India anti-terror agency seizes properties of alleged Khalistan militant

Pro-independence Khalistan flags are seen at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara temple, site of the June 2023 killing of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada September 20, 2023. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's federal anti-terror agency on Saturday said it confiscated the properties of an alleged Khalistani militant whom it accuses of terror activities in India, as tensions with Canada grow over Sikh separatists.

The seizure of a house and land owned by Gurpatwant Singh Pannu in India's northern state of Punjab "comes as a big boost to the country’s crackdown on the terror and secessionist network being operated from various countries, including Canada," a statement issued by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said.

Tensions between India and Canada escalated after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday there were "credible allegations" linking Indian government agents to the murder in Canada in June of a Sikh separatist leader campaigning for the creation of an independent Sikh homeland called "Khalistan".

Following the diplomatic standoff between the two countries, videos of Pannu threatening Indian Hindus to leave Canada surfaced on social media platform 'X' (formerly Twitter).

The anti-terror agency had registered a case against the alleged militant in 2019 for spreading fear and terror in Punjab and other parts of the country.

NIA issued non-bailable warrants of arrest against Pannu in February 2021 and he was declared a ‘Proclaimed Offender (PO)' in November last year.

(Reporting by Sarita Chaganti Singh; editing by Clelia Oziel)

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