New Delhi: A letter purporting to be from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs and warning against growing Khalistani extremism in India and abroad is fake, a report by the Hindustan Times claimed on Tuesday. The news site quoted government officials close to the matter who said there was suspected external influence in the letter's creation, notably Pakistan.
The officials quoted by the Hindustan Times said that the letter, which has been going viral on social media, was never issued by the MEA but may have been crafted by Pakistani elements to foment dissent within India, especially in the wake of farmers protests against the three repealed farm laws.
Last month, reports said an alert was issued after an intelligence input said banned terrorist organisation Sikh for Justice (SFJ) can gherao the Parliament House and hoist the Khalistan flag on it. Intelligence agencies asked authorities, including the Delhi Police, to remain on alert and make elaborate security arrangements around Parliament. Sikh for Justice's Gurpatwant Singh Pannu released a video on YouTube, appealing to farmers to gherao Parliament and hoist the Khalistani flag during the Winter Session of Parliament and promised a cash reward of $125,000 for anyone who could manage it.
The US-based pro-Khalistani organisation has already come under fire for a referendum held in October, in Westminister which sought public opinion on the formation of a separate Khalistan from India. Fake voter data was used to push bogus results according to officials. UK police raided the office of Sikhs for Justice located in Hounslow on November 15. The Metropolitan Police took away all electronic devices and documents pertaining to the so-called referendum held by the SFJ.
ISI links to the Khalistan movement have been well-documented, with Pakistani influence in the glorification of the cause around the globe. Pakistan's opening of the Khartarpur corridor for Sikh pilgrims to visit the holy site of Gurudwara Shri Kartarpur Sahib, located in Shakargarh in Pakistan's Punjab province has also been seen as a way to influence Indian Sikhs. The project, inaugurated in August, was the brainchild of Pakistani Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.