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HomeIndiaCentre bans J&K, Khalistan groups, declares Rinda as ‘terrorist’

Centre bans J&K, Khalistan groups, declares Rinda as ‘terrorist’

The Centre Friday notified Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF) and Jammu and Kashmir Ghaznavi Force (JKGF) as terrorist organisations under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). It also notified alleged Khalistani operative Harwinder Singh Sandhu alias Rinda as a “terrorist”.

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Rinda has been associated with terrorist organisation Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) and is presently based in Lahore, Pakistan, “under the patronage of cross border agencies and has been found involved in various terrorist activities, particularly in Punjab”.

With this declaration, now there are 54 designated terrorists under the IVth Schedule of the UAPA.

“Reinforcing the commitment of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to strengthen national security and combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, the Ministry of Home Affairs under the guidance of Union Home Minister Amit Shah today declared one more individual and two organisations as ‘Terrorist’/‘Terrorist Organisation’,” the MHA said in a statement.

Giving reasons for declaring KTF as a terror organisation, the MHA said, “It is a militant outfit and it aims to revive terrorism in Punjab and challenges the territorial integrity, unity, national security and sovereignty of India and promotes various acts of terrorism, including targeted killings in Punjab.”

About JKGF, the MHA said the organisation “has been found involved in infiltration bids, narcotics and weapon smuggling and carrying out terror attacks in the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir”.

According to the MHA, the outfit “draws its cadres from various terrorist organisations such as Lashker-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen, Harkat-ul—Jehad-E-Islami etc.”

With the declaration, there are 44 designated terrorist organisations under the 1st Schedule of the Act.

Notably, Rinda is also said to be connected to the Siddhu Moosewala murder case of 2022. The Delhi police had registered a case naming two Punjab gangs in the murder following the arrest of a few individuals. The murder case was later taken over by the NIA, which is probing the alleged nexus between Punjab gangs and terror networks.

Delhi police had invoked UAPA against Moosewala murder accused Lawrence Bishnoi, Goldy Brar and Vikram Brar as well as members of their rival gangs – Davinder Bambiha, Kaushal Chaudhary, Neeraj Bawana, Sunil alias Tillu Tajpuriya, Dilpreet and Sukhpreet alias Budha — besides absconding terrorist Harvinder Rinda.

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Delhi Police’s Special Cell had received information that members of both the gangs were procuring illegal weapons from outside the country to execute targeted killings in Delhi and other states. Two FIRs had been registered under sections 18 (punishment for conspiracy),18-B (punishment for recruiting of any person or persons for terrorist act), and 20 (punishment for being member of terrorist gang or organisation) of the UAPA, and IPC 120-B (criminal conspiracy) by two different units of the Special Cell.

The first FIR was registered on the basis of inputs received by the Special Cell that Bishnoi and his associates – Goldy Brar, Vikram Brar, Kala Jathedi, Jasdeep Singh alias Jaggu Bhagwanpuria, Sachin Thapan, Anmol Bishnoi and Lakhbir Singh Landa – were running their operations from different jails in India as well as from Canada, Dubai and Pakistan. “They are procuring high-end weapons from outside the country and planning to execute targeted killings. Bishnoi is also associated with absconding terrorist Harvinder Rinda,” the FIR stated.

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Investigation into the murder of Moosewala also shed light on the crime network of Bishnoi, which allegedly extends all the way to Pakistan. Police said that Rinda had hired Bishnoi’s men to eliminate a senior Shiv Sena leader, but the plan was shelved due to heavy security. He later asked them to execute an RPG attack on the state police intelligence headquarters in Mohali on May 10 last year, police said.

© The Indian Express (P) Ltd

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