Germany: Indian goes on trial for spying on Kashmiris, Sikhs

Frankfurt is of particular interest to the Indian secret services as western Germany is home to the largest Sikh community in the country.

Indian goes on trial for spying on Sikhs, Kashmiris in Germany | Germany News | Al Jazeera
[File: Thomas Kienzle/AFP]
An Indian national accused of spying on Kashmiri and Sikh communities in Germany for New Delhi’s secret services went on trial in Frankfurt.

The suspect, identified as 54-year-old Balvir S, is accused of working for the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s foreign intelligence agency, from at least January 2015.

Prosecutors say he “gained information about figures in the Sikh opposition scene and the Kashmiri independence movement and their relatives in Germany, and passed this on to his handlers working at the Indian consulate general in Frankfurt.”

A total of 10 hearings prior to the regional superior court are scheduled, with the trial due to conclude on October the 29th.

Indian goes on trial for spying on Sikhs, Kashmiris in Germany - GG2

Previous case

The same Frankfurt court convicted an Indian couple for spying on the same communities last December.

The husband was handed a suspended prison sentence of 18 months for acting as a foreign intelligence agent, and his wife fined 180 days’ wages for aiding him. 

Pakistan and India have disputed Kashmir since they became independent and have fought two out of three wars over the region.

An armed uprising against Indian rule has been waged since 1989 in Kashmir, claiming tens of thousands of innocent lives.

Frankfurt is of particular interest to the Indian secret services as western Germany is home to the largest Sikh community in the country, estimated at between 10,000-20,000 people, which is one of the largest in Europe.

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