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Mastermind of Indian High Commission attack in London Avtar Singh Khanda dies, NIA investigation picks up pace

Center denies deceased Khalistani radical Khanda was an Indian citizen (Photo: Twitter)

UK Asylum seeker and Khalistani terrorist wanted for pulling down Indian flag in Indian High Commission, London Avtar Singh Khanda died in a UK hospital in Birmingham late last night.  Khanda was reportedly suffering from blood cancer and reports of him being on life support trickled last night after NIA released a list of 45 suspects including him wanted for March 19 vandalisation of Indian High commission in London.

A bomb expert, Khanda was head of Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) and handler of Khalistani separatist Amritpal Singh. He was also arrested by UK authorities in March in connection with vandalisation with his supporters to protest crackdown on Amritpal. Khanda was one of the pillars of secessionist Khalistani movement who was actively involved with organisations like Babbar Khalsa International and ISI.

Khanda has over the years been accused of radicalising youth in Punjab and in countries like the UK, Canada, the US, Germany, Australia against India. Born in the Moga district of Punjab, Khanda hails from a family deeply associated with the Khalistan movement and had ties with Khalistani terrorists like Jagtar Singh Tara and Paramjit Singh Pamma, the latter being an active member of the Khalistan Tiger Force. The NIA investigations against Amritpal had brought Khanda in limelight as he allegedly helped him evade arrest for 37 days after crackdown on his Waaris Punjab De group in March.

Meanwhile NIA (National Investigation Agency) has sped up its investigations in London High commission March 19. The Federal agency late last night released pictures of 45 suspects. Putting up the pictures on its official twitter handle, the agency sought their identification and concerned details from the public.

Highly placed sources in the agency revealed that they had with help of Indian intelligence agencies already identified 8 of these suspects and would issue a lookout notice soon. These included Khanda and his two associates Gurcharan Singh and Jasvir Singh who were also named in the FIR filed by a high commission official after the attack.

The agency had on Tuesday uploaded two hour long CCTV footage of high commission seeking public support to identify and nab the accused but it was today that it released the photographs of suspected Khalistani protesters.

“REQUEST FOR IDENTIFICATION/INFORMATION. On 19.03.23 these persons were involved in an attack on the High Commission of India, London. They caused grievous injury and disrespected the Indian National Flag. If anyone has any information about them, please Whatsapp/DM @+917290009373”, the central agency tweeted.

The viral videos of the incident showed several protesters carrying yellow and black Khalistan flags calling for Waris Punjab De chief and Khalistani preacher Amritpal Singh’s release. During the protest, one of the protesters climbed onto a balcony of the high commission office and pulled down the tricolour.

Also read : NIA team in London to probe attack on Indian High Commission by Khalistani supporters