Humayun Aziz Sandeela
Although India fought tooth and nail against a referendum for independent Sikh homeland, the campaign launched by Sikhs for Justice, an America-based organization, that supports the secession of Punjab from India for the creation of Khalistan, has borne fruit and resultantly four phases of a referendum have already taken place under the supervision and monitoring of a neutral panel of direct democracy experts named Punjab Referendum Commission. The referendum has garnered massive response in the past four phases launched this year on October 31, also the same date when the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was assassinated by her two Sikh bodyguards for ordering the military action ‘Operation Blue Star’ to suppress the Sikh liberation movement in 1984. As per SFJ plan followed by England, Sikhs will organise similar phases of the referendum in different countries, including the US, Canada, Australia, and the region of Punjab.
Over 30,000 Sikhs took part in first phase of Khalistan referendum held at the Queen Elizabeth Centre near the UK Parliament, London on 31 October while the second phase of the referendum was held in South Hall & Gravesend on 7 November in which more than 10,000 British Sikhs took part while third and fourth phases of the referendum were held in Birmingham & Barking on 14 November and in Leicester, Coventry and Derby on 21 November respectively in which thousands of Sikhs took part.
Khalistan referendum has sent a strong message to Indian establishment to end discrimination against Sikhs and to give them their birth right of freedom. Irritated by the move, the Narendra Modi led Indian government had even tried hard to preclude the referendum. India was left red faced when despite the fact that its National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval raised with the UK government the issue of its reluctance to take action against SFJ for “trying to promote secessionism” among the Indian diaspora, UK allowed the organisers to conduct the referendum. Despite such an embarrassment, New Delhi sent a dossier to British government, blaming once again that Pakistan was behind the referendum for Khalistan. But all its attempts failed.
India had been trying to defame Sikh for Justice in general and Pakistan in particular that it is under Islamabad’s influence Sikhs are participating in anti-India activities in UK. New Delhi is failing to understand or it does not want to realize that it is only a peaceful non-binding referendum that is only aimed at garnering support for creation of Khalistan. Sikh community plans to use its outcome to request the United Nations to help establish an independent Sikh state in India.
After the first phase of the referendum, Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) Secretary General Gurpatwant Singh Pannun had told Pakistan-based, The News International, in London that they will declare results of the referendum after all data is collected from all phases of the referendum.
In a new map released just a week before the referendum, Sikhs for Justice not only depicted Punjab as part of the Khalistan, but also included Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and several districts of Indian states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh as part of independent Sikh state.
It unnerved India’s fascist Hindutva forces across India who even used social media platforms to defame Sikhs, but all their nefarious designs were exposed in an investigative report by the UK-based Centre for Information Resilience (CIR) that pointed out how though fake profiles of Sikh influencers, the farmers protests in India as well as the Khalistan Movement were targeted through fake social media network in India.
The CIR in its report published by BBC exposed a network of 80 accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram which were supported by “a large network of authentic accounts which primarily identify as Hindu nationalists”.
Narendra Modi-led fascist Indian government’s another nefarious plan to defame Pakistan and Khalistan Movement was also exposed on November 12 when a Canadian broadcaster, Terry Milewski, lost the first round of a major defamation case over allegations of Pakistan’s links with Khalistan Referendum.
Terry Milewski had published a controversial report in September 2020 titled, “Khalistan: A Project of Pakistan” at the behest of Modi government. Milewski’s claim that Khalistan Referendum campaign was a project run by Pakistan fell flat as he admitted before a court in Canada of having no proofs that Pakistan was supporting pro-Khalistan Sikh group.
Drenched in blood, the Sikh community’s struggle against India for an independent homeland is obstinate and quite long. For years it has been simmering on low heat, but now Sikhs are united and they have turned up for an open battle for creation of Khalistan. More such referendums are on the way as is the case with the fifth phase of the referendum to be held on December 05, 2021 at Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara in Sunderland, UK.
Such was the impact of Khalistan referendum in London that the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was forced to repeal three controversial farm laws after seeing tens of thousands of Sikhs on streets in India and in Europe and America against the Bharatiya Janata Party government followed by the huge participation by Sikhs in the ongoing Khalistan Referendum campaign, according to the Indian media and intelligence reports. Intelligence sources in India, as India’s Economic Times reported, confirmed that the BJP government was rattled at seeing large queues of Sikhs in the UK cities voting for Khalistan during the referendum campaign, for the creation of a separate Sikh homeland.
From the farmers protest and participation of large number of Sikhs in the different phases of referendums in UK, it is now quite clear that a great majority of Sikhs has realized that only through the creation of an independent state called Khalistan can they successfully bring to an end systematic persecutions and continuous exploitation they had been facing at the hands of India since 1947.