UK Counter-Terrorism Unit Raids Properties Over ‘Extremist Activities’ in India
Sikh Federation UK protested against the raids carried out by the West Midlands Police Counter Terrorism Unit in connection with allegations of extremist activity in India and fraud offences.
Counter-terrorism officers of the West Midlands Police raided some addresses in the United Kingdom on Sept. 18 during investigations into allegations of “extremist activities” and fraud offences in India.
Although the West Midlands Police Counter Terrorism Unit did not release detailed information about the raids, a Sikh organization expressed doubts over the intentions behind the searches, and termed it an attempt to target Sikh activists.
The West Midlands Police tweeted that the addresses raided are located in Coventry, Leicester and Birmingham.
Addresses in #Coventry, #Leicester and #Birmingham searched as part of CTU investigation in connection with allegations of extremist activity in India and fraud offences. https://t.co/4oC0yNoK3Y pic.twitter.com/brcjW4jJYz
— West Midlands Police (@WMPolice) September 18, 2018
“Detectives are searching a number of properties as part of a West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit (WMCTU) investigation. The residential addresses in Coventry, Leicester and Birmingham are being searched today (Tuesday 18 September) by WMCTU with the support of East Midlands Special Operations Unit – Special Branch (EMSOU-SB),” the police said in an official statement.
“The searches are in connection with allegations of extremist activity in India and fraud offences. No-one has been arrested,” the statement added.
The Sikh Federation UK responded to the police action, saying that Indian officers may be present in the United Kingdom to target Sikh activists through the British Police.
The organization claimed that since it is gathering support for its call for Khalistan, it may have raised concerns among Indian authorities.
“We have just held a very successful 35th Annual International Sikh Convention in the West Midlands and Indian police officers here in the UK would have picked up and no doubt raised concerns with the level of support we are receiving during our lobbying and political activity for an independent Sikh State, Khalistan,” the organization said in a statement.
Recently, the messaging app WhatsApp and Twitter blocked the account of Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the legal adviser to the United States-based pro-Khalistan separatist organization, Sikhs For Justice, which organized a pro-Khalistan rally on Aug.12 at London’s Trafalgar square.
The Indian government had lodged its protest over the permission given to SFJ for organizing the pro-Khalistan rally in London. The British government later clarified that permitting a rally to take place did not mean its approval for the cause.
While the SFJ organized a pro-Khalistan march on Aug.12 in London, a pro-India rally was also held at the same time at the venue to counter the separatist group.