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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 March 2006, 16:49 GMT
Sikh separatist remanded in India
By Asit Jolly
BBC News in Chandigarh

Sikhs alongside picture of dead militant Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale
Sikhs have called for a national homeland
Sikh separatist leader Jagjit Singh Chohan has been remanded in police custody after appearing in court in the city of Amritsar.

The court remanded him in judicial custody until 22 March.

Mr Chohan was arrested on charges of sedition in his village home in Hoshiarpur district on Wednesday.

Police said he had hoisted a flag asserting a separate nationhood for the Sikhs. Calls for a Sikh homeland have led to violence in India in the past.

'President-in-exile'

A senior Punjab police official told the BBC that the latest charges against Jagjit Singh Chohan related to a recent television interview in which he displayed a Khalistan flag on top of his home.

The TV report also showed illegal Khalistani currency notes in his possession.

A well known protagonist of separate nationhood for the Sikhs through the 1980s and 1990s while living in London, Mr Chohan had declared himself president-in-exile of Khalistan.

He had even drafted detailed maps of his vision of a Sikh homeland and published Khalistani currency notes.

After more than a decade in exile, during which his Indian passport was also revoked, Mr Chohan returned to his native village in Hoshiarpur district in 2001.

His return was made possible after the high court at Chandigarh directed the federal government to issue him travel documents.

Though initially subdued after his return, the separatist leader has resumed "secessionist demands" in recent years, police say.

Last year, he was also charged with sedition after he allegedly called for the creation of Khalistan in his address to a gathering of Sikhs at the Golden Temple in Amritsar city.


SEE ALSO:
Grenades found at Golden Temple
10 Jan 06 |  South Asia
Sikh militant cells 'neutralised'
20 Jun 05 |  South Asia
Wanted Sikh held over Delhi bombs
08 Jun 05 |  South Asia
Why Sikh row dogs Bollywood film
23 May 05 |  South Asia


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