Paramjeet Singh was arrested by SEF border and immigration inspectors on an extradition request issued by Interpol.
He is wanted by India for alleged involvement in bomb attacks carried out in 2010 in the Patiala and Ambala regions, as well as being accused of being behind the murder of the leader of the national Hindu movement in 2009.
In a statement SEF said the Interpol warrant describes Singh, who is in his 40s, as a “dangerous and violent” man.
Singh’s Interpol sheet says he is wanted by the judicial authorities of India for prosecution and/or to serve a sentence, for charges of a terrorist act, murder and unlawful activities.
Reports in Portugal claim Singh, who is said to be a staunch defender of the Punjab independence movement, had just arrived in the Algarve with his wife and four young children for a short break, when he was arrested by SEF inspectors at an Algarve hotel.
Speaking to newspaper Diário de Notícias, New York-based lawyer Gurpatwat Pannun, who defends cases involving members of the Sikh community, said the Indian “has been living as a political refugee in the UK for the past 20 years and the terrorism accusations are false.”
“He is not a terrorist. The accusations from India are politically motivated”, accused Pannun, who was due to travel to Portugal to oversee the case and says he hopes Singh is not extradited by Évora.
“Any Sikh who defends Punjab independence risks having an accusation of this type in India”, Pannun claimed.
Singh’s extradition is also contested by the Sikh Council UK, an organisation which defends the religious community in the UK.
In a post on Facebook the Sikh Council UK said it is “concerned about the welfare of Paramjeet Singh who was arrested in Portugal and faces possible deportation to India.”
“As many are aware of the case of Paramjeet Singh from the UK who has been arrested in Portugal under international Interpol law. Paramjeet Singh and his family reside in UK and were awarded indefinite leave to remain as refugee under UK/international human rights laws”, the Council elaborated, adding “Members of Sikh Council have been in liaison directly with Paramjeet Singh who is currently in custody of Immigration in Portugal.”
The council further said it is “in close contact with Singh’s wife; Contact has been made with the British Consulate in Portugal”, and “the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have been alerted with full details.”
In comments to The Portugal News, the British Embassy in Portugal explained “as Mr. Singh is not a British national we are not providing consular assistance.”