In December 2019, Punjab police busted an international gang of drug smugglers operating from Canada, Punjab and Sydney. The gang comprised of nine members, five Indians and four foreigners. They were arrested from different parts of North India, including Punjab, Delhi, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. The Tribune quoting officials had reported that the racket was run by Canadian nationals of Indian origin who had migrated from Punjab. At least some of them were suspected to be part of the Khalistan movement still active in Canada. Since then Canadian Police have pulled up their socks to take on the drug mafia active in their country and have been successful in tightening its noose around a few Canadians of Indian origin from Punjab, who are hell bent upon ruining the reputation of the entire community.
Punjabi Diaspora concerned
Reports about the Canadian nationals of Indian origin from Punjab supporting the drug mafia to generate funds for Khalistan movement had evoked concern from the Punjabis settled in Canada and United Kingdom. Their apprehensions about the entire Punjabi community being labeled as Khalistan Movement supporters were not misplaced and they objected to it. Chairman of the British Sikh Association Lord Rami Ranger was forced to file a complaint with the police in London after being targeted by Khalistani activists who he said were circulating fake posters and letter purporting to be by him and simultaneously had set up a petition to get him removed from the House of Lords. The petition was subsequently taken down. Some Khalistani groups on December 10, 2020, Sikhs for Justice, the illegal outfit organising the Punjab referendum, had held a farmers’ rally in Birmingham. On January 26 this year members of Khalistani separatist groups had staged a protest outside the Indian embassy in Washington DC. The protest was hosted by Sikh DMV Youth and Sangat. Handful of protesters held so-called ‘Khalistan’ flags and raised slogans.
Drug trafficking, Khalistan movement interlinked
Investigations carried out by various agencies have revealed that drug trafficking in Canada, organizing anti-India protests in Britain and United States seem to be a part of an organized racket aimed at reviving the Khalistan movement at the behest of Pakistan spy agency ISI. On April 21, 2021, Toronto Police said that thirty three persons, including two dozen Punjabis, were arrested in the country after a transnational illicit drug trafficking network was busted in Canada.
The police had stated that the arrests in Greater Toronto Area came after a year-long investigation conducted by Canada’s York Regional Police in coordination with Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Peel regional police and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. The Canadian drug trafficking network, according to the police, extended to the US and India. Illicit drugs were being brought into Canada from California and India. Six of the Punjab origin arrested people, including a woman, were in their twenties and the eldest suspect was 60 years old. The youngest suspect, 23-year-old Sukhmanpreet, was charged with heroin possession and Vansh Arora, 24, with trafficking of cocaine, conspiracy to traffic cocaine, possession of cocaine and opium for the purpose of trafficking and careless storage of ammunition.
After unravelling a major international drug-smuggling racket are of On January 26 this year members of Khalistani separatist groups had staged a protest outside the Indian embassy in Washington DC. The protest was hosted by Sikh DMV Youth and Sangat. Handful of protesters held so-called ‘Khalistan’ flags and raised slogans. Drug trafficking, Khalistan movement interlinked Punjabi origin, Toronto Police on June 23, 2021 arrested 20 more persons, including nine of Punjab origin. The police had claimed to have seized more than 1,000 kg of cocaine, crystal meth, and marijuana being transported between Mexico, California, and Canada using modified tractor trailers. The police had stated that the recoveries included 444 kg of cocaine, 182 kg of crystal meth, 427 kg of marijuana, 300 oxycodone pills, $966,020 in Canadian currency, 21 vehicles, including 5 tractor trailers and one firearm. The street value of the seized drugs was estimated to be more than $61million and it was termed as a largest international drug takedown in their history.
Punjabi smugglers among top 3 notorious gangs in Canada
According to Khalistan Extremism Monitor (KEM)—a project of the Institute for Conflict Management—Punjabi smugglers figure among top three notorious gangs in Canada behind the biker gangs and Vietnamese groups. Quoting a report from Canada the KEM claimed that about 21 per cent of gangsters, who died in gang-wars or police operations since 2006 were of Punjabi origin. Their activities are of high concern back home in Punjab as some of the gangs have been linked to either arrested or wanted smugglers. The main gangs are headed by Devinder Dev, Kamaljit Chauhan and Amarinder Singh Chhina. The Punjab Police and officials of Narcotics Bureau had said that Dev even had links with the Jagdish Bhola gang. These persons had used Punjab as the base to transport drugs to Canada, the USA and Australia through the Golden Crescent of drugs network featuring Pakistan and Afghanistan. In July 2020 Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun had staged a protest and burnt the Indian tricolour in Canada. The group had mailed the remains to the Indian High Commissioner in Ottawa. It had claimed that “remains of Indian tricolour were mailed to Ajay Bisaria, Indian High Commissioner in Ottawa as a symbolic gesture to remind India that Canada considers Khalistan as a political opinion. However, a spokesperson of Canadian foreign ministry had rejected the SFJ’s ‘Referendum 2020’ campaign and said, “Canada respects the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of India, and the government of Canada will not recognise the referendum.”
