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The Khalistan Commando Force (KCF) is a Sikh militant organisation operating in the Indian state of Punjab with prominent members based in Canada, the United Kingdom and Pakistan.[3][4][5] Its objective is the creation of a Sikh independent state of Khalistan through armed struggle. According to the US State Department,[6] and the Assistant Inspector General of the Punjab Police Intelligence Division,[7] the KCF was responsible for many assassinations in India, including the 1995 assassination of Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh.[6] The Government of India has declared and banned KCF as a terrorist organisation.[2]

Khalistan Commando Force
Leader(s)Manbir Singh Chaheru (1987)
Labh Singh  (1987–1988)
Kanwaljit Singh Sultanwind (1988–1989)
Paramjit Singh Panjwar[1]
Dates of operation1987– Present
MotivesThe creation of a Sikh independent state of Khalistan through armed struggle
Active region(s)India
Designated as a terrorist group by
India[2]

Contents

Objective

The creation of a Sikh independent state of Khalistan through armed struggle is their primary goal. KCF primarily targeted Indian security forces including CRPF, BSF and other police forces. It targeted Hindus and even the Sikhs who were against of the Khalistan movement. The primary source of funding of KCF is looting, bank robbery and extortion. It is also involved in large scale smuggling of weapons from Pakistan to India across the International border.[8]

Formation and leadership

The Khalistan Commando Force was founded by Manbir Singh Chaheru in August 1986.[9][10][11]

The group later broke into multiple factions. The rump of the organisation was retained by KCF (Zaffarwal). The small splinters joined different militant alliances.[12]

On 8 August 1986, Punjab Police arrested Manbir Singh Chaheru ("Hari Singh"), and he was eventually killed[13][14] or disappeared[15] while in police custody. After Chaheru was arrested, former police officer Sukhdev Singh, also known as Sukha Sipahi, took command of the KCF. Sukhdev Singh changed his name to Labh Singh and assumed the title of "General".

After his death the KCF was headed by Kanwarjit Singh Sultanwind[16][17] On 18 October 1989, Kanwarjit Singh Sultanwind,[18] and another two KCF members were arrested by police near Jalandhar. While one member managed to escape, Kanwarjit Singh Sultanwind, then 23 years old, swallowed a cyanide capsule to avoid giving information about the group.[18]

Decline

Operation Black Thunder against the sikh militants in Golden Temple greatly degraded the capability of KCF to conduct operations.[8] Police killed Labh Singh on 12 July 1988.[19] His loss damaged the organisation. After his death, the Khalistan Commando Force split into factions including those led by Wassan Singh Zaffarwal, Paramjit Singh Panjwar and Gurjant Singh Rajasthani.[20]

Another result of Labh Singh's death was the failure of the Khalistan Commando Force - Babbar Khalsa alliance, as the relationship established by Labh Singh and Sukhdev Singh Babbar was lost.[21]

Police and other Indian security forces caught or killed Lieutenant Generals and Area Commanders, and eventually crushed many of the factions.[22]

Activities

1980s

The organisation battled Indian military forces, especially in revenge for Operation Blue Star, the government's 1984 military operation in the Harimandir Sahib (Golden Temple) in Amritsar.[citation needed]

It assassinated General Arun Vaidya, who led the Indian forces in Operation Blue Star.[23]

It also attacked sellers of alcohol, cigarettes, and other items prohibited by conservative Sikhism.[24]

Sikh militants from Khalistan Commando Force attacked two buses. They singled out and killed 34 Hindu bus passengers in 1987 Haryana killings.

