Punjab Police book pro-Khalistan leader Pannun for threat to temple management

Police say the FIR was registered at Amritsar's Sultanwind police station on 23 January

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, leader of the pro-Khalistan group Sikhs for Justice (photo: IANS)
Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, leader of the pro-Khalistan group Sikhs for Justice (photo: IANS)
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PTI

The Punjab Police have booked Gurpatwant Singh Pannun of the banned group Sikhs for Justice on charges of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion or race. The FIR was registered at Amritsar's Sultanwind police station on 23 January, the police said on Wednesday.

Pannun has been designated as a terrorist by the Union home ministry under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Sikhs for Justice banned.

In a video posted on social media, Pannun allegedly claimed that the Shri Durgiana Mandir in Amritsar had no historical significance in Hinduism. The pro-Khalistan activist also purportedly warned the temple management to shut its gates and hand over the keys to the Golden Temple administration.

The police said the case was registered on the basis of Pannun's social media video. He has been booked under sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race), 153B (making or publishing statements that promote disharmony or hatred between different religious, racial, language, or regional groups) and 505 (making, publishing or circulating any statement, rumour or report) of the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the IT Act, the police said.

Pannun on 16 January issued a veiled threat to Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann and police chief Gaurav Yadav as he asked gangsters in the state to join SFJ and stop top political leaders from attending the Republic Day parade.

In an email sent to some journalists and two videos accessed by PTI, Pannun compared Mann with former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh, who was assassinated in a bomb blast in August 1995. Pannun also equated Punjab director-general of police Yadav to assassinated officer Gobind Ram, who was also killed in a bomb blast in 1990.

In one of the purported videos, Pannun dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the Republic Day parade without security. In another video, he asked gangsters in Punjab to join SFJ, participate in a referendum for Khalistan, and also prevent Mann from hoisting the tricolour on Republic Day.

The email sent to journalists, however, deviated slightly from the videos where Pannun, besides giving a call to Punjab gangsters to join SFJ, also asked them to be recognised as "shaheed (martyrs)".

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