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International Sikh Youth Federation

The International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) is a proscribed organisation that aims to establish an independent homeland for the Sikhs of India in Khalistan.[1] It is banned as a terrorist organisation under Australian, European Union,[2] Japanese,[3] Indian,[4] Canadian[5] and American[6] counter-terrorism legislation.[7]Government of India has declared it a terrorist organisation.[8] While banned, the organization continues to receive financial support from Sikh extremists based in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.[9]

International Sikh Youth Federation
Leader(s)Lakhbir Singh Rode
Dates of operation1987 – present
MotivesThe creation of a Sikh independent state of Khalistan
Active region(s)India
IdeologySikh Fundamentalism
Major actionsAssassinations, bombings and abductions
Means of revenueSikh diaspora
Designated as a terrorist group by
Canada, European Union, India, Japan, United States

History and activitiesEdit

In 1984, the All India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF) started the ISYF in the United Kingdom as an international branch.[5][10]

The 1985 bombing of Air India Flight 182 off Ireland, the deadliest aircraft terror attack until the September 11, 2001 attacks, and the attempted bombing of Air India Flight 301, were allegedly carried out by Sikh extremists. Inderjit Singh Reyat, a member of the ISYF, was found guilty of manslaughter for making the bombs and had to spend more than 20 years in prison at Canada, and is the only individual convicted in these attacks as of 9 Feb 2009.[11][12][13]

ISYF members have engaged in terrorist attacks, assassinations, and bombings against both Indian figures and moderate Sikhs opposing them.[10] The organisation has also collaborated and associated with other Sikh terrorist organisations, including Babbar Khalsa,[5] the Khalistan Liberation Force,[10] and Khalistan Commando Force.[10]

Lord Bassam of Brighton, then Home Office minister, stated that ISYF members working from the UK had committed "assassinations, bombings and kidnappings" and were a "threat to national security."[11] In 2001 it was proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the British government for its attacks.[14]


Jasbir Singh Rode was the nephew of Bhindranwale and member of fundamentalist Sikh organisation Damdami Taksal. After Operation Bluestar while in Pakistan Rode used the Sikh shrines at Pakistan to make anti-India speeches and provoked the audience to attack the Indian diplomats who were present.[15] Rode then arrived in the United Kingdom in August 1984.

On 23 September 1984, at a meeting in Walsall, The formation of International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) was announced by Harpal Singh and Jasbir Singh Rode.[16] The group had a 51-member panel headed by Pargat Singh.[17]. But, by December 1984, Rode was expelled from the UK for publicly advocating violent methods in support of the Khalistan movement.[18]

Rode Then flew around seeking asylum, and was arrested in Manila by the Indian authorities in a chase across Thailand and Philippines. He was imprisoned for two years in India.[15] Upon his release, he moderated, now advocating pursuing constitutional changes within Indian framework.[18] This mode disappointed many of his followers and created a rift in the UK branches roughly along north/south lines: the northern branches known as ISYF (Rode) followed Rode's moderate stance while the southern branches instead followed Dr. Sohan Singh.[18]

The current leader of ISYF, Lakhbir Singh Rode, is sought for trial in India. He is wanted in cases of arms smuggling, conspiracy to attack government leaders in New Delhi and spreading religious hatred in Punjab. Per Indian sources, he is currently living in Lahore, Pakistan. [19]

Foreign supportEdit

There are allegations made by sources from the Indian based website the South Asian Terrorism portal that the ISYF has been supported by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence organisation.[20][clarification needed]


United KingdomEdit

In February 2001, the United Kingdom banned twenty-one groups, including the ISYF, under the Terrorism Act 2000.[21][17] The ISYF was removed from the list of proscribed groups in March 2016 "following receipt of an application to deproscribe the organisation".[22]


In 2002, the ISYF was banned in India, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act designated as terrorist organisation by the Government of India.[4] It remains banned in India since then.[8]


Japanese government banned it in 2002.[3]


