Tribune News Service
New Delhi, Jan 16
Anti-terror federal probe agency NIA has sent notices to over a dozen farm leaders, Sikh activists and journalists from Punjab, who are associated with the protest against Centre’s three farm laws, to appear before it as witnesses in a case pertaining to Sikhs for Justice (a banned outfit) legal adviser Gurpatwant Singh Pannun and his other associates.
The move, among the protesting farmers, is seen as an attempt by the government to derail the agitation by intimidation.
The farmer representatives, who held the ninth round of negotiations with the government on Friday, took strong exception and registered their objections to the notices being sent.
Earlier four persons were sent notices, including a Ludhiana-based bus operator, a nut bolt manufacturer and a cable operator.
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It is learnt from sources in the agency that the NIA had served summons on over a dozen individuals, including Punjabi actor Deep Siddhu’s brother Mandeep Singh Siddhu through WhatsApp. They have been asked to appear before it on different dates from January 17 to 19.
A source in the NIA said, “The notices have been sent in connection with a case registered by the agency in Delhi on December 15, 2020, under the provisions of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), sedition, criminal conspiracy and other charges against SFJ’s legal adviser Pannun and his associates, including UK resident Paramjit Singh Pamma and Canadian resident Hardeep Singh Nijjar among others.”
“The notices are sent under Section 160 of the CrPC to call them as witnesses in the case, as those who are being summoned appeared acquainted with the circumstances of the case and asked them to appear before the investigating officer (IO) for examination,” said the source.
Confirming the list of persons, who have been sent notices, sources in the agency said they included Jasveer Singh, a resident of Muktsar, who had been working with a Sikh channel; commentator and journalist Baltej Pannu from Patiala; Karnail Singh Dasuha from Hoshiarpur; Surinder Singh Thikriwal from Barnala; Inderpal Singh Judge from Ludhiana; Nobeljit Singh from Hoshiarpur; Palwinder Singh from Amarkot; Pardeep Singh from Ludhiana; Paramjit Singh Akali from Amritsar; and Ranjit Singh Damdami Mint from Amritsar.