India forms probe panel in foiled plot to kill Sikh separatist leader in US

New Delhi, Nov 29 (EFE). – India said on Wednesday that it had formed a high-level investigative committee after the United States expressed concern over an alleged plan to assassinate an Indian-origin citizen, who is a well-known Sikh separatist leader.

“On Nov. 18, 2023, the government of India constituted a high-level enquiry committee to look into all the relevant aspects of the matter,” the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said in a press statement.

The Financial Times newspaper reported on Nov. 22 that Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a US and Canadian citizen dubbed a terrorist by India, was the target of a murder plot thwarted by US intelligence services.

On the same day, White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said that Washington is “addressing the issue with the utmost seriousness” and expected those responsible to be held accountable.

The controversy followed similar accusations after Canada alleged that Indian government agents were involved in the assassination of another separatist leader on its territory.

The US government raised the issue with Indian authorities, Watson said in a statement. “Activities of this nature are not part of their policy,” and they promised to investigate what happened.

The foreign ministry said the alleged plan to assassinate the separatist leader was revealed by the US during the meeting of the defense and foreign ministers of both countries in New Delhi on Nov. 10.

“We are treating this issue with the utmost seriousness, and it has been raised by the US government with the Indian government, including at the senior-most levels,” the ministry said.

Pannun is the founder of Sikhs for Justice, a US-based organization accused by India of promoting terrorist acts and radicalizing youth in favor of an independent Sikh homeland called Khalistan in Indian Punjab.

Its leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a separatist leader of Indian origin and Canadian citizen, was murdered in June outside a Sikh temple in British Columbia.

In September, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Indian government agents were involved in Nijjar’s murder, asking authorities in New Delhi to collaborate in the investigation of the killing.

India reacted by suspending visas and withdrawing immunity from 41 Canadian diplomats. EFE


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