US authorities have halted a plot aimed at assassinating prominent Sikh separatist figure Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. The prevented conspiracy, reported by The Financial Times, has raised concerns over potential involvement by the Indian government.

The plot came to light after a protest lodged with Indian officials following the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to the US in June. However, the exact connection between the protest and the abandonment of the plot remains uncertain.

India’s foreign ministry and the US embassy in New Delhi have offered no immediate response to the allegations.

US federal prosecutors have reportedly filed a sealed indictment against at least one suspect in a New York district court.

The Financial Times identifies Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, an advocate for the creation of Khalistan, an independent Sikh homeland separate from India, as the intended target. Pannun has not confirmed whether US authorities personally warned him about the plot.

Pannun has expressed his intention to allow the US government to handle threats on his life from alleged Indian operatives within the United States.

In a video posted on 19 November, Pannun called on Sikhs worldwide to abstain from flying with Air India on that specific date, citing danger to one’s life. Speaking in a mix of Punjabi and English, Pannun’s video has prompted authorities to examine the possibility of real threats against the airline.

The activist’s call for a boycott strained diplomatic relations that have been tense since September when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau publicly alleged credible evidence linking India to the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a prominent Canadian Sikh leader, in British Columbia.

India promptly rejected the accusations made by Canada.

Pannun’s video directly targeted a prominent symbol of India’s aviation sector. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said they are investigating the threats against India’s national airline.

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun denied that his comments constituted a threat against the airline. Instead, Pannun stressed that he only called for a peaceful global boycott of Air India within the Sikh community, urging supporters to choose alternatives like Air Canada and British Airways.