International Sikh Youth Federation
|International Sikh Youth Federation|
|Leader(s)||Lakhbir Singh Rode|
|Dates of operation||1987 – present|
|Motives||The creation of a Sikh independent state of Khalistan|
|Major actions||Assassinations, bombings and abductions|
|Means of revenue||Sikh diaspora|
|Designated as a terrorist group by|
|Canada, European Union, India, Japan, United States|
The International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) is a proscribed organisation that aims to establish an independent homeland for the Sikhs of India in Khalistan. It is banned as a terrorist organisation under Australian, European Union, Japanese, Indian, Canadian and American counter-terrorism legislation. Government of India has declared it a terrorist organisation. While banned, the organization continues to receive financial support from Sikh extremists based in Canada, the United States, and the UK.
History and activities
The 1985 bombing of Air India Flight 182 off Ireland, the deadliest aircraft terror attack until the September 11, 2001 attacks, and the attempted bombing of Air India Flight 301, were allegedly carried out by Sikh extremists. Inderjit Singh Reyat, a member of the ISYF, was found guilty of manslaughter for making the bombs and had to spend more than 20 years in prison at Canada, and is the only individual convicted in these attacks as of 9 Feb 2009.
ISYF members have engaged in terrorist attacks, assassinations, and bombings against both Indian figures and moderate Sikhs opposing them. The organisation has also collaborated and associated with other Sikh terrorist organisations, including Babbar Khalsa, the Khalistan Liberation Force, and Khalistan Commando Force.
Lord Bassam of Brighton, then Home Office minister, stated that ISYF members working from the UK had committed "assassinations, bombings and kidnappings" and were a "threat to national security." In 2001 it was proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the British government for its attacks.
Jasbir Singh Rode was the nephew of Bhindranwale and member of fundamentalist Sikh organisation Damdami Taksal. After Operation Bluestar while in Pakistan Rode used the Sikh shrines at Pakistan to make anti-India speeches and provoked the audience to attack the Indian diplomats who were present. Rode then arrived in the United Kingdom in August 1984.
On 23 September 1984, at a meeting in Walsall, The formation of International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) was announced by Harpal Singh and Jasbir Singh Rode. The group had a 51-member panel headed by Pargat Singh.. But, by December 1984, Rode was expelled from the UK for publicly advocating violent methods in support of the Khalistan movement.
Rode Then flew around seeking asylum, and was arrested in Manila by the Indian authorities in a chase across Thailand and Philippines. He was imprisoned for two years in India. Upon his release, he moderated, now advocating pursuing constitutional changes within Indian framework. This mode disappointed many of his followers and created a rift in the UK branches roughly along north/south lines: the northern branches known as ISYF (Rode) followed Rode's moderate stance while the southern branches instead followed Dr. Sohan Singh.
The current leader of ISYF, Lakhbir Singh Rode, is sought for trial in India. He is wanted in cases of arms smuggling, conspiracy to attack government leaders in New Delhi and spreading religious hatred in Punjab. Per Indian sources, he is currently living in Lahore, Pakistan. 
There are allegations made by sources from the Indian based website the South Asian Terrorism portal that the ISYF has been supported by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence organisation.[clarification needed]
In February 2001, the United Kingdom banned twenty-one groups, including the ISYF, under the Terrorism Act 2000. The ISYF was removed from the list of proscribed groups in March 2016 "following receipt of an application to deproscribe the organisation".
In June 2003, Canada banned the organisation. The Vancouver Sun reported in February 2008 that Singhs were campaigning to have both the Babbar Khalsa and International Sikh Youth Federation delisted as terrorist organisations. The article went on to state that the Public Safety Minister had never been approached by anyone lobbying to delist the banned groups and said, "the decision to list organisations such as Babbar Khalsa, Babbar Khalsa International and the International Sikh Youth Federation as terrorist entities under the Criminal Code is intended to protect Canada and Canadians from terrorism".
The ISYF was added to the US Treasury Department terrorism list on June 27, 2002. In April 2004, the United States added four organisations, including the ISYF, to its terror list, allowing the US to deny entry (and to deport) any of its members.
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