Punjabi youths offered free London tickets to attend separatists' rally: Minister
Chandigarh, Aug 10 (PTI) Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal today said a UK-based group advocating an independent Sikh homeland has been offering free tickets to Punjabi youths to take part in a rally in London.
The minister said the group was linked to Pakistan's Inter Service's Intelligence, and urged Punjabi youngsters not to fall prey to its designs.
India has already conveyed to the UK its unhappiness over that country's decision to allow Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) to hold the August 12 rally in support of a "referendum".
"SFJ is wooing youths with free visits to London to participate in the so-called London Declaration function which is aimed at splitting Punjab from India," the minister said in a statement here.
She said it seems unsuspecting youths are being brainwashed by the SFJ campaign and are unaware about the organisation's close links with the ISI.
The Food Processing Industries Minister, who is an MP from Punjab, said the Pakistani agency is funding the organisation under a secret mission codenamed 'Operation Express'.
She said the SFJ is wooing youths on the internet with free tickets and accommodation in London.
She claimed there is credible proof that allurements are being offered to them through websites managed from Karachi by the ISI.
The minister urged central agencies to keep a close watch on the SFJ's internet activity, saying recent disclosures had linked its website as well as the Referendum 2020 website created by it with a Pakistan-based site.
She said even websites of SFJ leaders like Gurpatwant Pannu were linked to the Pakistani website.
"While Pannu and others have always denied their links with Pakistan, they have apparently exposed themselves by failing to cover up their links online," she said.
She urged parents to keep a watch on their children and ensure they do not fall prey to Pakistan's efforts to take Punjab back to the dark days of terrorism.
"Punjabis should reject the tickets being offered by SFJ as they are clearly Pak-sponsored," she added.
It has also been revealed, the minister alleged, that the people funding Referendum 2020 were also funding the 'jathedars' supported by the Congress government in Punjab.
She demanded an immediate inquiry into the "foreign funding" being received by the 'sarkari jathedars', and action against the SFJ's fronts in Punjab.
PTI VSD PTI ASH
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)