Wednesday, November 29, 2023
LONDON: Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) founder and Khalistan Referendum spokesman Gurpatwant Singh Pannun has said the assassination plot charges against Nikhil Gupta and other Indian state officials by the US authorities are in fact charges against Narendra Modi.
The Sikh leader said it is reassuring that the US government is steadfast in its fundamental constitutional duty to protect the life, liberty, and freedom of expression of US citizens at home and abroad.
“This is the bedrock of American democracy,” said the pro-Khalistan leader after the US released a bombshell indictment of Indian agents and officials directly accusing and charging them of conspiring to kill Pannun for his activism for the creation of Khalistan.
In a statement released from Washington, Pannun said: “I will let the US officials respond to the questions related to the specifics of India's ‘hire to assassinate’ plot to kill me, timeline of investigations, indictments and most importantly Indian government's involvement in the plot to silence my voice for organizing the Khalistan Referendum.”
Pannun said: “An Indian Hindu Nikhil Gupta has been indicted for assassination attempt but in fact this is an indictment against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a known human rights violator who has a track record of using violence to suppress criticism and dissenting political opinion.
“India’s Modi government wants to Kill me because as General Counsel to advocacy group Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) I am organizing the voting in Khalistan on the Question “Should Indian governed Punjab be an independent country?”
“The attempt on my life on American Soil is the blatant case of India’s transnational terrorism which has become a challenge to America’s sovereignty and threat to freedom of speech and democracy, which unequivocally proves that India believes in using bullets while pro Khalistan Sikhs believe in ballots.”
The Khalistan Referendum spokesman added: “If death is the cost for running the Khalistan Referendum, I am willing to pay that price. The assassination attempt on my life by India cannot deter me from organizing the voting for the independence referendum and I am moving forward with organizing the American Phase of Khalistan Referendum on January 28, 2024 in San Francisco. Despite India’s use of violence against pro Khalistan Sikhs, SFJ is committed to democratically resolve the dispute over the sovereignty of Indian occupied Punjab through the means of Referendum.”
The New York-based lawyer said: “First by assassinating Nijjar in Canada and then attempting to assassinate me on US soil, India under Modi, has extended to the foreign soils its policy of violently crushing the Sikhs movement for right to self-determination. It's the same policy under which India extra judicially killed pro Khalistan Sikhs in Punjab with impunity during the 1990s.”
Pannun spoke after the US law enforcement authorities announced the filing of "murder-for-hire" charges against Indian national Gupta in what they said was a "foiled plot to assassinate" pro-Khalistan leader Pannun in New York City allegedly supervised by an Indian government official.
The US indictment said that Gupta, who is an Indian national who resides in India, "is an associate of CC-1, and has described his involvement in international narcotics and weapons trafficking in his communications with CC-1 and others" and that he was being directed by the Indian government official to kill Pannun.
He has been charged with murder-for-hire over the plot, which prosecutors said was orchestrated from India against the Sikh leader who lives in New York.
Shortly after the indictment was unsealed, the White House said it had raised the issue with the Indian government at the most senior levels. It added that Indian officials responded with "surprise and concern".
"The defendant conspired from India to assassinate, right here in New York City, a US citizen of Indian origin who has publicly advocated for the establishment of a sovereign state for Sikhs," US Attorney Damian Williams said.
"We will not tolerate efforts to assassinate US citizens on US soil," he added.