SFJ woos Punjab farmers with hiked grants ahead of ‘Referendum 2020’ (IANS Exclusive)

New Delhi, Sep 9 (IANS) Undeterred by the attachment of properties of Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) key leaders — Gurpatwant Singh Pannun and Hardeep Singh Nijjar — the banned outfit is now offering Rs 3,500 each as grant to woo Punjab farmers ahead of its anti-India campaign ‘Referendum-2020’, intelligence sources have said.

The US-based secessionist group has announced to provide the money on a monthly basis to each of the Punjab farmers who have defaulted on agricultural loans, as part of its strategy to get their support for ‘Referendum-2020’ campaign now planned to be held in November.

Intelligence agencies as well as National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing cases against the SFJ, got the inputs on the grant offer for farmers a day after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) ordered the attachment of immovable properties of Pannun in district Amritsar and Nijjar in district Jalandhar of Punjab.

The SFJ revised its earlier announcement under which Punjab farmers with up to five acres of land were to get Rs 3,000 each to help them repay their agricultural loans.

Reiterating the SJF’s commitment to work for secession of Punjab, SFJ General Counsel Pannun said: “India can take my land but will not be able to stop the Referendum 2020.”

Earlier, the SFJ had also cautioned Union Rail Minister Piyush Goyal not to run trains in Punjab, giving a call for ‘Rail Roko’ in the Indian Punjab on September 13.

In an email to the Minister, the SFJ claimed to highlight the “Indian’s government’s criminal negligence towards increasing farmer suicides in Punjab due to agricultural loans”.

In exercise of the powers conferred under Section 51A of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, the MHA on Tuesday ordered the attachment of immovable properties of Pannun and Nijjar for their role in SFJ’s campaign under the banner of ‘Referendum 2020’ for the creation of ‘Khalistan’.

Based on the NIA’s recommendation, the MHA had ordered the attachment of Pannun’s 46 kanals of land in Khankot village in Amritsar and 11 kanals and 13.5 marlas in Sultanwind suburban in Bhainiwal area in the same district. Nijjar’s 11 kanals and 13 marlas of land in Bhar village in Jalandhar’s Singhpura was also confiscated.

Pannun is the SFJ’s General Counsel while Nijjar is ‘Referendum 2020’ Canada coordinator.

The NIA said that the SFJ, headed by Pannun, is presently making efforts to propagate ‘Referendum-2020’ on the social media. The SFJ is also trying to hold meetings at certain places in the US and other countries to instigate and mobilise the diaspora for its illegal activities.

The MHA declared the SFJ as an ‘Unlawful Association’ under the UAPA through a notification dated July 10 last year.

Significantly, the MHA, as per the notification dated July 1, had designated Pannun, Nijjar and seven other pro-Khalistanis as ‘terrorists’ in the Fourth Schedule to the said Act.

The SFJ chose Punjab, Delhi, and Jammu and Kashmir to launch its online voter registration on July 4 for ‘Referendum 2020’ through different portals but reportedly did not get support.

The group has used the Canadian cyberspace twice for launching its voter registration for the referendum in Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir on the instructions of Pannun, who has been playing a major role in the ‘Referendum 2020’ campaign.

The SFJ enjoys the backing of Pakistan-based handlers in providing money and logistic support to radical Sikh elements in Punjab to carry out subversive activities.

The group is headed by Avtar Singh Pannun and Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who have been advocating the cause of Khalistan as well as the online secessionist campaign for the referendum.

However, the SFJ’s agenda has been rejected by the Sikhs across India in spite of the Inter-Services Intelligence-sponsored propaganda on ‘Referendum 2020’.

The Pakistani intelligence agency has been backing the malicious SFJ campaign, with a large number of Pakistani Twitter handles tweeting in favour of the exercise.

(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at rajnish.s@ians.in)

–IANS

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