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Is asylum seeker Avtar Singh Khanda, trying to revive the Khalistani movement under the KLF banner?

Khalistanis attack the Indian High Commission, London (Photo: Twitter)

The asylum seeker in the UK, Avtar Singh Khanda, who had led the violence against the Indian High Commission on March 19, and also pulled down the tricolour from the first floor of the building, is believed to be Ranjodh Singh, the self-styled leader of terror outfit Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF).

A report in the Hindustan Times says that Khanda is leading a double life in the UK, as he is also leading the KLF–a banned terror outfit in India. Khanda’s father Kulwant Singh Khukrana was a KLF terrorist who was gunned down by security forces in 1991.

Questions are now being raised whether Khanda is now trying to position KLF as the vanguard, in a bid to revive the failed Khalistani movement. Was the March 19 incident at the Indian High Commission in London an attempt to formally “launch” Khanda as a Khalistani leader?

Incidentally, Khand is also the founding member of the separatist organisation Waris Punjab De, whose separatist leader, Amritpal Singh is currently on the run.

Soon after the violence at the Indian High Commission in London, the Delhi Police had filed an FIR against Khanda.

The Indian government was annoyed with London as it did not provide security to the High Commission building despite the MI-5, the British domestic spy agency being personally briefed on the expected violence well before March 19. In retaliation the Indian government withdrew security barricades outside the British High Commission in New Delhi to provide for reciprocal security.

HT reports that it is Khanda, who under the nom de guerre of Ranjodh Singh issues KLF’s media statements.

A press note issued on November 20 last year established that Ranjodh Singh aka Khanda was elevated as the head of KLF. The note said that “…. the high-level meeting of KLF’s top brass was held at a secret location. During the meeting, the KLF High Command appointed Bhai Ranjodh Singh as the new Jathedar of KLF.” The note added that Ranjodh Singh has served in Sikh armed struggle along with Shaheed Jathedar Harmeet Singh aka Happy PhD and was determined to follow the footsteps of Jathedar PhD and many other martyrs of Khalistan resistance. Harmeet Singh Happy was poisoned to death in a local drug war in Lahore in January 2020 and was the pawn in the hands of the Pakistani intelligence in instigating violence and drug trafficking in Indian Punjab, the HT report said.

Unsurprisingly, in a press March 20, Singh defended Amritpal Singh and his extremist associates and aides. Predictably, the KLF blamed the Indian security forces and the Punjab Police for the prevailing situation in Punjab. In fact, the note threatened both the security agencies and Punjab Police with dire consequences and reminded them of the murder of DIG Avtar Singh Atwal and SSP Gobind Ram during the heyday of Punjab militancy.

It appears that the KLF wants to lead the attempt to revive the failed Khalistani movement. Intelligence inputs suggest that Khanda, who maintains his Facebook profile under the name “Avvtar Singh Azaad” and Ranjodh Singh” may soon start taking responsibility for terror attacks in India with Punjab as the main target.

Incidentally, a report in the website OpIndia says that on April 1, KLF took responsibility for setting three major fires across Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. In a press release that was published on Facebook and Twitter accounts that claimed to be linked to Ranjodh Singh, the KLF claimed responsibility for three fires that broke out at the Wazirpur factory in Delhi, Azma Hotel in Panchkula (Haryana) and Kanpur market.

It is apparent that the KLF is part of an ecosystem that wishes to destabilise India by radicalising Sikh youth and inciting them to take to drugs and violence in India. The terror organisation also wants to tap into the liberal attitudes of Western countries towards radical and hardline forces working against India.

Also read: Finally UK deploys heavy security outside Indian High Commission to keep Khalistani groups at bay