In June 2003, Canada banned the organisation.[5][10] The Vancouver Sun reported in February 2008 that Singhs were campaigning to have both the Babbar Khalsa and International Sikh Youth Federation delisted as terrorist organisations. The article went on to state that the Public Safety Minister had never been approached by anyone lobbying to delist the banned groups and said, "the decision to list organisations such as Babbar Khalsa, Babbar Khalsa International and the International Sikh Youth Federation as terrorist entities under the Criminal Code is intended to protect Canada and Canadians from terrorism".[23]


The ISYF was added to the US Treasury Department terrorism list on June 27, 2002.[6] In April 2004, the United States added four organisations, including the ISYF, to its terror list, allowing the US to deny entry (and to deport) any of its members.[6][7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF)". Institute for Conflict Management. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 18 July 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  2. ^ Ember, Melvin, Carol R. Ember, Ian Skoggard (2004). Encyclopedia of Diasporas: Immigrant and Refugee Cultures Around the World. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 1081. ISBN 9780306483219. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  3. ^ a b "MOFA: Implementation of the Measures including the Freezing of Assets against Terrorists and the Like". Archived from the original on 2013-04-06. Retrieved 2013-11-21. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  4. ^ a b "Terrorism Act 2000". Ministry of Home Affairs (India). Archived from the original on May 10, 2012. Retrieved May 20, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  5. ^ a b c d "Currently listed entities". Government of Canada. 2009-04-06. Archived from the original on 2009-06-26. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  6. ^ a b c "What You Need To Know About U.S. Sanctions" (PDF). U.S. Department of Treasury. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2008-09-10. Retrieved 2009-05-24. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  7. ^ a b "Indian groups join US terror list". BBC News. 2004-04-30. Archived from the original on 2004-07-14. Retrieved 2008-12-17. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  8. ^ a b "List of Banned Organisations". Ministry of Home Affairs, GoI. Government of India. Archived from the original on 3 May 2018. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b c d e Hamilton, Dwight; Rimsa, Kostas (2007). Terror Threat: International and Homegrown Terrorists and Their Threat to Canada. Dundurn Press. pp. 206–207. ISBN 978-1-55002-736-5.
  11. ^ Bolan, Kim (February 9, 2008). "Air India bombmaker sent to holding centre". Ottawa Citizen. Archived from the original on November 9, 2012. Retrieved May 31, 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  12. ^ "Convicted Air India bomb-builder Inderjit Singh Reyat gets bail". CBC News. July 9, 2008. Archived from the original on July 10, 2008. Retrieved June 10, 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  13. ^ "Terrorism Act 2000 (Proscribed Organisations) (Amendment) Order 2016 - Hansard". Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  14. ^ a b "There will be no sell-out of the Sikh community: Jasbir Singh Rode". India Today. 31 March 1988. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  15. ^ Tatla, Darsham Singh (2005). The Sikh Diaspora: The Search For Statehood. 141: Routledge. ISBN 9781135367442. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  16. ^ a b Carol R Ember; Melvin Ember; Ian A. Skoggard (2004). Encyclopedia of diasporas: immigrant and refugee cultures around the world. Springer. p. 1089. ISBN 978-0-306-48321-9.
  17. ^ a b c Lauterpacht, Elihu; Greenwood, C. J.; Oppenheimer, A. G. (1998). International Law Reports. Cambridge University Press. p. 395. ISBN 978-0-521-58070-0.
  18. ^ Reuters. "US to freeze assets of Babbar Khalsa, Intl Sikh Youth Federation Anita Inder Singh Jun 28, 2002". The Indian Express. Archived from the original on 16 March 2012. Retrieved 19 February 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  19. ^ "International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) South Asian Terrorism Portal article". The Institute for Conflict Management. n.d. Archived from the original on 2009-03-10. Retrieved 2009-05-31. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  20. ^ Norton-Taylor, Richard (2001-03-01). "ISYF banned under new terror law". Guardian Unlimited. Archived from the original on 2005-04-28. Retrieved 2008-12-17. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  21. ^ "PROSCRIBED TERRORIST ORGANISATIONS" (PDF). Home Office. n.d. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-06-14. Retrieved 2017-06-24. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  22. ^ Bolan, Kim (February 18, 2008). "Sikh leader solicits support". The Vancouver Sun. Archived from the original on June 3, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-31. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)

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