1990s

After the major defeats of the KCF in the late 1980s, the group continued its struggle into the 1990s.[citation needed]

A June 1991 attack on a passenger train in northwestern Punjab killed about fifty, mostly Hindu, passengers.[25]

A September 1993 bombing in New Delhi targeting Indian Youth Congress president Maninderjeet Singh Bitta that killed eight people.[26]

On 9 October 1992, Harjinder Singh Jinda and Sukhdev Singh Sukha, alleged assassins of General Arun Vaidya, were hanged until death in Pune jail.[27][28]

Police also killed thousands of suspects in staged shootouts and burned thousands of dead bodies to cover up the murders.[29][30]

The KCF was listed in 1995 one of the 4 "major militant groups" in the Khalistan movement.[31]

2000s

In June 2006 a member of the Panjwar faction of the KCF, Kulbir Singh Barapind was extradited from the US to India. He was deported to India for belonging to a terrorist organisation and for entering the United States with a false passport. He was wanted in India for thirty-two cases, but was arrested for three murders in the early 1990s.[32] After his arrest, he stated that he would renew the Khalistan movement through peaceful means.[33]

The investigation began in 2003, when Khalid Awan, jailed at the time for credit card fraud, bragged of his relationship with Paramjeet Singh Panjwar, leader of the KCF.[6] Awan was given a 14-year prison sentence in 2007 on terrorism charges.[34]

In 2008, Punjab Police announced they had foiled a KCF effort to kill Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, head of Dera Sacha Sauda.[35][36]

Status

Paramjeet Singh Panjwar remained the head of the remaining faction of the KCF as of 2008, and was listed at that time as one of the top 10 most wanted criminals in India.[37]

The University of Maryland beta version of the "Global Terrorism Database" has recorded 2 attacks on military targets, 9 attacks on police or other government targets, and 9 attacks against civilian, religious, transportation or educational entities, in both India and Pakistan, as of June 2009.[38]

The KCF remains banned in India under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and designated as terrorist organisation by the Government of India.[2][39]

A 2011 NPR report claimed a person associated with this group was imprisoned in a highly restrictive Communication Management Unit in the US.[40]

