets being distributed at some gurdwaras in Pakistan that talked about “Sikh Referendum 2020”.
The SFJ, headed by Avtar Singh Pannun and Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, started advocating a separate Khalistan state as well as an online secessionist campaign, the “Sikh Referendum 2020”.
Formed in 2007, SFJ came to prominence only in the last five years with its primary objective to establish an “independent and sovereign country” in Punjab, said the official.
The official said that 8 to 10 people comprise the SFJ and that its online support is close to 2 lakh.
“Punjab Police has registered 10 different cases against the SFJ and its members, while the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is also probing the group in one case.”
With officials linked to the Kartarpur Corridor indicating that the project would be completed before October 31, agencies are on alert to bring down any pro-Khalistan agenda.
Some officials in the internal security wing of the Indian government told IANS on condition of anonymity that Pakistan would not use the Corridor for terror activities as it is a “trump card” for it in maintaining its image on international forum and infront of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and also in increasing its revenue through levying $20 service fee per pilgrim — $1 lakh every day.
But, the official warned, Pakistan would surely play pro-Khalistan agenda.
Devotees from India wishing to visit Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara where Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak Dev spent the last 18 years of his life and is his final resting place, would use the Corridor to visit the holy shrine in Pakistan.
Keeping tabs on Khalistan agenda, the Home Ministry has planned for the online registration system to ensure hat pilgrims should not be leaned towards such anti-national thought process. “So, those who would apply through online system would be informed about their confirmed visit after a proper verification of the applicant,” the official said.
BY RAJNISH SINGH