US thwarted plot to kill Sikh separatist, issued warning to India: Report

The Financial Times report comes two months after Canada alleged Indian agents were linked to another Sikh separatist leader’s murder.

A mural features the image of late Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey
A mural features the image of late Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who was slain on the grounds of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in British Columbia, Canada [File: Chris Helgren/Reuters]

Authorities in the United States have thwarted a plot to kill a Sikh separatist in the country and issued a warning to India over concerns the government in New Delhi was involved, the Financial Times has reported.

Citing unnamed sources, the FT on Wednesday identified Gurpatwant Singh Pannun as the target of the allegedly foiled plot.

The report said Pannun had declined to say whether US authorities had warned him about the plot, but quoted him as saying he would “let the US government respond to the issue of threats to my life on American soil from the Indian operatives”.INTERACTIVE - Sikhs in India

There was no immediate response from India’s Ministry of External Affairs or the US embassy in New Delhi to requests for comment on the report, the Reuters news agency said.

The FT report said the sources did not say if the protest to India resulted in the plot being abandoned by the plotters, or if it was foiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The protest to New Delhi was registered after Prime Minister Narendra Modi was welcomed on a state visit by President Joe Biden in June, said the report, which came two months after Canada said there were “credible” allegations linking Indian agents to the June murder of a Sikh separatist leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in a Vancouver suburb.

India has rejected Canada’s accusations.

Apart from the diplomatic warning to India, US federal prosecutors have also filed a sealed indictment against at least one suspect in a New York district court, the FT report said.

Pannun, like Nijjar, is a proponent of a decades-long, but now fringe demand to carve out an independent Sikh homeland from India named Khalistan.

Canada worked “very closely” with the US on intelligence that Indian agents had been potentially involved in Nijjar’s murder, a senior Canadian government source told Reuters news agency in September.

The FT report said the US shared details of the thwarted plot with a wider group of allies after Canada’s public accusation.

Source: News Agencies