German court sentences Indian couple for spying on Kashmiri and Sikh groups

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Image caption The husband and wife spied on Kashmiri and Sikh groups for India's intelligence agency

A German court has sentenced an Indian couple after they admitted to spying on Kashmiri and Sikh groups for the Indian foreign intelligence service.

Court documents said the couple, named only as Manmohan S and his wife Kanwal Jit K, were paid more than €7,000 (£6,000) for passing on information.

Manmohan S was given an 18-month suspended prison sentence for espionage while his wife received a hefty fine.

Kashmir is a Himalayan territory disputed by India and Pakistan.

The nuclear-armed rivals have fought two wars over the mountainous region.

India crushed a Sikh insurgency in the 1980s and has remained wary of militancy within the community ever since.

The court in Frankfurt was told that Manmohan S, 51, was recruited by the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India's main external intelligence agency, in 2015 and asked to spy on Kashmiri opposition groups.

"The accused reported on the internal affairs of the Sikh temples in Cologne and Frankfurt, as well as on protest events in the Sikh community," a court statement said.

He attended regular meetings with an Indian intelligence officer from July 2017 and was paid €200 a month for the information he provided.

Kanwal Jit K, 50, accompanied him to the meetings, the court said.

As well as the suspended sentence, Manmohan S was ordered to a pay €1,500 to a charitable institution. Kanwal Jit K was fined the equivalent of 180 days' wages for helping her husband.

The couple have a week to appeal against the court's decision.

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