Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

Home Whats New  Trans State Nation  One World Unfolding Consciousness Comments Search

Jain Commission Interim Report

Threats to Rajiv Gandhi and his Security
Chapter I

Sections 5 to 8

5 Threats emanating from Sri Lankan Tamil militant elements other than LTTE, Sinhala extremists and hostile sections of Sri Lankan government | 6 Extremist Sinhala elements and hostile sections of Sri Lankan government | 7 Threat perception from Punjab extremists | 8 Threats from Punjab Extremists based in foreign countries

Threats emanating from Sri Lanka Tamil militant elements other than LTTE, Sinhala extremists and hostile sections of Sri Lankan government.

 4.29 On 3rd. November, 1988, an attempt to forcibly overthrow the Government of Maldives by Sri Lankan militant elements who were suspected to be mercenaries was foiled by the timely intervention of the Indian Navy at the instance of Prime Minister Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. The reaction of the Government of Maldives to this gesture of the Government of India can be gauged from the following excerpt of the book "My Presidential Years" written by former President of India, Shri. R. Venkataraman :-

 (Page 251)

"President Gayoom of Maldives, Chairman, SAARC, came to Delhi on a working visit for two days. During the discussions,(8.12.88) Gayoom expressed profound thanks for India's quick and generous intervention in aborting the coup in his country on November 3rd. 1988. Gayoom explained that what occurred on November 3rd. was not a coup by dissident groups within the country but by mercenaries who were mostly Sri Lankan Terrorists."

This development, understandably, gave rise to another cause for hostility against Shri. Rajiv Gandhi in the minds of a section of Sri Lankan Tamil militant elements. This development had security implications for Shri. Rajiv Gandhi, especially from the point of view of his visits to Tamil Nadu. This threat perception was conveyed to the Director, SPG, by the Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW). Relevant excerpts are reproduced below :-

(CAB. DO NO. 3/8/88-IS-3281 DT. 7.11.88.) (Annexure T-32)


2. ".......preliminary reports indicate that some of those who had participated in the recent raid by a group/mercenaries on the Maldives in order to overthrow the Government of President Gayoom belong to the People's Liberation Organisation for Tamil Eelam (PLOT) which came into existence in 1980 following differences within the LTTE. While there is so far no evidence of the involvement of the PLOT as an organisation in the recent events in the Maldives, some elements belonging to the PLOT would appear to have been involved.

3. PLOT is led by Uma Maheshwaran @ Mukundan. It has a political front called the Democratic People's Liberation Front headed by Siddarthan as President and one Ram as Secretary. The PLOT is presently reportedly facing differences within the leadership with the one section of the leaders like Siddarthan and Vetrichelvan advocating a pro-India stance while others like Uma Maheshwaran himself advocate a tilt towards the Sri Lankan Government. Its main source of income in the past was from the smuggling of drugs and it has links with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Ever since his return to Colombo in October 1987, Uma Maheshwaran has maintained closed links with the Sri Lankan authorities particularly with Lalith Athulathmudali the minister for National Security, and it is generally believed that despite its overt stance of supporting the cause of Tamils, it is allowing itself to be used by the Sri Lankan authorities as a tool to serve their interests.

4. Because of the assistance rendered by the Govt. of India to the Government of President Gayoom in dealing with the mercenaries, security arrangements during the PM's forthcoming visit to Tamil Nadu would have to take into account the possibility of any reprisal attempts by supporters/sympathisers of the PLOT who may be in South India as well as from any anti-Gayoom elements amongst Maldivian students studying in South India. ....."

Extremist Sinhala elements and hostile sections of Sri Lankan government

4.30 After the signing of the Indo Sri Lankan Accord, Intelligence Agencies had identified certain Sinhala extremist elements of Sri Lanka which were likely to pose a threat to then Prime Minister Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. The fanatic Sinhala organisations, who were perceived to be in the forefront of anti- Rajiv Gandhi campaign in Sri Lanka were Janavadi Vimukti Paramuna (JVP) and the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) as well as Sinhala chauvinistic elements of the ruling UNP owing allegiance to leaders like the former Prime Minister Premadasa and Cyril Mathews. The JVP had, all along, been strongly opposed to the presence of the IPKF in Sri Lanka and to the proposed merger of the Northern and Eastern provinces. In protest, the organisation was indulging in violent activities in Southern Sri Lanka and campaigning against the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord. In one notable instance in August 1987, the JVP exploded a bomb in a high-security area where President Jayawardene was holding a meeting with his Cabinet colleagues. Some of the JVP elements were suspected to be in contact with the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) which had also been strongly opposed to the Indo- Sri Lanka accord.

4.31 The Buddhist clergy in Sri Lanka had shown a readiness to adopt violent means, if necessary, to have its point of view enforced. Members of the Buddhist clergy had often played a role in instigating acts of violence against the Tamils and other non-Buddhist segments of the local population. The Buddhist clergy has been strongly opposed to the Indo-Sri Lanka agreement and to the continuance of the IPKF in the Northern and Eastern provinces.

4.32 On the occasion of the proposed visit of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi to Sri Lanka during 1988, our Intelligence agencies apprehended a threat (Annexure T-18)also from some sections of the local administration, security forces and intelligence agencies, which had been harbouring an unfavourable attitude towards India lately due to the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord and with the continued presence of the IPKF in the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka.

After the induction of the IPKF in Sri Lanka, during the early phases, it was reported that 250 army privates and some officers had been taken into custody by the Sri Lankan Military Police and detained in an army prison on allegations that they had openly been criticising the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord and portraying the JVP in a favourable light and appealing to the army personnel to join the JVP. They had also been reportedly promoting the image of Premdasa, Lalith Athulathmudali and Mrs. Bandaranayike.

