India Terrorism Suspect Arrested in Minnesota
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A man suspected of being India’s most wanted terrorist was arrested at a Minnesota airport and faces deportation as an illegal alien, the Immigration and Naturalization Service said Friday.
Immigration agents arrested Daya Singh Sandhu, 33, alleged leader of the militant Khalistan Liberation Force, shortly after he landed at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Aug. 3.
The Khalistan Liberation Force, run by members of the Sikh religion, want a Sikh state in Punjab, where they are a slight majority. Sikh rebels began a separatist war in 1983, claiming religious and economic discrimination by India’s Hindu-dominated federal government.
Sikh extremists were responsible for the 1984 assassination of Indian Prime Minister Indira Ghandi after government forces attacked the Sikhs’ holiest shrine, the Golden Temple of Amritsar. At least 1,000 Sikhs and 200 soldiers were killed.
Also arrested in St. Paul were Sandhu’s wife, Kamaljeet Kaur, 25, and Pinder Brar, 32, an Indian citizen and Canadian immigrant who met the couple at the airport.
Child protective officials in the St. Paul are caring for Sandhu’s 6-year-old son, INS spokesman Russ Bergeron said.
Sandhu also has been charged with visa fraud, Meissner said. He is wanted in India in connection with several terrorist crimes, the INS said, including a September 1993 bus bombing that killed eight and wounded 29 others.
Indian authorities also believe he was involved in political kidnapping and arms trafficking, Meissner said.
Authorities suspect Sandu entered the United States at New York City last month using false identity papers, said Dean Hove, the INS’ acting district director in St. Paul.
``We think he was in transit to Canada,″ Hove said, possibly as part of a plan to relocate there.
``After the arrest, INS agents discovered evidence that Brar was planning to smuggle Sandhu and his family into Canada using yet another set of false identity documents,″ the INS said in a statement.
Sandhu is being held without bond by the INS pending deportation hearings. Bond for his wife was set at $50,000.
Brar also faces deportation and has been charged with possession and use of counterfeit documents. A federal judge in Minnesota has ordered his removal to North Dakota, where he is expected to stand trial on criminal charges.