In a major setback to India, the Interpol (International Police) has rejected Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s request to issue a Red Corner Notice (RCN) on terror charges against the prominent Khalistan campaigner Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.
The Interpol has confirmed that it rejected India’s request to issue a Red Corner Notice against Pannun, who is the founder and legal advisor for the secessionist group Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) which had spearheaded Khalistan Referendum voting across the UK, Europe and now in Canada.
India had requested Interpol to locate and detain Pannun until his extradition and surrender to India or other legal action.
An RCN is an international document issued by Interpol against wanted persons, requesting law enforcement agencies around the world to trace the person and take him into custody.
Papers seen by The News show that the Interpol Commission — made up of four members from the US, UK, Lebanon and Morocco — rejected the Indian request for a Red Notice against Pannun, finding that the Indian allegations were essentially political or religious and lacked evidence of any crime.
This means that India will not be allowed to use the Interpol system to generate Red Notices requesting the arrest and extradition of Pannun for his legitimate human rights and separatist activities including the Khalistan Referendum campaign that he has been running.
The Interpol commission’s decision represents an important recognition of the legality of the Referendum 2020 campaign and supports the freedom of expression for Sikhs to promote an independent Khalistan so long as it continues to be done through peaceful and democratic means.
India has been targeting the separatist for several years. India had argued that Pannun was engaged in a criminal conspiracy to revive terrorism in Punjab, assassinate political leaders, and promote an unlawful secessionist agenda.