Amarinder Singh welcomes Centre's decision to ban pro-Khalistan outfit SFJ

Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Wednesday hailed the Union government's decision to ban pro-Khalistan group 'The Sikhs for Justice' and said it deserved to be treated as a "terrorist organisation".
Amarinder Singh termed the move as the first step towards protecting the nation from "anti-India or secessionist designs" of the ISI-backed organisation.

US-based SFJ which pushes for 'Sikh Referendum 2020' as part of its separatist agenda was banned by the Centre for its alleged anti-national activities, officials said.
"Though the outfit deserved to be treated as a terrorist organisation, the government of India has at least taken a long-overdue stand against the SFJ, which had unleashed a wave of terror in Punjab in recent years," Amarinder Singh said in a statement issued here.
With this step, the Centre has finally shown its much-needed intent to crack down on the organisation, which was "overtly being backed by Pakistan's ISI in its conspiratorial campaign" over 'Sikh Referendum 2020', launched in 2014, said the CM.
He, however, asserted that the central government would have to take more proactive measures to aggressively crack down on SFJ and its affiliates or operatives in the interest of national security.
"SFJ's activities went beyond being unlawful and posed a major threat to the very existence of our nation," said Amarinder Singh.
The recent years had seen blatant attempts by SFJ to radicalise, fund and motivate some poor and gullible youngsters of Punjab into committing acts of arson and violence, Amarinder Singh pointed out.

The outfit had also been making efforts to enlist the support of gangsters and radicals in the state and exhorting them to fight for the "liberation of Punjab" from the Indian government, he added.
The chief minister said that the Punjab Police, over the last three years, had registered several criminal cases against such youngsters as well as SFJ leaders based in various countries and working under the command of SFJ promoters, operating from US, Canada, UK, Malaysia etc.
The recovery of arms and ammunition from them has exposed a major network, spread across various south-eastern, western and even African countries, and using money transfers through hawala channels to finance the violence and illegal activities, he added.
Amarinder Singh further accused the SFJ of even trying to instigate Punjab Police personnel to revolt against the state government, besides issuing threats and intimidating him, the state's jails minister, and senior police officers of Punjab, including former and present DGPs.
"Besides, the outfit had been targeting Sikh Army soldiers through a dedicated social media campaign and instigating them to desert the Army and work for promotion of Referendum 2020 instead," he said.
Amarinder Singh also mentioned the incident wherein some SFJ activists were seen wearing T-shirts of 'Referendum 2020' and waving the 'Khalistani' flag at the world cup cricket match between India and England at Edgbaston, Birmingham during the ongoing Cricket World Cup.



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