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  • Khalistan
The incident has been barely or not at all reported by the italian press. Italy is at the moment too busy with the pandemic, the unpteenth crisis in the Government and the Holocaust Memorial Day to be attentive to such 'small' incidents. Without thinking of course that these sort of incidents come from very far and are just the tip of an iceberg. Ithe news first: in Rome, someone painted the slogan “Khalistan Zindabad” on the facade of the local Indian embassy and put up several pro-Khalistan flags and banners at the gate, just ahead of Republic Day. Pages of the Indian Constituiton were thorn and thrown in the street. The vandalizers filmed all the incident, and the video was doing rounds on social media. A similar incident happened in Vancouver, canada, and India lodged formal protests with the Governments of the two countries. Italy, like Canada, has a large Sikh community, actually the biggest in Europe after UK: 150.000 people more or less, of which almost half are supposed to be illegal immigrants. Many, especially in the past few years, are asylum seekers: a thin but constant stream of people arriving in Naples or other ports not on random boats but in style and with all their papaers in place, including the request for political asylum already filled and compiled by a lawyer. There are no official datas yet about the number of requests being actually accepted by Italian authorities, but most likely they will accept almost all requests mainly because in Italy the concept of 'Sikh terrorism' is widely unknown. The Sikh community in Italy is perceived, and largely is, as a peaceful, well integrated comunity of hard working and well respected people. There are more than thirty Gurudwaras in Italy, the biggest one (the second largest in Europe) being built in Novellara, near Reggio Emilia, financed by a loan of the local Banca Agricola Mantovana. But something has been changing in the past few years. It started when, many years ago, Sant Ramanandas Dass, a Sikh guru, was killed in Vienna. His killer, according to sources closed to the italian intelligence, had stopped in Italy before his trip to Vienna. And, according to the same sources, in Italy there are many members of the Sikh community still closed to the Babbar Khalsa, a group listed as a terrorist group by the European Union. Their activities, however, went largely undetected and unknown to the the rest of the country. Again: for the majority of Italians, the perception of the Sikh community is, unlike other communities, largely positive. And nevermind if representatives of the community started a couple of years ago to join regularly not so peaceful demostrations held by members of the Pakistani community in Italy. The protesters always took great care not to show their real face. They would shout slogans in urdu and punjabi, in fact, while screaming in english only 'we want peace'. Meanwhile, in the past two years, Italy had become a very active center for propaganda of an organisation called 'Sikh for Justice'. Avtar Singh Pannu, Coordinator of the group, has been in touch with heads of Gurudwaras of Italy, and used the functions organised in the various Gurudwaras during the 550th birthday celebrations of Guru Nanak to undertake this political task. Pannu has urged Gurudwaras to raise volunteers who could distribute voter registration forms, organise sessions to promote a separatist referendum, popularise the map of Khalistan and started a fund raising. Moreover, Committee Members of Gurudwara Shree Hargobind Sahib in Leno, Brescia has been actively propagating the campaign. In fact some of these members are even visiting Sikh families living in the areas of Bergamo and Brescia to 'educate ' them on the referendum and collect funds for the exercise. Another Gurudwara in Cremona (Gurdwara Shaheed Baba Deep Singh) has also been campaigning for the organisation. The channels and the transferring networks used for fund raising and recruiting of people are the same used by various jihadi organisations linked to Pakistan. Interestingly enough, the same networks appeared in the investigations for the death of six hindu leadears in Punjab in 2018. According to Italian sources, beside random citizens of Indian and Pakistani origin, Pakistani Consulates in Italy have been also actively working on this. This last incident should ring more than a bell in Italy. Pakistani army and intelligence agencies have for years been particularly active in infiltrating agents, creating pressure groups and lobbying at both the institutional and academic levels throughout Europe and the rest of the world. In Italy, jihadi groups are thriving with the connivence of local mafia, despite the alarms occasionally raised by intelligence agencies. How long will it take before Italy will become not only an economic and recruting hub but also a battlefield for Pakistan funded and baked terrorist groups?