NEW DELHI: The Indian government has banned Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) for its involvement in several killings, bombings and other terror activities during its violent campaign for “secession of Punjab”. The decision to ban the outfit under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) comes in the backdrop of agencies unearthing several KLF modules in recent months, leading to apprehensions that it is attempting to revive militancy in the state.
An order from the Home Ministry said the Khalistan Liberation Force and all its manifestations have been declared outlawed under the UAPA, adding it will be the 40th organisation to be proscribed under this law. Officials also said during the height of militancy in Punjab in 1980s and 1990s, the group was involved in a series of unlawful activities. The ban on KLF has been imposed as it is involved in “killing of innocent people and police officers, several bombings on civilian targets in India, collection of funds for terror activities through extortion, kidnappings, bank robberies and assassination attempts of important government functionaries.”
The Ministry maintained that five-member KLF module was busted by the Punjab Police, which resulted in working out the two cases relating to planting of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in Nabha, Punjab. Another KLF module was busted in Gurudaspur district and four terrorists were arrested with illegal arms and ammunition. The order said they were planning to target Pathankot based leaders of a particular political party. A different KLF module was busted by Amritsar Police and three KLF terrorists were arrested, who were planning to target prominent members of a particular community, so as to disrupt communal harmony in Punjab.
The KLF came into existence in 1986 with the objective of establishing an independent Khalistan by secession of Punjab from India “through violent means”, the order said. It added, “The KLF has committed acts of terrorism and promoting acts of terrorism and has been engaged in radicalisation and recruitment of youth for terrorists activities in India.”
The Home Ministry said the Jalandhar Police also busted a KLF and Khalistan Zindabad Force module of four members and arrested the chief of KLF along with illegal arms and ammunition in 2014. It said the outfit is getting financial and logistic support from their handlers based abroad and believes that the KLF is involved in terrorism as it has committed and participated in various acts of terrorism in the country.