|Sikh asylum-seeker in US charged with terrorism plot in India and immigration fraud
A 39-year-old Indian who received asylum in the US from India has been arrested in northern Nevada and accused of helping to plot terror strikes in the Punjab region, federal officials said Wednesday.
The arrest on Tuesday of Balwinder Singh disrupted his support of two terrorist organizations, the Babbar Khalsa International and Khalistan Zindabad Force, US Attorney Daniel Bogden and FBI Special Agent in Charge Laura Bucheit said in Reno.
The two groups aim to establish an independent Sikh state in the Khalistan region, the officials said, AP reports.
“We will continue to work with our international partners to prevent acts of terrorism on US soil or, as in this case, on that of an ally,'' Bucheit said.
Singh was indicted Wednesday in US District Court in Reno on charges of conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, and a total of four counts of falsifying an immigration document, immigration fraud and unlawful production of an identification document.
Singh, who officials say also uses the names Baljit Singh, Jhajj, Happy and Possi, is due for an initial court appearance Friday in federal court in Reno. He could face life in prison if he is convicted.
The indictment alleges that the conspiracy began before November 1997.
Singh is accused of seeking asylum in San Francisco using a false identity and obtaining false ID documents in the US to enable him to elude Indian authorities when traveling back to his home country.
In 1999, Singh applied for and later obtained a permanent resident card in the US, according to the indictment.
He is accused of being a member of the two organizations, referred to as the BKI and KZF; telephoning and wiring money to co-conspirators in India for the purchase of weapons; and traveling to Pakistan, India and other countries for meetings to plan terrorist acts.
The groups allegedly engage in bombings, kidnappings and murders in India. The indictment says the US State Department lists the BKI as a terrorist organization, and the European Union has designated the KZF as a terror group.