Balwinder Singh was involved with extremist groups fighting for Khalistan.
By Deepak Chitnis
WASHINGTON, DC: A Sikh man living in the US under asylum was arrested and charged for allegedly providing support to terrorists groups in India and Pakistan.
Thirty-nine year-old Balwinder Singh was charged on December 18th, for his involvement with the terrorist groups Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) and Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF). Both are extremist groups that aim to create an independent Sikh state, called Khalistan, in the Indian region of Punjab.
Singh now faces several charges: two counts of using a fraudulent immigration document, one count of making false statements on an immigration document, one count of conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim persons in a foreign country, one count of illegally producing a false identification document, and one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists — that could land in prison for the rest of his life and levy a stiff $250,000 fine on him.
According to the Department of Justice, Singh fled India some years ago and came to the US, seeking asylum. His request was granted, and Singh eventually became a permanent resident of the US. Living in Reno, Nevada, Singh has nonetheless maintained ties with his home country.
A federal investigation led by the US attorney’s office in Nevada, working in conjunction with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force of Northern Nevada, uncovered that Singh obtained fake passports and identification materials as far back as November of 1997, so that he could travel back to India periodically without being picked up by authorities there.
During these trips back to India, Singh allegedly provided materials — exactly what these materials were has not yet been revealed — to members of the BKI and KZF. These groups are said to target and assassinate people who they believe oppose their cause for an independent Sikh state. Singh also gave them money, which was then used to purchase weapons and other illicit goods.
Singh’s indictment papers says that “these groups engage in bombings, kidnappings and murders in India to intimidate and compel the Indian government to create the state of Khalistan.”
Singh is due back in court tomorrow, December 20, for his first court appearance in front of a US magistrate judge, and for a formal arraignment.