Babbar Khalsa International
Even after the terrorist-secessionist movement for Khalistan was comprehensively defeated in 1993, there remain a handful of terrorist outfits chiefly supported by Pakistan and some non-resident Indian Sikh groups who continue to propagate the ideology of Khalistan. One of the most prominent among them is the Babbar Khalsa International (BKI). It is among the oldest and most organised Khalistan terrorist groups.
The BKI traces its origin to the Babbar Akali Movement of 1920 and is believed to have assumed its present form after the Baisakhi 1978-clashes between the Akhand Kirtani Jatha and Nirankaris and more particularly when some followers of Bibi Amarjit Kaur brought out some leaflets styling themselves as Babbar Khalsa after the killing of Nirankari chief Gurbachan Singh, on April 24, 1980. Subsequently, the outfit started targeting all those who sympathised with the Nirankaris.
Sukhdev Singh Babbar and Talwinder Singh Parmar were the founding members of this organisation. The first unit of the BKI was founded in Canada in 1981 under the leadership of late Talwinder Singh Parmar. The outfit at present is active in the USA Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Belgium, Norway, Switzerland and Pakistan. Talwinder Singh Parmar, a co-founder of the BKI, formed the Babbar Khalsa (Parmar) faction in 1992, when he split from the BKI after serious differences erupted between him and its leadership of. The Parmar faction has a presence in the UK, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland.
The BKI wants an independent Sikh state called Khalistan.
Organisation and leadership
Currently, Wadhwa Singh, who is reportedly hiding in Pakistan, heads the outfit. Mehal Singh is the deputy chief of BKI. Both of them are among the 20 terrorists whom India wants Pakistan to extradite.
Wadhwa Singh is reported to have personally supervised the assassination of Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh on August 31, 1995. He is also believed to have masterminded the January 2004 escape of the assassination-accused, Jagtar Singh Hawara, from the Burail jail in Chandigarh.
Available evidence suggests that the Babbar Khalsa is part of a terrorist network sponsored by Germany-based terrorist groups as well as Pakistan’s external intelligence agency—the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI)—to revive terrorism in the Indian Punjab.
Media reports in August 2001 said a joint committee was formed in Germany to coordinate the activities of major terrorist organisatoins abroad. Gurdial Singh Lalli of the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF), Resham Singh of Babbar Khalsa and Harmeet Singh of Kamagata Maru Dal of Khalistan are the prominent leaders of this committee. The ISI is also reportedly keen on forging coordination between Khalistani terrorists, terrorists operating in Jammu and Kashmir and some fundamentalist groups.
Interestingly, the Pakistan government appointed Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Javed Nasir, a former chief of the ISI, as the Chairman of Pakistan Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (PGPC), the body that administers Sikh shrines in Pakistan. The PGPC was formed in 1999. According to intelligence reports, Sikh terrorists camping in Pakistan are working under the direct supervision of General Nasir. Media reports in April 2002 said the ISI has entrusted the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) with the task of reviving terrorism in Punjab. The LeT will impart arms training to groups like the BKI, the ISYF and the Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF). Reports also said the LeT has opened at least eight camps in Pakistan to train the Khalistanis. These are at Kot Lakhpat, Chakwal, Gujranwala, Mianwali, Peshawar, Attock, Shahidan Da Banga and Gulbarg in Lahore.
Available evidence also suggests that the BKI has established a nexus with Dawood Ibrahim, the fugitive Indian underworld kingpin residing now in Karachi. The terrorists were liasoning with the Dawood Ibrahim gang in Mumbai through whom they disposed of stolen cars and trucks to amass money, which was then sent to Wadhwa Sigh for procuring arms and ammunition.
Some reports have indicated that efforts were made by the ISI to help the BKI establish bases in China, but these initiatives were reportedly thwarted by the Chinese, who were not enthused by the project.
Reports in February 2004 indicated that India has initiated efforts to secure the return of Mehal Singh from the French capital Paris. One of the two principal leaders of the group, he is alleged to have left for France from Pakistan during the later part of 2003. Official sources said that his decision to leave Pakistan was influenced by differences with Wadhwa Singh.
Wadhwa Singh's son-in-law Satnam Singh Malian operates from Germany, deflecting surveillance from the former.