LONDON: Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) founder and Khalistan Referendum spokesman Gurpatwant Singh Pannun has said that the murder conspiracy charges against Nikhil Gupta and other Indian government officials by the US authorities are actually 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 foundation of American democracy,” the pro-Khalistan leader said after the US released a bombshell indictment of Indian agents and officials accusing them and directly accusing them of conspiring to kill Panun for his activism to create Khalistan.
In a statement released by Washington, Pannun said: “I will allow US officials to answer the questions related to the details of the Indian assassination plot, the timeline of the investigations, the charges and most importantly the involvement of the Indian government in the scheme to silence my voice for organizing the referendum in Khalistan”.
Pannun said: “An Indian Hindu Nikhil Gupta has been charged with attempted murder, but this is actually an indictment against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a known human rights abuser who has a history of using violence to suppress criticism and dissenting policies views.
“The Modi government of India wants to kill me because as the General Counsel of the Sikh advocacy group for Justice (SFJ) I am organizing the vote in Khalistan on the question ‘Should Indian-ruled Punjab be an independent country?’
“The attempt on my life on American soil is the glaring case of India’s transnational terrorism, which has become a challenge to America’s sovereignty and a threat to freedom of speech and democracy, which proves beyond doubt that India believes to the use of bullets while pro-Khalistan Sikhs believe in the polls.”
The Khalistan Referendum spokesman added: “If death is the cost of holding the Khalistan Referendum, I am willing to pay that price. The attempt on my life by India cannot stop me from organizing the independence referendum vote and I am going ahead with organizing the American phase of the Khalistan referendum on January 28, 2024 in San Francisco. Despite India’s use of violence against pro-Sikhs, the SFJ is committed to democratically resolving the dispute over the sovereignty of Indian-occupied Punjab through a referendum.”
The New York-based lawyer said: “By first murdering Nijjar in Canada and then attempting to assassinate me on American soil, India under Modi has extended to foreign lands its policy of violently crushing the Sikh rights movement in self-determination. It is the same policy under which India extrajudicially killed pro-Khalistan Sikhs in Punjab with impunity in the 1990s.”
Pannun spoke after US law enforcement announced the filing of “murder-for-hire” charges against Indian national Gupta in what they said was a “botched assassination plot” by pro-Khalistan leader Pannun in New York that he allegedly oversaw from an Indian. government official.
The US indictment said Gupta, who is an Indian national and resides in India, “is an associate of CC-1 and has described his involvement in international drug and arms trafficking in his communications with CC-1 and others” and that he was ordered by the Indian government official to kill Pannun.
He was charged with murder-for-hire for the plot, which prosecutors said was orchestrated by India against the New York-based Sikh leader.
Shortly after the indictment was unsealed, the White House said it had raised the issue with the Indian government at the highest levels. He added that Indian officials responded with “surprise and concern”.
“The defendant conspired from India to assassinate, here in New York, an American citizen of Indian origin who has publicly supported the establishment of a sovereign state for the Sikhs,” said US Attorney Damian Williams.
“We will not tolerate attempts to kill US citizens on US soil,” he added.
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