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Canada places three Sikh, two Pak groups under terrorist list

June 19, 2003 10:56 IST

Canada has placed three Sikh groups with alleged links to the bombing of the Air India flight, which crashed off the Irish coast in 1985 killing all 329 passengers on board, and two Pakistani outfits to its list of terrorist organisations.

Solicitor General Wayne Easter said Babbar Khalsa, Babbar Khalsa International and the International Sikh Youth Federation have knowingly engaged in terrorist activities.

The Canadian government also banned Muslim militant groups Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

"The Government of Canada has determined that these entities knowingly engaged in terrorist activity," Easter said on Wednesday.

There are now 31 such entities listed under the anti-terrorism law.

The action means that belonging to the groups, raising money for them or aiding their activities could bring up to 10 years in prison.

According to court documents, one of the two men on trial in the Air India bombing case -- Ajaib Singh Bagri -- was a member of the Babbar Khalsa group.

The group was founded by Talwinder Singh Parmar, a one-time Burnsby resident, who was killed by the Indian police. He has been accused of being the mastermind behind the Kaniskha bombing and has been named as co-conspirator in the case.

Babbar Khalsa raised funds in Canada until its charitable status was revoked in mid 1990s.

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien has ordered a crackdown on several groups since the September 11 terror attacks in 2001 in the US. The ban has been stepped up after several members of the US Congress accused Canada of being lax in its crackdown of terrorist groups.

Under Canadian law, entities are added to the banned list by a Cabinet order, following a recommendation by the solicitor general. The allows for appeals and any banned group can apply to be taken off the list.

Financial assets of the organisation and those who deal with them can also be seized and fortified.

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