4.33 After Premadasa became the President of Sri Lanka and initiated talks with the LTTE in 1989, several intelligence reports were received showing collusion between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Government. This aspect, which pertains to those terms of reference of the Commission which are not under consideration at this stage, is only being touched upon here due to its limited relevance to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi's threat perception from these quarters. Intelligence reports of 1989 indicated that the collusion between the Sri Lankan Government and LTTE became discernible since September, 1989. This collusion significantly included supply of arms and ammunition by Sri Lankan Government to the LTTE to fight the IPKF and the rival factions including the elected EPRLF Government in NE provinces, use of Sri Lankan Army helicopters to transport arms etc. and support in setting up LTTE bases in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka.

These developments in Sri Lanka were rightly perceived as having a direct bearing on threat perception to the security of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi.

(UO NOTE NO.3/5/88-VS-DATED 21.07.1988)( Exh. CGW 152, R&AW UO No. 1/17-A/89 SLM 346 - 6059 dt. 24 Nov. 1989)(Annexure T-34)

Threat perception from Punjab extremists

5 Punjab extremists posed an extremely grave threat to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. The efforts of these elements to cause harm to him were consistent, determined, overt, persistent and pervasive. It is seen that threat to Rajiv Gandhi came as much from the Punjab extremists operating in India as from those based in various foreign countries of the world. The links of these extremists with their counterparts in Pakistan and the dubious role of the Intelligence and Security Agencies of Pakistan added a new dimension to the security perception. Threat perception assessments made by the Indian Intelligence Agencies disclose that the hostility of the Sikh extremist and secessionist elements towards Shri. Rajiv Gandhi began even before he became the Prime Minister and continued even after he ceased to hold the office of the Prime Minister. This shows that the threat perception to the security of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi was not linked only to the position he held as Prime Minister but was much more deep rooted and endemic.

5.1 The genesis of the hostility of Sikh extremist elements towards the Gandhi family in general and Shri. Rajiv Gandhi in particular has been dealt with earlier. In this context, a field report of the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau, Chandigarh, also becomes relevant. In this report, the animus of the Sikh extremists towards the Gandhi family has been reiterated. The repeated emphasis on this aspect of the threat to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi by various units of the Intelligence Bureau goes to show that one of the major underlying factors of the theme of animosity of the hostile Sikh elements towards Shri. Rajiv Gandhi was that he was the son of Smt. Indira Gandhi and was an endorser of her decisions which were perceived to be anti Sikh. The report of the SIB, Chandigarh, which was furnished soon after the defeat of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi in the General elections of 1989, inter-alia, states that :-

(Teleprinter Message No3676 dated 12.12.89 from CREMO Chandigarh to CRIMINARE New Delhi)(Annexure T-35)

"....It is well known that Shri Rajiv Gandhi former Prime Minister and his family member have been under consistent and almost perpetual threat from the Sikh extremists(.)

The Akali Dal which has been the Principal Sikh Political Party in Punjab, has maintained over the years a campaign against the Centre through morchas(.) It was in the early 1980's that the Sikh militants working under the banner of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale joined such anti Centre campaigns(.) However, until then such campaigns were not personalised and only constituted a political effort to upstage the Congress (I) at the Centre. The complexion of this, however, changed in the wake of Operation Blue Star with widespread propagation of their involvement that late Smt. Indira Gandhi was personally responsible for desecration of the Golden Temple Complex (.)

Her assassination brought into sharp focus the extent of resentment among alienated sikhs against the Gandhi family(.) The Anti-Sikh riots that followed alleged justification of the same by Shri Rajiv Gandhi and retention of the Union Cabinet /other positions of authority of persons who were alleged to have played an active role in the above riots were all taken by the militants as indicators of Anti-Sikh attitude of Shri.Rajiv Gandhi(.) The hanging of Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh had only consolidated this perception(.)

Shri. Rajiv Gandhi and his family during the former's tenure as the Prime Minister had continued receiving threatening letters which indicated the depth of animosity retained against him (.) Various intelligence reports received from sources/ contacts not only amongst the extremists but political parties as well, also indicated the extent of their hatred for Shri Rajiv Gandhi(.) Almost all the Sikh militant groups including various factions of KCF, BTKF,KLF, Babbar Khalsa, ISYF etc had also at one point of time or the other expressed their desire to mount an attack on him (.) The constant effort on the part of the certain militants to procure latest arms and equipment including stinger missiles was also perhaps influenced by this consideration(.) Reports indicated various types of planning including utilisation of suicide squad to either make an attack on the PM or ram a vehicle loaded with explosives into his carcade or house, aerial bombing of his residence, shooting, use of explosive devices of various nature, etc. The incident of the Rajghat on October 2, 1986 also indicates the determination on the part of not only of the organised militant groups but even some stray Sikhs who nurtured some grievance against the former Prime Minister. "

5.1.1 This perception of the Intelligence Bureau was confirmed by the former Joint Director, Intelligence Bureau, Shri. K.N. Thakur, who deposed before the Commission on 8th May, 1989 that :-

"Sikh extremists were annoyed with Shri Rajiv Gandhi also for Operation Blue Star and for November, 1984 riots. Threats to Shri Rajiv Gandhi continued from Sikh extremists from 1986 to 1989."

Similarly, deposing before the Commission on 18th April, 1996, Shri. V.G. Vaidya, former Director, Intelligence Bureau, also admitted that :-

"I am aware of the fact that Sikh militants were hostile to Shri Rajiv Gandhi after the assassination of Smt. Indira Gandhi......... November 1984 riots followed the assassination of Smt. Indira Gandhi. Riots followed within a few hours of the assassination. November riots further increased the hostility of Sikhs towards Shri Rajiv Gandhi."

Former Director Intelligence Bureau, Shri. M.K. Narayanan has also deposed on this subject as follows :-

Deposition of Shri. M.K. Narayanan dt. 2.11.1995 Page 2

"From time to time there were reports that terrorists (Sikhs) wanted to eliminate dynasty of Smt. Indira Gandhi including Rajiv Gandhi."