See also

References

  1. ^ Paramjit Singh Panjwar (Khalistan Commando Force) The Indian Express, 4 December 2008
  2. ^ a b c "List of Banned Organisations". Ministry of Home Affairs, GoI. Government of India. Archived from the original on 3 May 2018. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  3. ^ Martin, Gus (17 February 2006). "Khalistan+Commando+Force"+%2B+"Terrorist" "Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives, and Issues". SAGE. ISBN 9781412927222. Retrieved 8 January 2019. Included among the many Sikh terrorist groups are Dal Khalsa, Bhindranwale Tiger Force, Saheed Khalsa Force, the Khalistan Liberation Front, and the Khalistan Commando Force.
  4. ^ Crenshaw, Martha (1 November 2010). "Terrorism in Context". Penn State Press. ISBN 9780271044422. Retrieved 8 January 2019. in the early 1992, Khalistan Commando force had 63 subgroups... for a total of 167 terrorist groups.
  5. ^ Thussu, Daya Kishan (2012). South Asia and the Frontline of the ‘War on Terror’. SAGE Publications Ltd. pp. 167–183. doi:10.4135/9781446288429.n10. Retrieved 8 January 2019. ...was led by such terrorist organizations as the Khalistan Commando Force.
  6. ^ a b c "U.S. Court Convicts Khalid Awan for Supporting Khalistan Commando Force". Embassy of the United States in New Delhi, India. 20 December 2006. Archived from the original on 11 December 2008. Retrieved 30 May 2009.
  7. ^ "Law Enforcement Cases: International Narcotics Control Strategy Report: Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs". US Department of State. March 2008. Retrieved 8 June 2009.
  8. ^ a b Fair, C. Christine, Sumit Ganguly (29 September 2008). Treading on Hallowed Ground: Counterinsurgency Operations in Sacred Spaces. Oxford University Press. p. 42. ISBN 9780199711895. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  9. ^ Encyclopedia of modern worldwide ... - Google Books. Books.google.com. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
  10. ^ Fighting for faith and nation ... - Google Books. Books.google.com. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
  11. ^ Violence as political discourse - Google Books. Books.google.com. 13 October 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
  12. ^ Fair, C. Christine; Ganguly, Šumit (September 2008). Treading on hallowed ground: counterinsurgency operations in sacred spaces. Oxford University Press US. pp. 41–. ISBN 978-0-19-534204-8. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  13. ^ The Journal of Commonwealth & comparative politics by Taylor & Francis. Books.google.com. 12 June 2008. Archived from the original on 27 June 2014. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
  14. ^ "The Killings In Sangrur Jail". Ihro. June 2009. Archived from the original on 8 October 2007.
  15. ^ Mahmood, Cynthia Keppley (1997). Fighting for Faith and Nation: Dialogues with Sikh Militants (illustrated ed.). University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 314. ISBN 978-0-8122-1592-2.
  16. ^ "800 years of Sultanwind". Punjab Heritage. 28 July 2006. Archived from the original on 2 August 2009. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
  17. ^ Terror in the mind of God: the ... - Google Books. Books.google.com. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
  18. ^ a b Juergensmeyer, Mark (2003). "The Sword of Sikhism". Terror in the mind of God (3 ed.). University of California Press. p. 95. ISBN 978-0-520-24011-7. Retrieved 18 June 2009.
  19. ^ Terrorism in context - Page 399. Books.google.com. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
  20. ^ Terrorism & It's Effects - various - Google Books. Books.google.com. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  21. ^ Genesis of terrorism: an analytical study of Punjab terrorists. Patriot. 1988. Retrieved 9 August 2009. ...(KCF) which is headed by General Labh Singh alias Sukhdev Singh alias Sukha Sipahi. Perhaps he continued to maintain his links with the Babbar Khalsa also.
  22. ^ Terrorism in context - Martha Crenshaw - Google Books. Books.google.com. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  23. ^ Mahmood, Cynthia Keppley (1997). Fighting for Faith and Nation: Dialogues with Sikh Militants (illustrated ed.). University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 155. ISBN 978-0-8122-1592-2.
  24. ^ Brown, Derek. Fanatical Sikhs turn on traders, The Guardian, 8 April 1987.
  25. ^ Ravi Sharma, Massacre on passenger trains turns routine trip nightmare, United Press International, 16 June 1991.
  26. ^ Three Sikh militant factions claim Delhi blast, Agence France-Presse 13 September 1993.
  27. ^ McGirk, Tim (10 October 1992). "Protests after hanging of Sikhs". The Independent. London.
  28. ^ "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Punjab". Tribuneindia.com. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  29. ^ "India: Who killed the Sikhs". World News Australia. 3 April 2002.
  30. ^ Special Broadcasting Service :: Dateline - presented by George Negus Archived 28 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ Martha Crenshaw, ed. (1 January 1995). Terrorism in Context. Pennsylvania State University Press. p. 394 and others. ISBN 978-0-271-01015-1. Retrieved 30 May 2009.
  32. ^ Kulbir Singh sent to police custody, The Times of India, 19 June 2006.
  33. ^ Zee News, India, "Judicial remand of Khalistan militant extended till 27 July" 14 July 2006
  34. ^ Pak-Canadian jailed for aiding Khalistan ultras The Sunday Indian, 4 April 2012
  35. ^ "Plot to kill Sikh Dera chief foiled: Police". India Today. 9 November 2008.
  36. ^ "Punjab police sniff out major KCF plan to kill Dera chief - Times of India". The Times of India. 9 November 2008.
  37. ^ "8) Paramjit Singh Panjwar". rediff.com. 24 June 2008. Retrieved 19 June 2009.
  38. ^ "Khalistan Commando Force search at Beta UM terrorism database". University of Maryland. Retrieved 20 June 2009.
  39. ^ "Terrorism Act 2000". Ministry of Home Affairs (India). Archived from the original on 28 September 2010. Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  40. ^ DATA & GRAPHICS: Population Of The Communications Management Units, page 8/15. Margot Williams and Alyson Hurt, NPR, 3 March 2011, retrieved 4 March 2011 from npr.org