Sikh activist 'threat to national security'

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The Independent Online
A LEADING Sikh independence campaigner's claim to political asylum was overridden by the interests of national security, counsel for the Home Office argued in the High Court yesterday.

Michael Beloff QC, said it was well established in British and international law that courts would not interfere with a decision to deport someone if adequate grounds of national security were presented.

Mr Beloff was opposing a plea by Karamjit Singh Chahal, 44, who has been held in custody in Britain 30 months while fighting for a court ruling quashing a deportation order and refusal by Kenneth Clarke, the Home Secretary, to grant him political asylum.

Mr Chahal, a British resident who is married with two children, also wants declarations that he is a refugee and will be exposed to a real risk of 'inhuman and degrading treatment' if returned to India. He claims he has already suffered torture there and is likely to do so again.

A statement by the Home Office Immigration and Nationality Department said Mr Chahal was a leading member of a London- based faction of the International Sikh Youth Federation. The faction had close links with Sikh terrorists in the Punjab.

Mr Chahal had 'a public history of violent involvement in Sikh terrorism', the statement said. He had been involved in planning and directing terrorist attacks in India, the UK and elsewhere.

His continued presence in Britain was 'not conducive to the public good for reasons of national security and other reasons of a political nature, namely, the fight against international terrorism', it said.

The hearing continues today.