Deposing before the Commission on 3rd. April, 1996, Shri. B.G. Deshmukh, former Cabinet Secretary, and also Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister also corroborated the same view :-

(Page 7 -8) "Threat to the life of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi continued to be immense after the assassination of Indira Gandhi....1984 riots resulted into increase of animosity to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi by Sikh militants....After November 1984 riots there were activities of Sikh militants abroad against Shri. Rajiv Gandhi and also against his family members. Such reports continued pouring in till I remained in office and they continued till he was assassinated as per newspaper reports. Such reports poured in from various countries. I can specify Canada, united States and London."

5.2 The reports of the Intelligence Bureau of the period give an insight on the constant and determined efforts being made by Sikh extremists within the country to harm Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. Reports in early 1988, inter alia, indicated :-

-- It was learnt that Daljit Singh of the Khalistan Commando Force (KCF) visited Delhi in the first week of January 1988 with some other top leaders including Sukhdev Singh @ Gen. Labh Singh, Sukhwinder Singh @ Sukhi and Kanwaljit Singh to plan some spectacular action.

-- Khalistan Commando Force(KCF) had, by then, reportedly, procured four 2" mortars, 2 rocket launchers, 20 shoulder firing missiles and two 115 mm mortar guns from Pakistan. There were also reports which indicated the possession of a sizeable quantity of SMG's /stenguns, some LMGs and many assorted small weapons besides more than 150 Chinese made AK-47 rifles. (Annexure T- 40)

-- Panthic Committee member Wassan Singh Jaffarwal had visited Pakistan in Nov.-Dec.1987 and requested Pakistani authorities to send infiltrators in the guise of Hindus to plan the assassination of the PM, Shri. Rajiv Gandhi.

-- Panthic Committee had instructed the Members of the Khalistan Council living abroad to approach the Govt. of Israel to hire the services of Israeli commandos for attacking VIPs in India and abroad."

-- Some extremists belonging to Labh Singh group of KCF planned to blow up the aeroplane in which the Prime Minister or some other VIPs travel with sophisticated weapons procured from Canada (Annexure S-43)

-- BTKF activists were in high spirits particularly after the adoption of their new strategy to kill police informers and their family members. One activist remarked that their goal would be achieved only after liquidation of a senior most leader like the former Prime Minister

-- In May, 1988, it was learnt that a Sikh extremist, namely, Gurbax Singh Sahota @ Budha ....had come to Punjab to assassinate Shri. Rajiv Gandhi(Annexure S-43)

5.3 The Intelligence Bureau, in April 1988, summed up the situation as follows :(Annexure T-36)

"From the point of VIP security the situation continues to be grim. Several reports received recently affirm the determination of Sikh extremists to cause harm to the Prime Minister and other VIPs. Bruce Palling of 'Independent' newspaper of London has given out that during his visit to Amritsar on March 29, Sikh teenagers with weapons concealed on their persons asserted their determination to kill the Prime Minister. John Eliot, a correspondent of the Financial Times who visited Amritsar in the first week of April said that Giani Jagir Singh of golden Temple asserted that 'we will kill Rajiv and Ribeiro'. The use of RPG-7 rockets in Punjab has added a new dimension to the threat situation. The recovery of large caches of sophisticated arms including AK-47 rifles, rockets and explosive devices indicate the increase in the number and quality of weapons in the possession of extremists. AK-47 which earlier was available to the leaders of the hit squads only, has now become the main weapon of even ordinary cadre. This has increased the hazard to VIP security greatly."

5.4 The threat perceptions of the period clearly indicated that the Sikh militants were in the continuous process of procuring sophisticated materials for making Improvised Explosive Devices which they had been using in organising bomb explosions in various parts of Punjab. Acquisition of lethal weapons predictably led to emboldening of elements hostile to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. During mid- 1988, reports were received indicating serious efforts by Punjab extremists to arm themselves specifically to hit at Indian VIPs. According to a report, Sikh terrorists were learnt to be trying to smuggle telescopic guns/rifles from Pakistan for using them against VIP targets.

In another report of 30th June 1988, the Intelligence Bureau (Annexure T-37)specified that :

"... Wassan Singh, Member, Panthic Committee, had informed Gurbachan Singh Manochahal that arms for the militants were expected from China via Nepal. According to another information, Mohinder Singh, brother of Wadhwa Singh, Babbar Khalsa activist, presently in Pakistan had smuggled 15-16 remote control devices into India for use in improvised remote control explosive devices. Another report indicates that two Sikh extremists brought a high frequency radio trans- receiver to Pakistan from U.K. This may be smuggled into India for the use by the Sikh extremists."

5.5 The high point of anti- extremist steps taken in Punjab by the Government headed by Shri. Rajiv Gandhi was the 'Operation Black Thunder' of May, 1988, in which, the Police and the paramilitary forces, in a week long operation in Golden Temple Complex at Amritsar, flushed out top Sikh militants holed up in the Complex. This operation was a big blow to the Sikh extremists and greatly affected their morale.

