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Austrian Police Release Three After Arrests At Religious Talk


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Vienna - One man from India remained in Austrian police custody Friday, a prosecution spokeswoman said, after three others were released following their arrests at a talk by an Indian religious leader.The four men were arrested Wednesday at a talk by Gurinder Singh, the leader of the Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB) religious group, which is based in the northern Indian state of Punjab.An attack by militant Sikhs on an Indian sect in Vienna last year which saw one religious leader killed and 16 injured has left Austrian police on high alert to potential threats connected to Sikh extremists.Michaela Schnell said the four men were suspected of belonging to the Khalistan Zindabad Force, a group of militant Sikhs that is listed as a terrorist group in the European Union. The man who remains behind bars is suspected of forming a terrorist group, while there was a lack of proof against the others to warrant further detention.Schnell would not say whether the men were suspected of having plotted an actual attack at the venue, in the town of Oberwaltersdorf, south of Vienna."We cannot say anything about that," she said, citing current investigations and the ongoing trial against other allegedly militant Sikh men who are charged with carrying out last year's attack. That incident targeted the Dera Sach Khand sect.Sikh extremists have been threatening groupings like RSSB and Dera Sach Khand who do not conform to their idea of true Sikhism. Both groups have attracted followers from so-called lower castes.Although Sikh militancy has largely been eliminated from Punjab, Indian police and intelligence agencies say remnants of the militancy still exist in India and countries abroad, such as Germany.The man who remains in custody has been living in Austria, Schnell said. According to media reports, one of the three others is based in Germany. None of them were armed at the time of their arrest, the reports said.,three-arrests-religious-talk.html

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