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Net Campaign Calls for Sikh Youth Terrorist Wing

Although the tone of Kim Bolan's story and its front page placement border on sensationalism, the report does manage to reveal the kinds of destructive initiatives being undertaken by misguided Sikhs.

The Vancouver Sun, Jul. 19, 2004

Photo: Front Page, The Vancouver Sun, July 19, 2004.

A group purporting to be a new version of the banned Babbar Khalsa terrorist group is recruiting on the Internet, The Vancouver Sun has learned. An apparently Canada-based e-mail to a chatroom hosted by Waheguroo, a network of Sikh websites, invites anyone over 18 to apply with phone number and home country to join the 'Younger Babbar Khalsa [Shaheed Talwinder Singh Parmar branch].'

Parmar, a former Burnaby resident who founded the Babbar Khalsa, was an Air India bombing suspect when he was killed in the custody of Punjab police in 1992.

The e-mail writer, who identifies himself as Harmanjit Singh Khalsa, said it is difficult to get the Sikh separatist movement fired up again now that the Congress party-led Indian government has appointed a Sikh, Manmohan Singh, as prime minister.

Khalsa, who asks interested parties to e-mail him at his Yahoo address in Canada, suggests waiting for the Hindu-led B.J.P. to take power again for 'the movement to start again from the ground.'

In the meantime, he says, 'what we can do is get those responsible for attacks on Sikhs during the militant days.'

One of the people named is K.P.S. Gill. The former head of Punjab police worked to rid the state of Sikh separatists with an aggressive campaign in 1992 that saw many leaders, including Parmar, captured and killed. In another series of e-mails on the same website, several people talk of what they can do to kill Gill, who is retired and lives in Delhi.

The Younger Babbar Khalsa recruitment drive sparked several responses, including some from people skeptical about the new group.

One respondent who last fall offered online criticism of the Crown's star witness in the Air India case said the person recruiting for the new Babbar Khalsa 'is either stupid or ignorant.'

'You will be getting e-mails from agents, or you could be an agent,' said Manjot Singh Khalsa. 'This shows your level of innocence and naivety. It doesn't work like this.'

Another e-mail warns 'do NOT advertise organizations that are outlawed in the country from where this forum operates.' Another respondent said forming groups like Babbar Khalsa was not the way to go.

'Best thing we can do now is take advantage of the wonderful opportunities given to us in countries like the U.K., America and Canada - go to university, become educated, and fight on a new level,' the writer said. 'Instead of starting these wannabe Babbar groups, we should be supporting groups like Dal Khalsa, Council of Khalistan, Khalistani Affairs Centre [sic], etc.'

Khalsa did not respond to e-mailed question.

The Babbar Khalsa was banned several years ago in the U.S. and United Kingdom. It was only outlawed last year in Canada, despite the fact that leading members were suspects in the 1985 Air India bombing.

Parmar was believed to be the mastermind of the blast, which killed 329 people, and a same-day fatal bombing at Tokyo's Narita Airport. C.S.I.S. official Nicole Currier said said she would look into the e-mail.