Operation Black Thunder led to the seizure of large number of arms as well as incriminating documents from the Golden temple complex. Documents seized in the Golden Temple Complex further confirmed the determination of the Sikh extremists to cause harm to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. In a letter addressed to Bhai Sukhdev Singh Jhamke from Wassan Singh ( which was one of the documents recovered ), it was mentioned to make attempt on the Prime Minister. The letter also stated that there were many Sikhs from Gurdaspur in Delhi Police and attempts should be made to select and cultivate some of them to keep a track of the programmes of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi for planning successful attempts.Annexure T- 38)

5.6 Shri. Rajiv Gandhi has planned to visit Punjab in September, 1988. The flurry of extremist activity during this period, directed towards making very specific preparations to assassinate Shri. Rajiv Gandhi during his visit to Punjab, shows the determination and desperation of the Sikh extremists. These threats were extremely serious, concrete and well planned and carried extremely grave danger to his life. From the intelligence reports of the period, (September, 1988),(Annexure T-39 and T-40) the following specific plans of the Sikh extremists could be unearthed :-

-- KCF circles spread the rumour that Shri. Rajiv Gandhi might visit the Golden Temple secretly. In that eventuality the KCF had been assigned with the task of making an attempt on his life he visits the G.T.Complex.(Annexure S- 43)

-- It was learnt that a huge amount of Rs 4 lakhs to 5 lakhs may be offered to some Punjab Police personnel by the militants for placing an explosive device underneath the rostrum , from where the Shri. Rajiv Gandhi or other VIPs were to deliver their addresses.(Annexure S-43)

-- the Panthic Committee and the Khalistan Commando Force were hatching plans to explode a vehicle containing explosives in the vicinity of the PM's route/locale during his visit to Punjab; (Annexure T-40)

-- Gurnam Singh Bundala, Member Council of Khalistan and Convenor of All Indian Sikh Students Federation(AISSF), alongwith Dr.Jagdish Singh Buttar(AISSF) and Sukhdev Singh Jhamke(KCF) had plans to stage some spectacular actions on the occasions of the PM's visit to Punjab. These militant groups had plans to fire on the convoy of the VVIP. Three suicide squads, one each for Jalandhar, Tarn Taran and Batinda were being set up for this purpose. (Annexure T-39)

-- According to another report, Gurbachan Singh Manochahal had directed Dr.Jagdish Singh Buttar to arrange for land-mines to blow up the car of the VVIP while on its route from Jalandhar to Goindwal or back from Goindwal.(Annexure T-39)

-- Yet another report indicated that Gurnam Singh Bundala had asked underground members of the AISSF(Dr.Jagdish Singh faction), namely Subeg Singh of Batinda and Jagjit Singh of Gurdaspur to create disturbance in Batinda area and plan attacks on the VVIP motorcade. (Annexure T-40)

5.7 In January, 1989, after the order of execution of two assassins of Smt. Indira Gandhi - Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh - there were sharp reactions and it was assessed that threat to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi from Sikh extremists had sharply increased after this incident. A threat assessment report of the Intelligence Bureau, furnished during January, 1989, (Annexure T-42) summed up the threat as follows :-

"Sikh militant organisations both in India and abroad which have been exercised over the death sentence awarded to Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh, the assassins of late Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi, have reacted sharply to the execution of the assassins. Various militant groups in Punjab as also the United Akali Dal (T) and SA Dal (L) gave out calls for observance of Punjab bandh and protests week.... The SGPC organised an Akand Path a Akal Takhat on January. 9. On January 15 during 'bhog ceremony' strident criticism of the Govt. were made and veiled threats of violence were held out. Outside the country, at Cologne in West Germany militant Sikhs burnt an effigy of the Prime Minister on January. 6. At a meeting held on January 8 in the Ross Street Gurdwara in Vancouver (Canada) some of the ISYF and Babbar Khalsa elements threatened that they would do everything to eliminate the Prime Minister. At a "Shahidi Day" gathering organised by the ISYF in the Southall gurdwara, UK, also a threat to eliminate the Prime Minister was held out."

2. "From these reports it is apparent that threat to the security of the Prime Minister from Sikh extremists has become sharper....Receipt by extremist groups of fresh supplies of sophisticated fire-arms and explosives have added further teeth to the threat."

Recent Intelligence and Activities

3. "According to an information, Charanjit Singh Channi, self-styled Lt.Gen. of KCF, Daljit Singh Bitto, Convenor of AISSF, Sarbjit Singh Botha and Kulwant Singh Khukrana along with some Babbar Khalsa activists are planning to make attempt against VVIPs/VIPs at Delhi during the next two months. The names of the President of India, the Prime Minister & Central Ministers like Shri H.K.L.Bhagat, Shri Buta Singh, Shri Jagdish Tytler have been mentioned in this connection."

8. "Charanjit Singh @ Channi was learnt to have approached a retired IAF officer to use his influence to win over a serving IAF personnel who could be utilised to create threat to the security of the Prime Minister by hitting the Prime Minister's aircraft. This confirms the efforts of the Sikh extremists to cause harm to the security of the Prime minister utilising all means including subversion, impersonation etc."

5.8 Sikh extremist elements abroad also came to notice for building up a campaign against the carrying out of the death sentence awarded to Satwant Singh, the assassin of Smt.Indira Gandhi, and Kehar Singh, his accomplice. They had threatened retaliation in the event of the death sentence being ultimately executed. These had a direct bearing on the security of the Prime Minister Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. Following were some specific instances of protests :-

-- In Canada, there were reports of hostile outbursts by Sikh extremist elements in January , 1989, (Annexure T-43) to protest against the hanging of Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh. These views were learnt to have been articulated in Gurdwaras at Vancouver by members of the ISYF and the Babbar Khalsa who were present. They were reported to have shouted that they would do anything to eliminate the Prime Minister whom they held responsible for the hanging.

-- The International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF), UK, had organised a "Shaheedi Day" in memory of Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh in the Guru Singh Sabha Gurudwara, Southall, UK on January 8, 1989. About 1000 Sikhs attended this gathering which was addressed, amongst others, by Joginder Singh Kang of Lemington Spa, Balhar Singh Randhawa of Leceister, Parminder Singh Bal and Karnail Singh of Southall. Joginder singh Kang alleged that by having Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh executed, our prime Minister had taken revenge for the killing of his mother. Balhar Singh Randhawa said that through these executions, the Government of India had challenged the Sikhs and appealed to the Sikhs to produce more Satwant Singhs and Kehar Singhs so as to teach a lesson to the Hindu government. Referring to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi he stated, "We will take rest only after eliminating him". (Annexure T-44)

-- Members of the ISYF in West Germany were found to be expressing that the time had come to organise themselves for a long and bitter struggle. It was reported that they are arranging to send funds to Sukhdev Singh Babbar and Talwinder Singh Parmar of the Babbar Khalsa, Canada. On January 7, 1989, the Cologne Gurudwara in West Germany reportedly sent the equivalent of Rs. 40,000 to Baba Thakur Singh of Mehta Chowk.(Annexure T-44)

-- Sikh extremist circles in West Germany were saying that the Sikh extremist groups in the Punjab had agreed to concentrate their efforts on the elimination of the several Indian dignitaries, most importantly, Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. (Annexure T-44)

5.8.1 The weeks preceding the execution of Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh were marked by a series of threats uttered by Sikh extremist elements settled abroad to indulge in violent retaliation and by reports of preparations by the terrorists to carry out their threats.

