Cracking down on the violence, arson and terror unleashed by the Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) under the guise of Referendum 2020, the Punjab Police on Thursday busted a Pakistan-sponsored terrorist module, Khalistan Gadar Force, with the arrest of one Shabnamdeep Singh from Patiala.
Shabnamdeep was planning to attack police stations/posts and crowded places in the ongoing festival season. A pistol, hand grenade, CT-100 Bajaj Platinum black motorcycle and letter pads belonging to Khalistan Gadar Force and other banned terrorist organizations have been recovered from Shabnamdeep.
With this arrest, the Punjab Police has blown up Pakistan ISI’s nexus with Gurpatwant Singh Pannu’s campaign for Sikh Referendum-2020, and the conspiracy hatched by ISI-backed SFJ to spread mayhem in Punjab and other parts of India, DGP Suresh Arora disclosed, giving details of the arrest.
The arrest of Shabnamdeep proves once again that SFJ continues to spearhead and promote the “Sikh Referendum 2020” campaign through violence and arson, said the DGP, adding that the organisation is patently preying on the poor, illiterate and devout Sikh youth from the Punjab countryside and radicalizing them. The youth are being exploited by SFJ, which is using their poverty and credulity as cannon fodder to unleash violence and promote secessionist acts in the state, said the DGP, appealing to Punjab’s youth not to fall into the trap of such anti-national and secessionist forces out to destroy their lives by pushing them into violence and arson.
Shabnamdeep’s arrest, and that of his associates found to be working for SFJ leaders, has also once again given lie to the claims of Gurpatwant Singh Pannu that their campaign for self-determination did not have any room for violence, and that SFJ and its leaders were not funding any terrorist activity in Punjab, said the DGP.
It may be recalled that earlier, on May 31, 2018, Batala Police had arrested two radical operatives – Dharminder Singh (a Territorial Army soldier) and Kirpal Singh, who had set two liquor vends on fire in Harpura Dhandoi and Panjgrian villages in Sri Hargobindpur block of Batala Police district. Thus, the SFJ operatives had endangered the life of a poor liquor vend worker who was sleeping in the liquor vend, which was set on fire by the duo.
Giving details of today’s operation, Arora said Shabnamdeep Singh alias Maninder Lahoria @ Sheru @ Deep @ Billa, the son of Jasvir Singh, who hailed from Village Daftari Wala Burar, Samana in Patiala district, was currently out on bail in a petty crime case in Rajasthan.
It has been found that Shabnamdeep was operating a Facebook account under the pseudo name of “Lahoria Jatt Gill” with a profile picture of “Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale”.
Investigations so far have revealed that in July, 2018, he was contacted by one Javed Khan Wazir, a suspected Pak Intelligence Officer (PIO), from Pakistan, and was introduced to a Pakistani Sikh ‘Gopal Singh Chawla’. He was further introduced to two other persons, who told Shabnamdeep that they were also supporters of Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) and asked him to join more associates and propagate Sikh Referendum-2020 in a big way.
Preliminary investigations have also revealed that Shabnamdeep was further introduced to one Nihal Singh who identified himself as a hardcore SFJ operative. Nihal and the PIOs started communicating regularly with Shabnamdeep, and kept inciting him to indulge in arson involving liquor vends. They asked Shabnamdeep to videograph such acts of arson and share videos along with details of news reports relating to these incidents.
Acting on these directives, Shamandeep and his associate set on fire several liquor vends and shacks, alongwith a house, last month, and sent the videos to the trio. Shabnamdeep purchased one CT-100 Bajaj Platinum Motorcycle and a new mobile phone with the funds transferred to him by Nihal.
Shabnamdeep was also in contact with one Sukhraj Singh @ Raju, s/o Balwant Singh, r/o Village Nagoke, district Tarn Taran, who was also involved in burning of liquor vends and propagation of Referendum 2020, for which he was receiving money from abroad. Sukhraj Singh contacted Shabnamdeep for delivery of weapons to carry out targeted killings. Sukhraj Singh has recently been arrested by Amritsar Police.
Meanwhile, PIO Jawed Khan contacted Shabnamdeep and shared a logo and name of organization “Khalistan Gadar Force”, and asked him to get the letter pads of “Khalistan Gadar Force” printed and to use them for issue of press statements staking claims to the acts of arson and other terrorist acts committed by them.
Shabnamdeep and his handlers created a Facebook page in the name of “Khalistan Gadar Force” to popularize the newly formed terrorist outfit and propagate its actions. Javed Khan tasked Shabnamdeep to carry out targeted killings and also promised him Rs 10 lakhs for each such act.
In the second week of October, 2018, Shabnamdeep was tasked by his handlers/mentors based in Pakistan to procure a new phone and install a new messaging application for further communication. The handlers promised to provide him pistols and grenades. And around 24th October, the Pistol and grenade were delivered to Shabnamdeep. The latter was advised to use this grenade on some Police Station/Police Post and crowded place during the ongoing Festival session