Terrorist or Militant: Indian Express editor’s faux-pa exposes editorial line, leaves netizens fuming

The Indian Express later made edits to their article, removing mention of Avtar Khanda’s father and his association with Khalistani terrorist organizations

New Delhi | Updated: 17 June, 2023 3:02 pm IST
The recent oversight in referring to Avtar Singh Khanda as a 'militant' instead of a 'terrorist' is not an isolated incident.

NEW DELHI: The Indian Express faced backlash for an oversight in their report on the death of Avtar Singh Khanda, a Khalistani extremist. The publication failed to remove an editorial note that instructed the writer to refer to Khanda as a ‘militant’ rather than a ‘terrorist’. The issue gained attention when a screenshot of the report was shared on Twitter by a user named ‘Woke Janta’.

https://twitter.com/WokeJanta/status/1669670710610997251

Avtar Singh Khanda, aged 38, recently passed away in a Birmingham hospital in the UK after being admitted for an alleged poisoning incident. He had been under investigation by the NIA for his suspected involvement in the attack on the Indian High Commission in London in March.

The Indian Express later made edits to their article, removing mention of Avtar Khanda’s father and his association with Khalistani terrorist organizations. The revised version now refers to Khanda as a ‘well-known pro-Khalistan activist’. The original article can be accessed in its archived form, while the updated version reflects these changes.

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The recent oversight in referring to Avtar Singh Khanda as a ‘militant’ instead of a ‘terrorist’ is not an isolated incident, pointed out netizens.

Avtar Singh Khanda hailed from Punjab’s Moga district and was the son of Kulwant Singh Khukrana, a known associate of terrorist organizations Khalistan Liberation Force and Khalistan Commando Force. Khanda himself was affiliated with the Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar and was also linked to the banned Khalistani group, Babbar Khalsa International (BKI). BKI is prohibited in various countries, including Canada, the US, the UK, and India.

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During his time in London, Khanda played a role in supporting and nurturing Amritpal Singh, a chief terrorist of the organization Waris Punjab De (WPD). He mentored Amritpal and prepared him for leadership within WPD before sending him to Punjab. Additionally, Khanda assisted Amritpal Singh in evading the Punjab police during a crackdown on WPD activities.

Conflicting reports have emerged regarding the circumstances of Khanda’s death. While some media sources suggest he may have been poisoned, others claim he had been battling blood cancer. The exact cause of his demise remains uncertain.

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