Amongst the more serious of the threats uttered during this period were those by Manjit Singh Grewal of the Damdami Taksal West Germany, WHO, while addressing a religious congregation in the Frankfurt Gurudwara on December 11, 1988, warned that Khalistan Commando Force(KCF) elements had already taken up position along with a supply of machine-guns, grenades and bombs for indulging in acts of retaliation not only in Delhi, but also in Kanpur and Lucknow after the execution of Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh. Similarly, Babbar Khalsa elements had warned that Talwinder Singh Parmar of the Babbar Khalsa, Canada, had drawn up plans for organising acts of violence for three consecutive days after the execution of Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh, which would be similar to the three days of violence against the Sikhs, which, according to them, followed the assassination of Smt. Indira Gandhi (Annexure T-60)

The movements of Babbar Khalsa elements during this period and reports of the infiltration of group of KCF terrorists into Delhi confirmed this. There were indications that the terrorists had been calculating that during the Republic Day the attention of the Police and other Security Forces would be diverted towards security arrangements for the VIPs who would be attending the Parade and this might provide them with an opportunity for indulging in indiscriminate acts of violence in Delhi.

Extremists belonging to the International Sikh Youth Federation(ISYF) and the Babbar Khalsa in the UK, West Germany and Canada were found trying to whip up the feelings of the community on the issue of execution of the killers of Smt. Indira Gandhi. They had been portraying Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh as `martyrs'. They describe the assassination of Smt. Indira Gandhi by Beant Singh and Satwant Singh as such a religious act of vengeance to protect the honour of the Sikh religion and the execution of Satwant singh and Kehar Singh, who, according to them, carried out only their religious duty in assassinating Smt. Indira Gandhi as a criminal act of vengeance.

Death threats were held out to Prime Minister, Shri. Rajiv Gandhi (who the Sikh extremists held responsible for the decision to have the death sentence against Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh executed) that he would be eliminated in retaliation.

5.9 Throughout the period when Shri. Rajiv Gandhi remained the Prime Minister, feverish efforts continued to be made by the Sikh extremists to assassinate him. As events unfolded in 1989, the threat to the life of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi gradually increased. It is seen that every event related to Sikh terrorism - be it Operation Black Thunder or the execution of the killers of Smt. Indira Gandhi - only increased the animosity of the hostile Sikh elements against Shri. Rajiv Gandhi and made them more and more determined in their efforts. During the course of 1989, notable specific incidents which constituted a threat to the life of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi, which were reported by the Intelligence Bureau, were as follows :-

-- It was learnt in January, 1989, that one Jaswinder Singh Hundal - an active member of Khalistan movement in North America and of International Sikh Youth Federation - intended to enter India to conspire with his followers to assassinate Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

(Annexure S-43) :-

-- It came to light in February 1989 that Two Air Force Personnel who were posted at IAF station Ambala had met a common friend in 1985 in a marriage party. There they had shown their keenness to serve " cause of Sikh panth" by making an attempt on the life of former PM

-- In April 1989, it was learnt that one Ajit Singh Qadian, Propaganda Secy, AISSE(Bandala faction) while talking to a group of GNDU students, declared that days of Rajiv Gandhi were numbered and that he would meet a drastic end shortly.

-- In April 1989, it came to light that BTFK cadres had been advised from their Pak based leaders to use ground to ground missiles of six to eight kms. range for causing explosions of damage to Hindu localities in Delhi, Parliament House, P.M's house and Connaught place.

-- It was learnt during May 1989 that one Gajinder Singh @ Gurinder Singh Gandha s/o Pal Singh of distt. Kapurthala posed threat to VVIPs particularly the Ex.Prime Minister.

-- In June 1989, it was learnt that Satinder Pal Singh Gill, called upon Sikhs to render help in every possible way to the "freedom fighters" in their struggle against the Govt. Thereafter, he invited Ajaib Singh Bagri to speak. Bagri emphasised the need for arms and financial assistance to the "freedom fighters". Stating that the oppressors of the Sikhs would be punished, he added "RAJIV TERI MA MARI HAI, HUN TERI VAARI HAI)".

-- Information was received in July 1989 that one Sarbjit Singh addressed a letter to so- called Area Commander Bakshish Singh, stating therein that he would try to assassinate Shri. Rajiv Gandhi and other VIPs before 15th Aug. 89 provided they were given Rs.5 crores and arms and ammunition.

-- Babbar Khalsa activist Gurmej Singh @ Geja, planned to indulge in many terrorist actions in Delhi including causing harm to the VVIPs at Delhi during August 1989.

-- In August 1989, one Dalbir Singh Bhiki, hardcore KCF(Kanwaljit Singh) had disclosed about receipt of improved version of few arms including assault rifles and missiles which would be kept at Delhi in view to eliminate some high level VVIP by the KCF activists.

