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Implementation of UNSC Resolution 1373_A Farce

In 1983, the INTERPOL, then based in Paris, had issued a red corner alert to all its member-countries to arrest Talwinder Singh Parmar, then the leader of the Babbar Khalsa, Canada (since killed by the Punjab Police in an encounter in 1992), if he was found in their territory and to inform the Govt. of India.

He was wanted in India in connection with the murder of a number of Nirankaris (religious personalities) and his suspected involvement in plots by Sikh terrorists to have Mrs.Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, assassinated.

2. The West German Police had circulated copies of the alert to all its police stations and border and immigration posts. One of its Constables, while making a routine check of the papers of passengers in a train going from Switzerland to West Germany, found Parmar amongst them. He immediately arrested him, removed him from the train and informed his headquarters.

3. The Police immediately informed the INTERPOL in Paris who, in turn, alerted the Govt. of India. New Delhi thanked the West German Government for the action taken and moved for his extradition to India. The necessary papers were rushed to Bonn, the then capital of West Germany. The Govt. of India's request to depute a lawyer of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to Bonn to appear directly before the court handling the extradition case was not accepted by Bonn. Instead, it assured New Delhi that one of its prosecutors would handle the case on behalf of the Govt. of India. The prosecutor, after going through the papers sent by the CBI, asked for more papers.

4. In the meanwhile, Sikh extremist elements based in West Germany mounted pressure on Bonn through their local political contacts for his release . One day, the Govt. of India, which was under the impression that he was still in jail in West Germany since the extradition proceedings had not yet been completed, was surprised to receive a cable from the Indian Consul-General in Vancouver, Canada, that Parmar had addressed a religious congregation in a local gurudwara during which he had held out fresh threats to have Mrs. Gandhi assassinated.

5. When the Indian Embassy in Bonn checked up with the West German Foreign Office, the latter told it that the prosecutor had advised that the case against him was weak and that he had, therefore, been released and expelled to Canada. The Govt. of India strongly protested over the clandestine manner in which he had been sent back to Canada without the courtesy of waiting for the additional papers sought by the prosecutor and without informing it.

6.The West German Government justified its action, but at the same time tried to assuage the anger of New Delhi by assuring that it had banned Parmar from entering West Germany again.

7. That was 18 yeas before the horrendous events of 9/11. International co-operation in acting against terrorism and mutual legal assistance in bringing terrorists to trial were then more an exception than the rule. Decisions in terrorism-related cases were taken by Western Governments more on political than on professional grounds.

8. One thought that the world had become wiser post-9/11 and realised that by withholding such co-operation on political and other extraneous grounds and by failing to act unitedly against terrorists and States sponsoring them, the international community was only playing into the hands of terrorists.