The banned pro-Khalistan group Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), led by Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, has offered a $10,000 reward for Australian citizen Wen Johnson, who breached security during the India-Australia ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 final.
However, top intelligence sources, according to News 18, have dismissed this as a "dirty trick" by the SFJ, asserting that Pannun, designated as a terrorist in India, employs such tactics to stake unwarranted claims. The SFJ's history of making claims without providing actual support or assistance has been emphasised by these sources.
Notably, Pannun had released a video a few days earlier, in which he threatened to 'shut down' the ICC World Cup final match. His remarks appeared to be aimed at provoking reactions from the Muslim and Sikh communities.
The pitch invader, Wen Johnson, donned a T-shirt with the message 'Stop Bombing Palestine' and entered the field at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. He attempted to hug Indian batsman Virat Kohli before being apprehended by security.
Johnson was subsequently arrested and taken to the Chand Kheda Police station. In custody, he expressed his motive as wanting to meet Kohli and convey support for Palestine.
The act of political sloganeering is prohibited at cricket games, and despite being a foreign national, the consequences for Johnson remain unclear. The ICC prohibits political sloganeering during its events, and such actions are also disallowed in India.
Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a US citizen, has a history of misusing his access in the UK and Canada, being involved in acts of terrorism in multiple countries.
Earlier, he had offered a cash reward for the "citizen's arrest" of Indian High Commissioner Sanjay Verma, accusing Verma of diverting attention from the investigation into the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Pannun's alleged funding by Pakistan's ISI has been reported by top intelligence sources.
Pannun recently claimed that "Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has created more open conversations around India and its handling of the Khalistani independence movement."
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