Chiefs of Sikh terror groups turn drug smugglers
Pakistan’s spy agency the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) has ostensibly turned several chiefs of Sikh terror groups into drug smugglers. The ISI is using Khalistani terrorists to smuggle narcotics and provide funds to terror various groups for anti-India activities. India last year had declared at least nine Khalistani terrorists in the designated terror list under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). A dossier prepared by Indian Security agencies had revealed that ISI
intended to use pro-Khalistani elements based in Pakistan, Germany, UK, Canada and US for promoting terror and terror ideology by luring the youth and spreading hatred against India. An investigation carried out by National Investigation Agency had revealed that Pakistan-based militant organizations were using narcotic trade to generate funds for terror activities in India. There were reports that all the Khalistani leaders based in the UK, Germany and Canada were involved in facilitating terror activities in India in association with the ISI. In 2019, Punjab Police busted a terrorist module of the revived Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF), backed by a Pakistan and Germany-based terror group.
Security agencies have also found a link to UK and Canada, which have emerged as the main base of Khalistani terrorists. Sympathizers of the groups living in these countries fund drugs in Punjab and some part of these funds are also being diverted for terror activities. The investigations had revealed that Pakistan spy agency ISI was engaged in a conspiracy to supply drugs and weapons in India with the help of pro-Khalistani terrorists present in Germany. The ISI was trying to strengthen Khalistani terrorists against India so that Punjab can be disturbed. On the basis of security agencies report, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) designated nine individuals as terrorists under the amended anti-terror law that was passed by the Parliament last year. The individuals who were designated as terrorists were:
- Gurmeet Singh Bagga—believed to be a close associate of Pakistan-based Sikh radical Ranjeet Singh alias Neeta. Bagga is a Khalistan Zindabad Force terrorist.
- Bhupinder Singh Bhinda— a German-based Pro-Khalisatni terrorist also known as Bhinda is a close associate of Bagga.
- Ranjeet Singh alias Neeta— Pakistan based chief of Khalistan Zindabad Force.
- Wadhwa Singh—chief of Babbar Khalsa International (BKI). He is involved in the killing of policemen in Punjaband smuggling of fake Indian currency notes at the behest of Pakistan’s ISI.
- Lakhbir Singh Rode—involved in many terrorist attacks in India and is also associated with smuggling of drugs. His son Bhagat Brar, based in Canada is actively involved in anti-India activities and frequently visits Pakistan for meeting ISI officials for organizing anti–India activities abroad.
- Pramjit Singh Pamma—is UK-based and associated with Babbar Khalsa International (BKI). He is in contact with Pakistan’s ISI and Sikh- based terrorists in Pakistan. He arranges financial assistance to Sikh radicals.
- Paramjit Singh Panjwar— He is based in Lahoreand is the self styled chief of Khalistan Commando Force (KCF). He has been involved with Afghan militants based in Peshawar for the supply of arms, ammunition and training of Sikh militants. He is actively involved in carrying smuggling of drugs.
- Gurpatwant Singh Pannun—associated with the banned organization ‘Sikhs for Justice’, as legal adviser.
- Hardeep Singh Nijjar—A plumber by profession has the link with the the Khalistan Tiger Force.
Peel police arrest Punjab origin men for theft
Recently, Peel Regional Police in Canada arrested more than a dozen people on different charges including mail theft. Most of the arrested individuals are of Punjabi origin. Police said that it had begun a multi-jurisdictional investigation in collaboration with Canada Post last month after scrutinizing more than 100 reports of mail theft between January and April and discovering links to a group of individuals residing in Brampton. The investigators claimed that the accused parties were stealing mail by breaking into Canada post mailboxes or simply grabbing it from roadside residential mailboxes. They would target cheques, credit cards, and identification documents and often altered and deposited the stolen cheques into various banks before withdrawing the funds.
The search warrants were executed at residences in Brampton, resulting in the recovery of hundreds of pieces of mail, including stolen/altered cheques. Police also seized a variety of tools used to forge documents. A total of 16 people were arrested and they are facing more than 140 offences combined, including mail theft, fraud over $5,000 and identity theft. Arrested individuals are Taranjeet Virk, 37, Harmeet Khakh, 28, Gurdip Singh, 28, Harjinder Singh, 31, Gurkamal Mehmi, 38, Gurvinder Kang, 38, Gurpreet Singh, 21, Suhail Kumar, 21, Rattan Preetam, 26, Rupinder Sharma, 25, Joga Singh, 30, Varinderpal Kooner, 43, Harman Singh, 21 and Kuldeep Sandhara, 27. Peel Police are investigating other angles also and more arrests are likely to be made in coming days.