International Sikh Youth Federation

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International Sikh Youth Federation
Active region(s) India
Ideology Khalistan
Status India Under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act designated as terrorist organisation by the Government of India[1]

The International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) is a proscribed organisation that aims to establish an independent homeland for the Sikhs of India in Khalistan.[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][6][10]

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]


There are allegations that the ISYF has long been supported by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence organisation.[17]

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. ^ a b "Proscribed terrorist groups". UK Office for Security and Counter Terrorism. Retrieved 2009-05-24. 
  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. 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. 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. 
  16. ^ "International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) South Asian Terrorism Portal article". The Institute for Conflict Management. n.d. Retrieved 2009-05-31.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)

External links[edit]