A prominent New York-based pro-Khalistan leader has denounced India for reportedly plotting to kill him on U.S. soil, saying the move was “a challenge to American sovereignty” with the hope that the Biden administration will respond to it.
“The attempted assassination plot that has been uncovered by the FT (Financial Times), and to which the Biden administration has given its statement, is not about me anymore,” Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who is a lawyer with the ‘Sikhs for Justice’ (SfJ), an advocacy group, said in exclusive interview with Time, the mass-circulation American magazine.
“It is a challenge to American sovereignty. It is a threat to freedom of speech and democracy in America itself. But I’ll let U.S. authorities speak more on this,” he said, insisting he was fighting India’s violence with votes — a reference to SfJ’s referendum for independence.
As for his work, Pannun said he is motivated by one goal: “I wanted to pursue the right of the Sikh community to self-determination.”
The alleged plot, which targeted Pannun, was thwarted following an intervention by the US authorities, the FT reported last Wednesday, citing multiple people familiar with the case.
“I am an American, and if somebody is trying to assassinate me, I think it is the responsibility of the Biden administration and U.S. authorities to do something,” Pannun said.
“We will be watching how [the Biden administration] will react. Do they value business, or do they value democracy? Do they value human rights, or a rogue state like India, which has already proved that it will use terror and violence and that it is not a trusted partner?”
On its part, White House Spokesperson Adrienne Watson said Washington had raised the issue with the Indian government, including “at the senior-most levels”.__Daily Times