English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

Center denies deceased Khalistani radical Khanda was an Indian citizen

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

In a major blow to deceased Khalistani radical Avtar Khanda’s family’s petition seeking his last rites in Punjab’s Moga, the Centre has denied him being an Indian citizen. Filing its reply in a petition filed by Khanda’s sister Jaspreet Kaur in Punjab and Haryana High court seeking directions to bring Khanda’s body, the Centre told the court that it had no document to establish his Indian citizenship. The court has now asked Indian diplomatic authorities in the UK to submit any document to support his citizenship claims if available at the next hearing on August 4. Sources in the High Commission claim that he arrived in the UK as a student and his political asylum claim was pending at the time of his death.

Khanda’s mother Charanjit Kaur and sister Jaspreet Kaur had applied for visas on compassionate grounds to go to the UK to attend his funeral. Initially the family had wanted to repatriate his body to India as it was Khanda’s last wish that his body be cremated in his native town Moga, and the ashes be immersed at Kiratpur Sahib. However, the family did not receive the necessary clearances. Jaspreet had then approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court asking it to direct the Centre to issue permission to bring his body from the UK to Moga as she had not received any response from the Indian High Commission in London. Permission of the Indian High Commission is mandatory to repatriate the body.

Khanda, who according to Indian security sources groomed Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh in Dubai to revive the Khalistan movement in India, died at Birmingham City Hospital on June 15 this year after being diagnosed with terminal blood cancer. He was head of Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) and was handler of radical Amritpal Singh who was arrested in India and currently lodged in Dibrugarh jail. Khanda was closely associated with organisations like Sikhs For Justice, Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) and ISI and led the vandalisation of Indian High commission to protest Amritpal’s arrest. As Khanda died a day after he was named by NIA as wanted in the vandalisation case and died within two months of assassination of Paramjeet Singh Pajwar in Pakistan, several conspiracy theories circulated amongst pro-Khalistan groups, including that he had been deliberately poisoned.

The UK police however has clarified that there is nothing suspicious and no probe is on in his case. West Midlands police in its latest statement said, “No police investigation being carried out into this death as it “was not deemed to be suspicious. He was in hospital when he died. The police were only even made aware of this because of allegations he was poisoned but he was in hospital for a reason — and that was not poisoning. Our involvement was only because of these allegations. His death is not deemed to be suspicious.”