International Sikh Youth Federation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
International Sikh Youth Federation
Active region(s) India
Ideology Khalistan
Status Under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act designated as terrorist organisation by the Government of India[1]

The International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF), formed in response to the 'illegal' Indian occupation of Punjab, is a formerly proscribed organisation in the UK. The goal of the ISYF is to establish an independent homeland for the Sikhs of India in Khalistan in light of decades of oppression, genocidal campaigns, censorship, and human rights abuses.

In March 2016 the UK government accepted that the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) did not meet that statutory definition of a proscribed organisation and therefore an order to lift the ban on the ISYF was placed in Parliament. Both the House of Commons and Lords debated this issue and unanimously agreed to lift the ban.

This was a historic decision was the ISYF were the first and only organisation to be deproscribed by the choice of the Government. Many Sikhs around the world saw this as a major victory and vindication of the struggle for Sikh Independence and celebrate the exposing of Indian state oppression and mass human rights abuses from 1984 to 1995.

Sikhs in Canada, the United States, and India will now look to follow up and request the bans to be lifted in those countries following the decision by the UK government, who said they would be sharing their decision and intelligence with other foreign governments.[2]

It is banned under Japanese,[3] British,[4][5][6] Indian,[5] Canadian[5][7] and American[8] terrorism legislation.[9]


In February 2001, the United Kingdom banned twenty-one groups, including the ISYF, under a new terrorism law.[4][10] Removed for the list in 2016.[citation needed]

In 2002, the ISYF was banned in India.[5]

In June 2003, Canada banned the organisation.[7][11]

The ISYF was added to the US Treasury Department terrorism list on June 27, 2002.[8] 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.[8][9]

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".[12]

History and activities[edit]

In 1984, the All India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF) started the ISYF in the United Kingdom as an international branch.[7][11]

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 is the only individual convicted in these attacks as of 9 Feb 2009. [13] [14] [15]

ISYF members have engaged in terrorist attacks, assassinations, and bombings against both Indian figures and moderate Sikhs opposing them.[11] The organisation has also collaborated and associated with other Sikh terrorist organisations, including Babbar Khalsa,[7] the Khalistan Liberation Force,[11] and Khalistan Commando Force.[11]

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."[13]


Pargat Singh founded the ISYF, under the patronage of Jasbir Singh Rode.[10]

Rode had arrived in the United Kingdom in August 1984 but, by December 1984, was expelled for publicly advocating violent methods in support of the Khalistan movement.[16] Rode returned to India, where he was imprisoned without trial until 1988.[16] Upon his release, he moderated, now advocating pursuing constitutional changes within India.[16] This created a rift in the UK branches roughly along north/south lines: the northern branches followed Rode's moderate stance while the southern branches instead followed Dr. Sohan Singh.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Terrorism Act 2000". Ministry of Home Affairs (India). Retrieved May 20, 2012. 
  2. ^ "International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF)". Institute for Conflict Management. Retrieved 18 July 2015. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b Norton-Taylor, Richard (2001-03-01). "ISYF banned under new terror law". Guardian Unlimited. 
  5. ^ a b c d Shani, Giorgio (2007). Sikh Nationalism and Identity in a Global Age. Routledge. p. 82. ISBN 978-0-415-42190-4. 
  6. ^ Schedule 2, Terrorism Act 2000, Act No. 11 of 2000
  7. ^ a b c d "Currently listed entities". Government of Canada. 2009-04-06. 
  8. ^ a b c "What You Need To Know About U.S. Sanctions" (PDF). U.S. Department of Treasury. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-09-10. Retrieved 2009-05-24. 
  9. ^ a b "Indian groups join US terror list". BBC News. 2004-04-30. 
  10. ^ a b Carol R. Ember, Melvin Ember, Ian A. Skoggard, Human Relations Area Files (2004). Encyclopedia of diasporas: immigrant and refugee cultures around the world. Springer. p. 1089. ISBN 978-0-306-48321-9. 
  11. ^ a b c d e Hamilton, Dwight; Rimsa, Kostas (2007). Terror Threat: International and Homegrown Terrorists and Their Threat to Canada. Dundurn Press. pp. 206–207. ISBN 978-1-55002-736-5. 
  12. ^ Bolan, Kim (February 18, 2008). "Sikh leader solicits support". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 2009-05-31. 
  13. ^ Bolan, Kim (February 9, 2008). "Air India bombmaker sent to holding centre". Ottawa Citizen. Archived from the original on November 9, 2012. Retrieved 2009-05-31. 
  14. ^ "Convicted Air India bomb-builder Inderjit Singh Reyat gets bail". CBC News. July 9, 2008. Retrieved 2009-06-10.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  15. ^ a b c d Lauterpacht, Elihu; Greenwood, C. J.; Oppenheimer, A. G. (1998). International Law Reports. Cambridge University Press. p. 395. ISBN 978-0-521-58070-0. 

External links[edit]