Formed in 2007, Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) is a US-based separatist group that seeks secession of Punjab from India as Khalistan
Two people, including a policeman were injured on Friday in Patiala when two groups clashed over an “anti-Khalistan” march.
The clash took place outside the Kali Mata temple when members of an outfit that calls itself “Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray)” began a “Khalistan Murdabad March”.
Some Sikh activists, including Nihangs, took out another march against the Sena event.
Near the Kali Mata temple, the two groups came face to face and hurled stones at each other.
A Sena leader said the outfit had planned the march as a reply to the announcement by Sikhs for Justice to mark the ‘foundation day of Khalistan’ on April 29.
Also read: Punjab: Curfew imposed in Patiala after clashes erupted during anti-Khalistan rally
Sena leader Harish Singla said that Gurpatwant Singh Pannun of the Sikhs for Justice had announced to observe April 29 as the “foundation day of Khalistan”.
“To answer them, the Sena had also decided to take out ‘Khalistan Murdabad March’ on April 29,” he said.
What is the pro-Khalistani group?
Formed in 2007, Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) is a US-based separatist group that seeks secession of Punjab from India as Khalistan.
The group was founded by Gurpatwant Singh Pannu, a law graduate from Panjab University and currently an attorney at law in the US. He is also the legal adviser of SFJ.
The group had launched a secessionist campaign, ‘Referendum 2020’, seeking to “liberate Punjab from Indian occupation”.
In 2018, Pakistan also allowed SFJ to open a ‘Referendum 2020’ office in Lahore for facilitating the registration of voters and giving information to Sikhs about it, according to a report by the Times of India.
The government of India banned the group in 2019 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The Home Ministry noted: “In the garb of the so-called referendum for Sikhs, SFJ is actually espousing secessionism and militant ideology in Punjab, while operating from safe havens on foreign soils and actively supported by inimical forces in other countries.”
According to a report by the Indian Express, a Canadian think-tank brought out a report accusing Pakistan of fuelling the Khalistan movement in Canada.
The report mentioned Sikhs for Justice among other groups. In 2020, the government also declared Pannun a designated terrorist under the UAPA and ordered attachment of his properties.
The government also banned 40 websites linked to the pro-Khalistan group in July 2020 for ‘a campaign for registering supporters for its cause’.
With inputs from agencies
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