Threats from Punjab extremists based in foreign countries

5.10 The vitriolic outpourings of Sikh extremists against Shri. Rajiv Gandhi were not only an indication of their intentions but also aimed at inciting their members into attempting harm to him. Such outpourings were commonplace, both in India as well as in foreign countries where several such leaders had based themselves. A typical such instance was reported when the Damdami Taksal, Jatha Bhindran, Inter-national Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF-Damdami Taksal), Council of Khalistan, Dal Khalsa and World Sikh Organisation, organised a rally at Hyde Park(London) on May 29, 1988 in protest against the action of the Indian security forces in the Golden Temple. While strongly criticising the Govt. of India for the action, some of the speakers held out threats to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister. Gurmez Singh Gill (Babbar Khalsa Chief), who boycotted the above rally issued a separate press release, criticising the Indian Government's action and threatened that PM would face "the consequences of this affront".

5.11 The contemporaneous reports of the Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW) indicate that Shri. Rajiv Gandhi became a vulnerable target also because of his frequent tours abroad, especially in countries from where Sikh extremist elements had been operating. Intelligence reports of the period show the anxiety and concern about the growth of Sikh secessionist elements based in several countries.

5.12 JAPAN :-Before a proposed visit of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi to Japan in 1988, threat assessment prepared by Cabinet Secretariat (Annexure T-45) stated that most of the Sikhs settled in Japan, predominantly in Tokyo, Osaka and Kobe (where they also had a Gurdwara) were generally hostile to the Punjab policies of the Government of India. After the riots of November, 1984 following the assassination of Smt. Indira Gandhi, there were expressions of open resentment among Sikhs in Kobe. There were indications of some local support for this cause as well, mainly from the local educational bodies.

Sikh extremist leaders based abroad were known to be visiting Japan. Dr.Jagjit Singh Chauhan had visited Japan in November 1987. Sikhs extremists were also suspected to be involved in a terrorist act in Japan. In June, 1985, there was a bomb blast in Narita airport resulting in the death of two baggage handlers. During investigations, one Inderjit Singh Reyat, a close associate of the Canadian Babbar Khalsa leader Talwinder Singh Parmar, was arrested by the UK Police at the instance of the Canadian authorities. Inderjit Singh Royat, a Canadian citizen holding British Passport, had earlier been convicted by Canadian Court in May, 1986 for possession of explosives etc.

5.13 USA was another hotbed of Sikh extremist elements hostile to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. The activities of these elements in the USA were coming to light particularly since August 1986, after General Vaidya was assassinated by Sikh terrorists in Pune. During investigations, involvement of Sukhwinder Singh Sandhu and Ranjit Singh Gill - Sikhs based in USA - was, inter-alia, established. Issue of their extradition became a controversial point among Sikh extremists based in the USA who vociferously protested against the possibility of extradition of these two accused persons and even threatened of dire consequences if extradition materialised. A special fund mobilisation drive was also launched by them in this regard.

USA based Sikh extremist elements were also indulging in continuously advocating the cause of Khalistan. These activities included mobilising local public and Government opinion in favour of Khalistan through several 'Khalistan Councils' set up in several cities across the country.

During this period, one of the most active and vocal secessionist Sikh body in USA was Sikh Youth Federation (erstwhile Dashmesh Regiment) headed by Jatinder Singh, President of Dashmesh Regiment. Under its aegis, during the visit of Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi to New York in September, 1987, a group of Sikhs from various organisations had staged demonstrations protesting against the alleged violation of 'Sikh Human Rights' in India. In Feb, 1988, Jagjit Singh Mangat of SYF and WSO accompanied by Gurinder Singh Grawal (WSO) visited Pakistan when they had contacted Wassan Singh of Panthic Committee and reportedly handed over large sum of money. They had also met other Sikh extremist leaders present in Pakistan then.

It was assessed in 1988 that USA based Sikh extremists were determined to cause harm to Indian VVIPs and had become a potent threat in view of their recourse to trained terrorists, sophisticated weapons and Remote Control Devices.(Annexure T-46)

5.14 FRANCE :- During April 1989, a threat assessment was made by the Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW) (Annexure T-21) when Shri. Rajiv Gandhi was proposing to visit France. The report indicates that the Sikh extremist and secessionist elements were deeply rooted in France and a number of anti-national activities were being carried out by these elements which had a bearing on the security of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. It was reported that since 1984 there had been an increase in the number of Sikhs living in France due to the entry of a number of political asylum-seekers. The total number was estimated to be over 1000. The majority of them lived in Paris. Some pockets of Sikh population were also found in Strasbourg, Nice and Rouen.

An organisation called "The National Council of Sikhs in France"(NCSF) owing allegiance to Dr.Jagjit Singh Chohan, came into existence on November 24, 1982, under the Presidentship of one Sarab Raj Randhawa. Between 1982 and 1984, Dr.Chohan had visited Paris on a number of occasions at the invitation of this Organisation. It had also organised demonstrations in protest against Operation Blue Star. In 1985, its President was arrested by the French Police on charges of drug smuggling. Since January 1985, "The Gurudwara Singh Sabha"(GSS), had been running a Gurdwara in Paris. During Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's visit to Paris in June 1985, the Sikh residents of Paris had planned to observe hunger strike and submit a memorandum to him. There were also rumours in Sikh circles in the UK of a possible plot to assassinate the Prime Minister during his visit which coincided with the first anniversary of Operation Blue Star. The French authorities however, took effective preventive action.

The Sikh extremist elements in France were maintaining a close contact with the extremist organisations in the UK and particularly with the Babbar Khalsa, UK. Talwinder Singh Parmar of the Babbar Khalsa, Canada, had uttered threats against our Prime Minister in an interview, which was published by the "Des Pardesh" of London on March 3, 1989. He stated that Shri Rajiv Gandhi would not live beyond 1990 and he would pay for his crime. Later, during the Baisakhi procession, in Vancouver,, Canada, Ajaib Singh Bagri of the Babbar Khalsa, Canada, uttered a similar threat against the Prime Minister. He stated as follows:

"Oh Rajiv, we have killed your mother. Now it is your turn".

During the Prime Minister's visit to Paris in 1985, reports about a possible threat to his life had indicated that the Sikh extremist elements in the UK were playing an active role in trying to instigate some incident or the other during the Prime Minister's stay in Paris.

