On My Radar: ISI forging links between Khalistanis and J&K terrorists


The National Investigation Agency (NIA), has picked up evidence in Punjab that indicates that Pakistan’s spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), is highly active to link pro-Khalistani groups in Punjab and abroad with J&K terrorists “to make it a two-state terror theatre”.

With the help of Punjab police, the NIA has reached the conclusion that the ISI once again wants to revive militancy in the state. The NIA is in the process of approaching the Interpol to corroborate the evidence that the ISI is involved in the targeted killings of Hindu leaders in Punjab during the past two years. The Moga police recently interrogated some Sikh hardliners and gangsters and learnt that huge funds were being routed from Pakistan to radicals in Canada, US, UK, Italy, France, Germany, the UAE and some other countries, and from there diverted to India through hawala channels.

Senior RSS leader Jagdish Gagneja, Shiv Sena leader Durga Prasad Gupta, Hindu leader Amit Sharma, Dera Sacha Sauda followers Satpal Kumar and son Ramesh Kumar, Christian pastor Sultan Masih and Ludhiana-based RSS leader Ravinder Gosain were allegedly targeted by terrorists with the help of local criminals, claims the Punjab police. The NIA began investigating these high-profile murders two months ago.

The NIA team visited Jammu recently. “We are getting enough evidence to indicate that the ISI is trying to revive militancy in Punjab by forging an alliance between pro-Khalistan bodies and Lashkar-e-Taiba. A Pakistan-based Harmeet Singh ‘PHD’ is said to be a key link between the ISI and Khalistani terrorists,” said a senior NIA officer.

Four organisations, Khalistan Liberation Force, Babbar Khalsa International, Khalistan Zindabad Force and International Sikh Youth Federation of Lakhbir Singh Rode are said to be active in reviving militancy.

JUST CODE

‘EMULATE ISRAEL’S LEGAL PLURALISM’

Dr Faizan Mustafa, Vice-Chancellor of NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, is also a Visiting Professor at Tel Aviv University. Recently, he taught a religion and law course at Tel Aviv University and was amazed to see the “legal pluralism of Israel”. “Since the BJP favours a uniform civil code, India must closely study the Israeli model of legal pluralism. Those who favour the idea of ‘One-Nation-One-Law’ and who see Israel as a model must see how Israel manages its legal diversity,” advise Mustafa. Mustafa says Israel has not disturbed some fundamental features of the traditional Ottoman Empire’s Millet system which guarantee substantial cultural autonomy in personal matters. “The Shariah courts have jurisdiction on all Muslims and in all matters governing personal status. They have the highest autonomy and no civil court can hear matters of personal law of Muslims. But no one in Israel ever called it appeasement of Muslim minority whose extra-territorial loyalties are too well known,” he points out. “Let the Law Commission study the Israeli model of legal pluralism before it submits its report. Uniformity of law should not be the goal, justness of law should,” says Mustafa. “We need a just code.”

HISTORY

‘BHAGAT SINGH’S STATUE IN LAHORE’

Pakistan’s Shaheed Bhagat Singh Memorial Foundation has demanded that Shadman Chowk in central Lahore, where Bhagat Singh, along with Sukhdev and Rajguru, was hanged on 23 March 1931, should be named after the martyr and his statue installed there. It has also demanded that Bhagat Singh should be rewarded with Pakistan’s highest gallantry award Nishan-a-Haider. When contacted, the foundation’s chairman, Imtiaz Rashid Qureshi, told The Sunday Guardian that “it would be a great source of inspiration for next generations”. An advocate, Qureshi met Lahore’s Mayor and Chief Commissioner on Tuesday to hand over his demand letter. Describing Bhagat Singh as “a great revolutionary of the subcontinent”, Qureshi said that even the Mohammad Ali Jinnah praised him twice in the erstwhile Central Legislative Assembly by saying that no one as brave as Bhagat Singh was ever born on the subcontinent. By giving Bhagat Singh Nishan-a-Haider award, Qureshi feels that “Pakistan would be held in high esteem in the world if martyrs were given full respect without any discrimination on religious grounds.” Qureshi has also moved the Lahore High Court for reopening the Bhagat Singh trial case to set aside the revolutionary’s death sentence, as he says, “We are hopeful that it will be proven that the decision of the British Government to hang Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru was wrong.” A division bench of the Lahore HC in February 2017 had asked the Chief Justice to set up a larger bench to hear the petition. The final outcome is awaited. “Bhagat Singh is as much of Pakistan as much as he is of India,” says Qureshi commenting that “Bhagat Singh was born in present-day Pakistan, so he is the hero of India and the son of Pakistan.” Qureshi recently visited Ferozepur to pay tributes to the Shahid-e-Azam on his 110th birth anniversary. He had brought water from the martyr’s house at Banga village, besides leaves of the mango tree planted by Sardar Arjun Singh, Bhagat Singh’s grandfather, around 200 years ago. Qureshi’s grandfather Haji Abdul Rehman Qureshi was the president of the Congress unit of Abohar.

In 2014, the Lahore police rummaged through records of the Anarkali police station on the court’s order and managed to find the FIR on the killing of British police officer John Saunders in 1928. Qureshi was given a copy of the FIR on court order. Written in Urdu, the FIR was registered with the police station on 17 December 1928 at 4.30 pm against two “unknown gunmen”. The case was registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code. “Bhagat Singh’s name did not figure in the FIR, even though he was eventually given the death sentence for the murder,” said Qureshi. A copy of this FIR is not available with the Indian authorities.

RIVER

BOOK ON NARMADA

Veteran Hindi journalist Alok Mehta met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Parliament House office to present him with his 105-page coffee table book, Naman Narmada, which showcases 80 colour photographs of the river. In his message printed in the book, the PM has written, “The message of conservation of rivers has also been highlighted in the book…it is absolutely essential we conserve our river ecosystems. They are essential for the wellbeing of our farmers, and for the sustainable development of humanity. This book would hopefully inspire more people to study about the Narmada and even engage them in water conservation effort.” Naman Narmada will be officially released at the beginning of February by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. “Interestingly, Narmada does not emanate from the melting snow of the mountains. Most of our rivers go to the east, but Narmada flows westwards,” points out Mehta. “We have River Shipra, but due to her water limitation, the whole region struggled for years to get waters from Narmada. After 54 years’ efforts, we now have Sardar Sarovar Dam on Narmada in Gujarat. Historically the Narmada is the oldest river, glorified even by the Vedas and later Kalidas. Some of the oldest cave paintings in the world are found at the Bhimbetka caves, near the banks of the Narmada.”

Sunday Guardian Live