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NIA Files Case Against Terrorist For Threatening Air India Passengers

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NEW DELHI, Nov 20: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has registered a case against designated terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun and his banned organisation Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) for issuing video messages threatening people flying Air India, a spokesperson of the agency said on Monday.

The case has been filed under the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the official said.

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Pannun, the self-proclaimed general counsel of “unlawful association” SFJ, released the video messages on social media platforms on November 4.

In these, he asked Sikhs not to fly on Air India planes on and after November 19, claiming that there was a threat to their lives if they flew on the airline’s aircraft. The listed terrorist also threatened that Air India would not be allowed to operate globally.

Following this, a high alert was issued and investigations started by security forces in Canada, India and certain other countries where Air India flies.

In his video messages, Pannun also issued a warning to the Indian government that the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) in Delhi, one of the world’s busiest airports, would remain closed on November 19.

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The NIA spokesperson said Pannun has been under the NIA’s lens since 2019, when the anti-terror agency registered its first case against him.

In September, the NIA had confiscated his share of a house and land in Amritsar in Punjab and Chandigarh, the spokesperson said, adding that non-bailable arrest warrants were issued against Pannun by a NIA Special Court on February 3, 2021.

He was also declared a proclaimed offender’ on November 29 last year, the official said.

As part of his concerted plan to promote terror acts to revive terrorism in India, the official said, Pannun has been creating a false narrative around issues prevailing in Punjab, particularly with regard to Sikhism and by promoting enmity between Sikhs in the country and other communities.

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“The latest threat is in line with the same narrative, which Pannun has actively promoted in the past by threatening and attempting to disrupt essential transportation network systems, including the railways, as well as thermal power plants in India,” the spokesperson said.

On July 10, 2019, the Union ministry of home affairs had banned the SFJ as an “unlawful association” under UAPA for its activities. On July 1 in the next year, Pannun was listed as an “individual terrorist” by the ministry.  (PTI)

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