Khalistan separatist leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun has threatened to assassinate Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to participate in the Republic Day parade on January 26 without security cover, The Indian Express reported on Tuesday.

Pannun is the founder of a group called Sikhs for Justice that advocates for Khalistan, an independent state for Sikhs. It is banned in India. Pannun was declared an “individual terrorist” under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act in 2020.

“I dare Modi, you come to Delhi without your security,” Pannun said in a video, according to The Indian Express. “If you are a popular leader, come to Delhi on Republic Day without security. The SFJ [Sikhs for Justice] will raise the Khalistani flag and avenge the killing of Shaheed [Hardeep Singh] Nijjar.”

Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh separatist leader, was killed by masked gunmen on June 18 near Vancouver, Canada. Months after the killing on September 18, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had told his country’s parliament that intelligence agencies were actively pursuing “credible allegations” tying agents of the Indian government to the death of Nijjar.

In another video, Pannun described Mann as a “butcher like Beant Singh” and asked gangsters not to allow the Punjab chief minister to unfurl the tricolour in Ludhiana on Republic Day. Singh was the former chief minister of Punjab who was assassinated by Khalistani terrorists in 1995.

Pannun also asked the gangsters to attack Mann, reported India Today. He also asked the youth to get in touch with his organisation and register themselves as voters for a referendum on Khalistan on January 26.

The separatist leader also equated Punjab’s Director General of Police Gaurav Yadav to assassinated police officer Gobind Ram, who was killed in a bomb blast in 1990.

After the threat, Yadav said that the police have “zero tolerance policy” against gangsters and vowed to take action against those who might attempt to assassinate Mann, reported NDTV.

In the past, Pannun had also threatened former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

On November 29, the United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York, announced that it had filed “murder-for-hire charges” against an Indian national in connection with his alleged participation in a thwarted plot to assassinate a Sikh separatist leader in the US.

While the statement did not name the separatist leader, a report in the Financial Times on November 23 identified him as Pannun.

Also read: Why are Sikhs abroad more pro-Khalistan than community members living in India?