The Tribune – Referendum hoardings: Five booked for sedition, one held

Jupinderjit Singh, Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, 6 July 2017. The police today booked five activists of Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) on the charge of sedition, as the outfit allegedly put up hoardings in the state announcing “Referendum 2020” for Punjab’s “independence”. One of the accused has been arrested.

The hoardings have either been removed or are in the process of being removed, the police said.

Three of the accused, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun (legal adviser to the SFJ), Jagdeep Singh alias Baba Jagg and Jagjeet Singh, are based in the US. The other accused are Harpunit Singh of Jammu and Gurpreet Singh of Mohali.

Gurpreet has been arrested

Baba Jagg had recently staged a demonstration outside the White House, Washington, when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met US President Donald Trump.

The SFJ and Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh have had run-ins in the recent past. The Chief Minister has accused the outfit of conspiring with Pakistan-based Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to cause trouble in Punjab. The SFJ slapped a defamation case on the CM in Canada, seeking $1 million in compensation.

After filing the defamation suit, Gurpatwant announced a $10,000 reward for serving summons on the Chief Minister.

A police spokesperson said Captain Amarinder ordered strict action against those putting up provocative hoardings that could vitiate the peace of the state.

The police said several provocative posters and hoardings came up at more than 40 sites across the state. The investigation showed that the SFJ’s campaign to put up hoardings, titled “Punjab Independence Referendum 2020”, had been managed by the Baba Hanuman Singh Enterprise Agency hired by New-York-based SFJ through Gurpatwant.

The police further said the investigation was in progress to uncover financial and operational linkages between persons based in India and abroad. The SJF, backed by Khalistani forces, had been trying to destabilise Punjab for the past several months, they said.

The Chief Minister has ruled out any local support for the SJF’s campaign, saying external forces were out to whip up passion to further their vested interests.

SFJ website blocked

The Department of Telecommunications has blocked the website of the US-based Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), accused of trying to wage a war against India by calling for a separate Sikh state.

Probe on

The police probe is on to uncover financial and operational linkages between persons based in India and abroad.


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