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Gen Rawat is spot on: Why ISI backed Punjab terror will be biggest destabilising factor

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    New Delhi, Nov 5: The busting of a Khalistan Gadar Force module in Patiala, Punjab has put the spotlight back on Referendum 2020 that seeks to declare the state as a separate nation, by terrorists of the Khalistan movement.

    To add to this, Army Chief, General Bipin Rawat sent out a loud warning that attempts were on to revive insurgency in Punjab. It must be acted upon now and if no steps are taken it would be too late, he also said.

    "Let us not think that Punjab (situation) is over. We cannot close our eyes to what is happening in Punjab. And if we do not take early action now, it will be too late," General Rawat also added.

    Also Read | Khalistan: Why the "London Declaration for Referendum 2020" is a huge cause for concern

    It is on:

    It is on:

    In a bid to gain traction, the Khalistan terrorists have not only used Punjab, but held events in other parts of the world as well. One of the most spoken about events was the one held in London in August this year.

    The event was held at the Trafalgar Square on August 12 and was organised by the SJF or the Sikhs for Justice. Officials in India tell OneIndia that the the SJF has been acting as a front for terror activities.

    The SJF is a New York based organisation which is organising the event and several reports in India prepared by the various agencies clearly suggest that it is a pro-Khalistan front. It has been instrumental in undertaking both pro-khalistan and anti-India activities, both in the US and other countries.

    IB officials say that while the ISI backs this movement heavily, most of the funding has come from countries such as UK, Canada and even Italy.

    Recently the Punjab police busted a Khalistan module in Punjab in which attempts were being made to revive the movement through a slogan known as Referendum 2020. The referendum was being promoted by some Punjab youth at the behest of the ISI on the social media.

    Also Read | Reviving Punjab terror, how UK, Italy, Pakistan is playing a role in Referendum 2020

    The beginning of something big:

    The beginning of something big:

    Counter Intelligence officials tell OneIndia that this was the beginning of something big and was part of the overall plan to revive terrorism in Punjab. With regard to Referendum 2020, the police learnt that the four youth who were arrested were planning on going big during the IPL matches to be held in Mohali. The plan was to get together all like-minded persons and make a declaration during the IPL matches.

    They were planning a mass movement and were inviting people for the same on Facebook, investigations also revealed. During the protest and declaration, the youth had also planned on setting buses and shops of fire. With this they proposed to begin a mass movement and they had fixed the 2020 deadline to declare Punjab as a Khalistan nation.

    They were getting support from Europe and Pakistan as well. The Facebook page Referendum 2020 was set up by an ISI agent who went by the alias Fateh Singh, the police also learnt. It was he who roped in the four youth to popularise the page. Further it was also learnt that the four youth were in talks with like minded people and were attempting to spread the word around in various parts of the state.

    Also Read | What is ‘Referendum 2020,' the ISI plot, AAP was accused of backing

    Communal disturbances:

    Communal disturbances:

    In a bid to revive terrorism, these groups had also undertaken the killing of several Hindu leaders.

    Recently when the National Investigation Agency took over the probe into the killing of an RSS worker in Punjab, it made a startling revelation. The central agency said that this was a plot that was hatched in Pakistan. Funds came from Canada, UK and Italy, the NIA had also said. In Punjab, the ISI-Khalistan forces which work together have specifically targeted religiously important persons.

    On their radar was a Christian Priest Father Sultan Masih who was killed in Ludhiana on July 15 2017. In Punjab there have been such murders galore and the year 2017 has seen five such incidents. In 2016, there were two such incidents.

    The NIA probe into these incidents suggest that the mastermind is a person called Gursharanbir Singh who is a British national. He is the one who roped in Ramandeep and Hardeep Singh and directed them to kill Hindu leaders. The handlers who directed the killing of RSS and other Hindu leaders have been traced to Italy, Canada and the United Kingdom.

    The Punjab police which is probing the case learnt that there is a systematic approach that has been followed to eliminate Hindu leaders by ISI agents. The motive behind the killings is to destabilise the state, the police say.

    The ISI wants to cause communal tension in Punjab. Once the state becomes volatile then it could be used as a platform to launch the Khalistan forces, the police also said. The police got information about the modus operandi following three very high profile arrests.

    Destabilising India:

    Destabilising India:

    Recently the NIA took over the probe into the killing of two persons-Satpal Sharma and his son Ramesh Kumar at Ludhiana. An NIA officer explained to OneIndia that the during the investigation it was found that killings of Satpal Sharma, his son Ramesh Sharma and Durga Gupta were part of trans-national conspiracy hatched by senior leadership of the Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF). Eight incidents of such killings were executed as part of this conspiracy between January, 2016 and October, 2017 in Punjab.

    The objective of the conspiracy was to destabilise the law and order situation in Punjab and to revive the fledgling terrorism in the state. It was found that the conspiracy had its foot-prints in several countries including, Pakistan, UK, Australia, France, Italy and UAE.

    As part of the conspiracy, large amounts of funds were supplied through Italy, Australia and the UK to the perpetrators of the Killings/ Attempted Killings, viz. Hardeep Singh and Ramandeep Singh. These funds were used by them to purchase weapons for executing the killings and other logistics.

    The conspiracy included recruitment and training of Hardeep Singh and Ramandeep Singh in Italy, Dubai and UAE. Accused Hardeep Singh is the permanent resident of Italy while accused Ramandeep Singh belongs to Ludhiana.

    Both these persons were trained by one Gursharanbir Singh, a UK national. Another UK national, Jagtar Singh Johal, who has been arrested in the case was involved in the funding of the conspiracy. Day to day co-ordination of the conspiracy was done by Pakistan based Harmeet Singh @ PhD.

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