Gurpatwant Singh Pannun murder plot: India slams Washington Post’s ‘unwarranted’ report

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India on Tuesday reacted sharply to a report by The Washington Post on the alleged assassination plot of Sikh separatist leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in the US.

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun is one of the main leaders of the Khalistan movement and spokesperson for Sikhs for Justice. (AP)

Describing the report as “unwarranted and unsubstantiated”, official spokesperson of the ministry of external affairs Randhir Jaiswal said, “There is an ongoing investigation of the High Level Committee set up by the Government of India to look into the security concerns shared by the US government on networks of organised criminals, terrorists and others. Speculative and irresponsible comments on it are not helpful.”

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The statement by the MEA came amid an “investigative” report by The Washington Post claiming that a RAW official, identified as Vikram Yadav, was involved in the assassination plot of Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in the US, and the move was approved by the then Indian spy agency chief Samant Goel.

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, one of the main leaders of the Khalistan movement, is the legal advisor and spokesperson for Sikhs for Justice, which aims to promote the idea of a separate Sikh state. The Indian government has declared Gurpatwant Singh Pannun a terrorist.

US reacts to Washington Post report on Pannun

The White House, meanwhile, on Monday said India is taking the allegations regarding the assassination plot of Gurpatwant Singh Pannun seriously. It, however, refrained from commenting on the FBI probe into the matter and the criminal case filed by the Department of Justice, news agency PTI reported.

Replying to questions on the report by The Washington Post, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said an investigation was underway and the department of justice (DOJ) was running a criminal investigation.

“So anything specific to that I would have to refer you to the DOJ,” Karine Jean-Pierre said.

She asserted that India is an important strategic partner of the United States and “we are pursuing an ambitious agenda to expand our cooperation in several areas”, PTI reported.

About the news report, Jean-Pierre added, “We have been really consistent about that and have laid that out multiple times, whether it’s a meeting here with the prime minister or a meeting abroad.”

“This is a serious matter and we are taking that very very seriously. The government of India has been very clear with us that they are taking this seriously and will investigate,” Jean-Pierre said.

“We expect accountability from the government based on that. But we are going to continue to raise our concerns. That’s not going to stop. We’re going to continue to raise our concerns directly, with the Indian government,” the press secretary added.

The alleged plot to kill Pannun in the US coincided with the June 18 fatal shooting of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey in Canada’s British Columbia province in June last year.

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