There were also reports of contacts between the France based Pakistani elements and the members of the GSS. One Safdar Beg was allegedly cultivating the members of the Sikh community in Paris at the instance of the Pakistani Embassy. In November 1984, a Pakistani, who was described as a retired Brigadier of the Pakistani army, visited Paris and stayed with Safdar Beg. There were allegations at that time that both of them were partners in clandestine arms trade.

From June 1987 onwards, many Pakistanis had started attending Sikh religious congregations in the Paris gurudwara. Many shops owned by Pakistanis had been noticed selling copies of the 'Des Pardes', the Punjabi Weekly, published from London which gave publicity to the activities of the Sikh extremists.

5.15 PAKISTAN was perceived as a pivot around which all the activities of hostile Sikh extremist elements revolved. Pakistan had been providing a sanctuary to the Sikh extremist elements from the Punjab as well as foreign countries since 1981. 14 Sikh hijackers of IAC aircraft between 1981 and 1984 had been given permanent asylum in Pakistan. In 1988, an estimated number of 122 Sikh terrorist elements, from India as well as abroad, were found to be operating from Pak territory. These included dreaded terrorists namely Wassan Singh of the Panthic Committee, Atinder Pal Singh, former Vice- President of the AISSF (later arrested in Punjab) against whom there was some suspicion of involvement in the plot to assassinate Smt. Indira Gandhi, Sukhdev Singh of the Babbar Khalsa and Satinder Pal Singh Gill of the ISYF, Canada, who was reportedly co-ordinating the procurement and supply of arms and ammunition to the Sikh extremists.

The members of the Babbar Khalsa, the Khalistan Liberation Force, the Khalistan Commando Force and the All India Sikh Students Federation, based in Pakistan, were operating with close involvement of the Pakistani Army and Intelligence. These agencies were reportedly training the Sikh terrorist elements and assisting them in crossing over into India for their terrorist operations equipped with arms and ammunition and other equipment like remote-controlled devices, communication equipment etc. which was smuggled across into the Punjab. In 1988, Pakistani Intelligence personnel came to notice for trying to help a group of 7 Sikhs extremists cross over from Pakistan into the Sriganganagar area with a load of arms and ammunition. The ISYF, UK, had, in 1988, reportedly entered into an understanding with the Qadzi of the J&K Ulma Council, UK, under which arms and ammunition procured by it smuggled into J&K and then into the Punjab through the Mirpur and other areas of the Pak-Occupied Kashmir (POK).

It also came to notice that Sikh extremist organisations operating from Pak territory had been trying to procure some Stinger Missiles from the Afghan Mujahideens based in Pakistan.

In a specific incident, it was learnt that Singh Kalbe of the Babbar Khalsa (Panthic),/visited Pakistan before August, 1988. He claimed that during a visit to the U.S.A. November, 1988 he had managed to collect a sum of US$ 25,000, which he intended utilising for the purchase of arms and ammunition in Pakistan. During his stay in Pakistan before August, 1988, he had managed to purchase six Stinger missiles from some persons near the Pak- Afghan border, and was able to have some of them smuggled in a dismantled condition into India through the land border.

He was also planning to purchase some remote- controlled devices for being utilised for causing explosion of bombs.

Other Sikh extremists based abroad were also found to be very active during this period. Sarmukh Singh of the Babbar Khalsa (International) who was one of the accused in the Hamilton conspiracy case of 1986, in which he and six others were charged with planning the execution of criminal offences in India and with providing financial assistance to terrorists in India, had visited Pakistan in November, 1988 and met Talwinder Singh Parmar. It was further learnt that Talwinder Singh Parmar was planning to carry out large scale retaliatory acts of killing in India, in the event of execution of Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh.

It was learnt that the Sikh extremist elements, based in Pakistan, had sent one Dhana Singh to the U.K. on October 22, 1988, from Pakistan for the purpose of procuring some radio equipment (four radio sets, believed to be ICOM IC-735 HF transreceivers).

The ISYF, West Germany, had reportedly selected one Teja Singh, living in West Germany for being sent to Pakistan for training and for subsequent infiltration into India. He was to contact Sukhdev Singh Babbar at Lahore, on his arrival in Pakistan. One Babbar Khalsa member Balbir Singh of Cologne had also gone to Pakistan on November 3, 1988 to get arms training and to subsequently cross over India. He was asked by the Babbar Khalsa, Germany to contact Talwinder Singh Parmar and Sukhdev Sigh Babbar in Pakistan.

Sikhs extremists settled in countries outside India were known to be regularly visiting Pakistan in 1988 and coordinating with the Sikh extremists operating from there.

--- Gurdip Singh Sivia, a national organiser of the Babbar Khalsa, UK, had visited Pakistan to organise the smuggling of a large load of arms and ammunition from Pakistan into Punjab through Jammu and Kashmir.

--- Six Sikh extremists elements from Canada had proceeded to Pakistan for meeting other Sikh extremist elements from Canada who have been operating from Pakistani territory.

During this period, information was also received indicating that the Sikh extremists, based in Pakistan, possessed 2 to 6 Stinger missiles, which they had possibly procured from the Afghan Mujahideens with funds brought by Talwinder Singh Parmar and Tejinder Singh Kaloe of the Babbar Khalsa(Panthak), Canada. The possession of these missiles implied that it had become necessary to provide adequate protection to the Prime Minister's aircraft during its flight from the Stinger missiles in the possession of the Sikh extremists as well as the Afghan Mujahideens. (Annexure T-56)

A comprehensive threat assessment was made by the Intelligence Agencies in 1988(Annexure T-48) when Prime Minister Shri. Rajiv Gandhi proposed a visit to the Punjab. It was, inter-alia, pointed out in this assessment that :-

-- Pakistan based Sikh terrorists were involved in procurement and supply of arms and ammunition, communication equipment, remote controlled devices, etc., to the Sikh terrorists in the Punjab; liaison with the Pakistani authorities who assist them in matters like training etc.

