• Thursday, May 23, 2024

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Pro-Khalistani activist Avtar Singh dies in UK

He was allegedly involved in terrorist activities by joining Khalistan Liberation Force remnants

Avtar Singh (ANI Photo)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

AVTAR SINGH PURBA alias Khanda, a prominent pro-Khalistani activist, died at a hospital in Birmingham on Thursday (15) morning after a prolonged illness, a UK-based Sikh organisation said in a statement.

Sikh Federation UK said Avtar Singh was terminally ill with blood cancer. He was on a life support system for the last few days.

Wanted in conspiracy to kill Sukhbir Singh Badal (president of India’s Shiromani Akali Dal-B), former Punjab director general of police Sumedh Singh Saini and senior advocate Rajwinder Singh Bains, Avtar Singh was allegedly involved in terrorist activities in the UK by joining the banned Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) remnants active in Britain and other countries.

Avtar Singh, who initially went to UK in 2007 on study visa but later took asylum there in 2012 and never returned since then, was linked to anti-India activities including the attack on the tricolour at the High Commission of India in London earlier this year – allegations that he had denied. His family still resides in Purana in Moga district.

“It is with the greatest sadness that we share the shocking news that the young Panthic Activist Bhai Avtar Singh Khanda (35) has passed away in a Birmingham hospital this morning,” Jaspal Singh, national press secretary of Sikh Federation UK, said in a statement.

The organisation criticised the Indian authorities for running a hate campaign against Avtar Singh and his family because of his close family ties with pro-Khalistani activists Deep Sidhu, who died in a road accident in February last year, and Amritpal Singh, a radical preacher who is currently in an Indian jail.

He was one of the mentors of Amritpal Singh and was funding him all along. After the arrest of Amritpal, Avtar had formed a committee of foreign based Khalistani elements to run the affairs of ‘Waris Punjab De’.

Avtar Singh was the son of slain Khalistan Liberation Force terrorist Kulwant Singh Khukhrana, who was killed in an encounter.

He was learnt to be heading KLF outfit under code name Ranjodh Singh after the killing of erstwhile KLF chief Harmeet Singh alias PhD in Pakistan in January 2020.

He was close to militants like Jagtar Singh Tara of Khalistan Tiger Force (in incarceration in Beant Singh assassination case) and Harminder Singh Mintoo of KLF and Paramjit Singh Panjwar of KCF/P (both deceased).

In the last phase of his life, Avtar Singh was working in close association with UK based fugitive militant Paramjit Singh Pamma and Canada based KTF militant Hardeep Singh Nijjar who are spearheading secessionist campaign Referendum 2020′ of banned organisation Sikhs For Justice’.

He was one of those behind turning late actor Deep Sidhu into a ‘Khalistani icon’ who had later denigrated the National Flag at Red Fort on January 26, 2021 during a farmers’ rally in Delhi. Avtar was also working to lure Indian students and illegal immigrants in the UK to join Khalistani outfits in lieu of sponsorship’ for political asylum. He was running Khalistani TV Channel KTV in the UK.

On Wednesday (14), India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) released five videos of suspects they believe were involved in the violent protest at the Indian High Commission in London by pro-Khalistani supporters.

The central agency had taken over the probe after home ministry officials met UK representatives in the wake of the attack on March 19.

(PTI)

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