The call, made by SFJ’s general counsel Gurpatwant Pannun, follows the filing of charges against him and the organization by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act on November 20.
Air India SFJ Picket
“Pannun’s assertions and threats have prompted heightened vigilance and investigations by security forces in Canada, India, and other countries served by Air India,” stated a release from NIA.
Despite Pannun reaffirming the ‘boycott’ call against Air India, travel agents contacted by the Hindustan Times have reported no significant impact on Air India’s bookings in Canada so far.
Earlier this month, he released a video cautioning Sikhs in Punjabi, stating, ‘Don’t fly Air India after November 19, your lives may be in danger,’ a sentence reiterated twice.
Alongside the video, Pannun issued a statement calling for a ‘Global blockade’ of the airline from Vancouver to London. In a subsequent statement on Thursday, Pannun clarified that he was ‘calling for a boycott’ of the airline and not issuing a threat.
Security Increased at Airports
Nevertheless, India’s High Commission in Ottawa formally raised the threat with the Canadian government, triggering investigations by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Canada’s Transport Ministry. Security measures for Air India flights at Canadian airports have been heightened in response.
The focus on Air India echoes the circumstances leading to the worst act of terrorism in Canadian history. The bombing of Air India Flight 182, the Kanishka, on June 23, 1985, by Khalistani terrorists resulted in the loss of 329 lives. Additionally, two baggage handlers at Tokyo’s Narita airport died from a bomb blast on another airplane.
This tragic event is commemorated in Canada as the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism. However, certain extremist groups continue to honor Talwinder Singh Parmar, considered the mastermind of the attack.
In June this year, pro-Khalistan elements organized a rally in his memory at the memorial for victims of the Air India terror attack in Toronto.
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