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India sent 'secret memo' to embassies in North America to target Sikhs: Report

India sent 'secret memo' to embassies in North America to target Sikhs: Report


According to a document in possession of a US news body, "India is targeting Sikh activists in West"

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WASHINGTON (KMS) – India had reportedly sent a ‘secret memo’ to its embassies in North America, asking them to crack down on Khalistani activists, including the slain Sikh leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

According to Kashmir Media Service, the US news organisation, The Intercept, in its report published, a day ago, claimed to have a document in its possession which reveals that India is targeting Sikh activists with a “sophisticated crackdown scheme” in the West.

“The Indian government instructed its consulates in North America to launch a sophisticated crackdown scheme against Sikh diaspora organisations in Western countries, according to a secret memorandum issued in April 2023 by India’s Ministry of External Affairs. The memo, which was obtained by The Intercept, lists several Sikh dissidents under investigation by India’s intelligence agencies, including the Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar,” the report added.

“Concrete measures shall be adopted to hold the suspects accountable,” the memo says. Nijjar was murdered in Vancouver in June, two months after being named as a target in the document, a killing the Canadian government said was ordered by Indian intelligence.

Titled “Action Points on Khalistan Extremism,” the memo addresses India’s growing concerns about its reputation due to activism from Sikh organizations.

“The document instructs [Indian] officials at its consulates to cooperate with Indian intelligence agencies to confront the groups Sikhs for Justice, Babbar Khalsa International, Sikh Youth of America, Sikh Coordination Committee East Coast, World Sikh Parliament, and Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar America. It suggests that Nijjar and several other “suspects” are affiliated with one of these groups, Babbar Khalsa International. Babbar Khalsa International is proscribed as a terrorist organization in the US and Canada, but the other organisations named in the document are considered legal in both countries.”

The leaked April memo from India’s Ministry of External Affairs calls on Indian consular officials operating in the US and Canada to work in cooperation with India’s Research and Analysis Wing, the National Investigation Agency, and the Intelligence Bureau.

The Intercept said, the Indian government did not respond to a request for comment prior to publication of this story. Following publication, the Indian government released a statement saying “there is no such memo.”

While the US and Canada have both now charged India with orchestrating assassinations against Sikhs in the West, the secret document obtained by The Intercept is the first public evidence showing that the Indian government was targeting these specific Sikh diaspora organizations and dissidents, the report added.

Those involved in Sikh diaspora advocacy said that the Indian government frequently characterizes any political activity by Sikh organizations as militant or extremist in nature.

The classified memo is signed by Vinay Kwatra, India’s foreign secretary, and listed for distribution to several Indian consulates in North America. Kwatra’s signature was analyzed by a forensic handwriting expert and found with high confidence to match records of his signature in other, publicly available documents reviewed by The Intercept.

US and Canadian officials have issued statements indicating that shared intelligence, including intercepted communications of Indian government officials, allowed them to determine that India was involved in Nijjar’s murder. Unsealed court documents in the murder-for-hire plot targeting Pannun likewise indicate significant US government interception of electronic communications between Indian officials and people working on their behalf in the US.

An assassination campaign against diaspora Sikh dissidents also appears to be underway in countries outside the West, the document said and named Pakistan as among them.