Update to Response to Information Request IND19757.E of 22 February 1995 on the current legal status of the All India Sikh Student Federation (AISSF) [IND20380.E]

The following information was provided in a 23 March 1995 letter to the DIRB from Dr. Cynthia Keppley Mahmood, professor of anthropology at the University of Maine in Orono, Maine. Dr. Keppley Mahmood is a well-known specialist regarding Sikhs and Sikh militants.
As far as the banning of AISSF goes, in my understanding this organization was formally banned only from the 1984 attack on the Golden Temple until the Rajiv-Longwal Accords in 1985. At that time it was banned as a whole, without regard to factions. The fact that AISSF is now not a banned organization, however, does not mean that members are not harrassed/persecuted by authorities. AISSF continues to have the reputation of a militant separatist organization, and it doesn't seem to matter which faction (armed or not) one belongs to in terms of how one is treated. Overall, this talk of factions seems to be more critical in the refugee sphere (in which belonging to a violent or nonviolent group matters ) than on the ground in India. AISSF, or SSF, is one organization.

This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Dr. Cynthia Keppley Mahmood, professor of anthropology and specialist regarding Sikhs and Sikh militants. 23 March 1995. Letter received by the DIRB.