Khalistan referendum in Canada: MEA condemns ‘politically motivated’ exercises in friendly country

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi. ANI

New Delhi: India has condemned Khalistan referendum held at Brampton, Ontario in Canada on 19 September. The ballot exercise was organised by pro-Khalistan group Sikhs For Justice (SFJ).

It’s a farcical exercise that was held by extremist & radical elements in Canada. Matter was taken up with Canadian authorities. We find it deeply objectionable that politically motivated exercises are allowed in a friendly country, said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.

Over 1 Lakh individual participated in the so-called ‘referendum’. Visuals from social media showed queues of men and women aligning up for the referendum. As per the media reports the Indian government had warned the Canadian government against the anti-India forces working in the North-American country.

However, the Canadian government linked the “referendum” to the peaceful and democratic process within the legal parameters of the law. Hence, the Canadian government did not stop the process of referendum.

The Khalistan movement demand a sovereign state of Punjab carved out of Union of India. “Once there is a consensus within the Punjabi people that independence from India is desired, we [Sikhs for Justice] will then approach the UN and other international forms and bodies with the goal of re-establishing Punjab as a nation state,” Firstpost has reported citing Referendum 2020 website.

Earlier, on 15 September Indian High Commission in Canada reported about the defacing of BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir at Toronto with anti-India graffiti.

Prior to this in August, Khalistan slogans were painted on the walls of the Indian Consulate in San Francisco, ANI had reported citing Pakistan’s Geo News. Further, on the occasion of independence day in India a leader of SFJ Gurpatwant Singh Pannu had announced rewards for hoisting Khalistan flags at the key locations.

The Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) is a US-Canada based secessionist group that supports the secession of Punjab from India as Khalistan. The SFJ was banned in India in 2019 as an unlawful association.

With inputs from ANI

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