-- There were reports indicating periodic contacts between the Sikh terrorists based in Pakistan and some of the Afghan Mujahideen groups and particularly the group led by Gulbuddin Hikmatyar. There were information of the infiltration of small groups of Afghan Mujahideens into India in June, 1988, reportedly for providing assistance to Sikh extremist groups.

-- Coinciding with these reports, there were reports indicating an attempt by some Sikh extremist elements to procure Stinger missiles from the Mujahideens. Tejinder Singh Kaloe of the Babbar Khalsa (Panthak) of Canada, who had visited Pakistan recently, is reported to have claimed that during his stay in Pakistan, he had visited some villages near the Pak-Afghan border to procure Stinger missiles.

5.16 Ever since Operation Black Thunder, there were reports indicating a definite thinking and planning on the part of the extremists to do harm to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. Towards the end of August, 1988, intelligence received had indicated plans for the infiltration of a group of 63 persons, who were then reportedly under training in POK, into Delhi for making an attempt on the life of Shri. Gandhi and Buta Singh around October 31, 1988.

It was also learnt that some extremist elements based in Pakistan, probably belonging to the Babbar Khalsa, were planning to have some arms and ammunition smuggled into India on the night of December 22, 1988, and that these arms and ammunition were meant to be used for a possible attack on Prime Minister, Shri. Rajiv Gandhi on January 26, 1989. However, this could not fructify.

During the visit of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi to Pakistan to attend the SAARC Summit, there was information regarding possibility of an attempt to assassinate him during his stay in Pakistan. The conspirators appeared to be connected most probably with Talwinder Singh Parmar of the Babbar Khalsa.

These succession of reports points to a definite thinking, planning and conspiracy to do harm to Prime Minister, Shri. Rajiv Gandhi, with the ISYF and the Babbar Khalsa in general and Talwinder singh Parmar in Particular apparently playing an active role in this planning and conspiracy.

Very large number of Sikhs from various countries, notably USA, UK, Canada, Malaysia etc. were regularly visiting Pakistan in Jathas to participate in the birthday celebrations of Shri Guru Nanak Dev. During 1988, there were incidents of the pilgrims shouting pro Khalistan slogans as well as slogans against Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. One of the slogans shouted was "Your mother is dead, Rajiv your turn will come". During this procession, some of the Sikhs from Canada distributed sweets which were carried in baskets with the covers having photographs of Bhindrawale, Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh. Some of the sweet baskets with these photographs were carried in vehicles of the Pakistani police. These photographs had been got printed in the U.K. During the proposed visit of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi to Pakistan to participate in the SAARC Summit, some Sikhs who were Pakistani nationals alongwith Bhai Lakhbir Singh, Convenor of ISYF, Canada, were reportedly planning a black flag demonstration.

Another source of threat to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi were Sikh soldiers from the Indian Army (16 Punjab) who had deserted and crossed over into the Pak occupied Kashmir (POK) on October 31, 1988 and were being patronised by the Pakistani military authorities.

Talwinder Singh Parmar, a Canadian leader of the Babbar Khalsa who had left Canada about six months ago, had gone to Pakistan in 1988 and was staying at Dera Saheb Gurdwara.

5.17 The FAR EASTERN COUNTRIES of Asia were also experiencing activities of Sikh militants who were hostile to India and posed a threat to the security of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi.

Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong, which have pockets of Sikh population, had also become the targets of attention of the Sikh extremist elements based in West Europe, the USA and Canada for purposes of fund collection as well as propaganda. Since the Governments of these countries, were firmly against the use of religious organisations and places of religious worship for political purposes, none of the extremist organisations like the ISYF, the Babbar Khalsa, the Dam Dami Taksal etc could open branches in these countries; however their operations in these countries were covert and behind the facade of organisations formed ostensibly for promoting and preserving the Sikh religion, notably Sikh Naujwan Sabhas of Malaysia and Singapore, the Sikh Missionary Society of Singapore, the Sikh Temples Consultative Council (STCC) of Malaysia and the Khalsa Naujawan Sabha of Hong Kong. These groups were secessionists and extolled the concept of Khalistan.

Since 1986, the Babbar Khalsa of UK was found to be paying special attention to Sikh communities in the region. The Babbar Khalsa, UK, was regularly sending annually Kirtan parties to the countries of this region, ostensibly for doing Kirtan and Dharm Prachar amongst the members of the Sikh community. These visits are actually meant to build up a base of clandestine support amongst Sikh expatriates in these countries. Gurdip Singh Sivia of the Babbar Khalsa, UK, who has been playing an active role in the procurement and smuggling of arms and ammunition and other equipment to the Sikh extremists in the Punjab through the extremists based in Pakistan, was firmly promoting these visits.

Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan of the Council of Khalistan, UK, had visited Thailand in March 1988.

Malaysia has about 50,000 Sikhs in a total Indian population of 1.3 million. Since Operation Blue Star in 1984, there had been an effort to politicise sections of the Sikh community, particularly the youth, through various organisations functioning under a religious cover. An organisation called the ad-hoc Action Committee (AAC) was formed by representatives of different Gurudwaras and other Sikh bodies after June 1984 to carry on a propaganda campaign against the entry of the Indian Army into the Golden Temple. Subsequently, this AAC was converted in 1985 into an organisation called the Malaysian Gurudwara Consultative Council(MGCC) to function as an umbrella organisation of the local Gurudwaras. Subsequently, in July 1988, a new organisation called the Sikh Temples Consultative Council(STCC) was formed under Joginder Singh, an advocate, as the President and Hardiyal Singh, President of the Seresban Gurudwara, as Vice President. Both were known for their pro-Khalistan views.



Mail Us Copyright 1998/2009 All Rights Reserved Home