Khalistani separatist organization Sikhs for Justice has issued a fatwa to Sikhs not to travel on Air India flights. Gurpatwant Pannun, the head of that organization, said in a video message to the Sikh community that it is risky to travel on Air India flights after November 19. We are not talking about taking anyone’s life. warning
Incidentally, Pannun himself is a citizen of Canada and Sikhs for Justice is very active in Canada. After Pannun’s video message, the Indian government has started talks with the Canadian administration.
Government sources have indicated that New Delhi is happy with the initial response of the Justin Trudeau government in this regard. The relationship between the two countries has deteriorated over the Khalistani issue. It is not normal yet. However, due to diplomatic relations, the Trudeau administration has responded quickly in compliance with international laws and regulations. A spokesperson for Canada’s Transport Minister Pablo Rodrigues said there will be additional security monitoring of Air India’s aircraft. Security and intelligence agencies of the country have been alerted in this regard.
Pannun’s threat brought back memories of the blast on an Indian plane bound for Canada 38 years ago. Sikh separatist group Babbar Khalsa blew up an Indian Airlines Boeing 747 over the Atlantic, killing 329 passengers. 268 of them were residents of Canada. Besides, 27 were British and 24 were Indian nationals.
Inder Jing Singh Rewat, the main driver of the incident, was a Canadian citizen. That is not the only incident, hijacking planes, detonating are common tactics of Khalistani. Twice this organization joined hands with Pakistani militants to hijack Indian aircraft. Every time they demand the release of jailed Khalistani militants.
Although this time direct attack on the plane, kidnapping is not mentioned, that possibility cannot be ruled out. Air India has regular flights to various airports in Canada. Prime Minister Trudeau accused Indian agencies of involvement in the killing of Khalistani militant Hardir Singh Gujjar in that country last June. Gujjar was a citizen of Canada. His name was on the terrorist list in India.
Diplomatic relations between the two countries have deteriorated since Trudeau’s accusations. Both countries expelled some diplomats. As an additional measure, India asked Canada to withdraw 40 diplomats. However, New Delhi has started issuing visas to Canadian citizens again.
However, after Pannun’s warning, both countries are working according to international rules. It is reported that the Trudeau administration has responded to the extent to which India has drawn Canada’s attention in this regard.