UK Police Raids Linked to British National’s Arrest in India, Says Sikh Group

The raids were conducted by counter-terrorism units in the West-Midlands and Leicester in connection with “extremist activity in India and fraud offences.”


The raids conducted by the UK police last week over “extremist activities” and fraud offences in India were linked to the arrest of British national Jagtar Singh Johal, and were conducted at India’s behest, a Sikh group has said.  

“These raids appear not to have been based on evidence-based intelligence but have been carried out to demonstrate to the Indian authorities the UK is willing to help take actions against Sikh activists,” Sikh Federation UK said in a statement.

The raids were conducted at addresses in Coventry, Leicester and Birmingham on Sept. 18, a day after the Sikh Federation UK held a pro-Khalistan event in Willenhall town of West Midlands county. While no arrests were made during the raid, electronic equipment were taken away by the West Midlands Police counter-terrorism unit. 

“We know the police officers used heavy handed techniques, have made several fundamental mistakes that lawyers have picked up on and action will be taken against police officers, especially the way they treated the families involved,” Bhai Amrik Singh of the organization said, the Hindustan Times reported. “Following comments of Punjab Police officers the Sikh community and lawyers are in no doubt these raids are linked to a search for evidence against Jagtar Singh Johal.”

Johal, a  31-year-old British national, was arrested in India in November 2017 by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for his alleged links with the murder of RSS leader Ravinder Gosain in Punjab.  

The Sikh federation has said Johal was being denied “unfettered” British consular access, and prevented from receiving an independent medical examination. The federation has also claimed that Johal has been tortured alive during interrogations by the Indian police.  

“The raids by around 70 police officers lasting 12-36 hours not only targeted Sikh activists, but their elderly and disabled parents and young children who have been left traumatized and suffering from nightmares,” the group said.

The group has now hired British lawyer Gareth Pierce to represent them.  

Labor MP Preet Kaur Gill, who is also the chair of All Party Parliamentary Group for British Sikhs, said she would discuss the matter with Home Secretary Sajid Javid. Gill said that the raids can be linked to the political motives of targeting activists who have raised their voice about the 1984 “Sikh genocide” issue.

Earlier this year, UK politicians such as Preet Kaur Gill, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi and Martin Docherty-Hughes had raised the issue of Johal’s detention in India during a debate in the UK Parliament’s Westminster Hall.

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