Amritsar: Dal Khalsa, a Punjab-based radical political group, which has for years been advocating, supporting and campaigning for a separate homeland for the people of Punjab, has termed ‘Referendum 2020’ merely an opinion poll being conducted amongst the Sikhs living abroad.
The statement came in the run up to an event scheduled to be held at Trafalgar square in London on August 12, 2018. The event is being organised by a United States-based Sikh separatist organisation — Sikhs for Justice – that would be issuing ‘London Declaration’ for referendum on the Indian state of Punjab.
In a statement filled with disappointment and pessimism, Kanwarpal Singh, the spokesperson of Dal Khalsa told ANI: “The proposal for the `Referendum 2020′ by Sikhs for Justice is not a referendum in real sense. It is a survey or an opinion poll to see how many Sikhs or Punjabi diaspora are in favour of separate Sikh state or sovereign state of Punjab so you cannot call it real referendum. The real referendum is conducted under the aegis of either United Nations or is conducted by the occupied (occupying) country and in this case, both are not involved — neither the United Nations nor the Indian government. So at best it can be termed as an exercise to guess the mood or the opinion of the Sikhs living outside India or the Sikh diaspora.” He added the event had not garnered any support from the people and groups of Punjab as they were not taken in loop before such a decision was taken.
Making a direct statement at Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the chief organiser of the event, Kanwarpal Singh said that Punjabis were the principal stakeholders in any kind of referendum pertaining to Punjab.
“He should take people of Punjab in confidence and it is important to take Punjab’s group in confidence because it is Punjab’s referendum and people of Punjab must participate in it. So he has an onus to come forward and win the confidence of the people of Punjab and the groups who have been spearheading the campaign for last forty years in Punjab.” Kanwarpal Singh said
On being asked about his organisation’s position on ‘Sikhs for Justice’ event, he said that they had found the actions of SFJ slightly ambiguous and had sought a straightforward reply as to how they were going to achieve their objectives without considering the opinion of people of Punjab.
“As far as Dal Khalsa is concerned, we have certain reservations, which we have conveyed to Gurpatwant Pannun, the campaigner of this `Refrendum 2020′. There are certain grey areas. We want to know from him first clear as to how is it is workable? How it is practical in getting desired results? Who will take the baton and who will campaign for it in Punjab, since Punjab is the ground and we are the indigenous faces of the struggle? He hasn’t contacted any of the organisations based in Punjab so it is big question mark as to how he will do it while sitting in foreign shores? He hasn’t contacted any Sikh group that has been spearheading the campaign of Khalistan,” Kanwarpal Singh said. He hoped all his questions will be answered in the London conference scheduled to be held on August 12.
It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan’s spy agency Inter-services Intelligence (ISI) is allegedly using discredited Khalistani groups to further its agenda and backing them to organise a pro-Khalistan rally in London.
Earlier, when Sikhs for Justice had revealed August 12 plans through a press conference, UK-based known Khalistani activist Paramjeet Singh Pamma, whom India tried to extradite from Portugal, hosted the press conference of the World Kashmir Freedom Movement, Kashmir Patriotic Forum International and Overseas Pakistani Welfare Organisation.
The British High Commission in a statement made it clear that while there is freedom of protest and expression in United Kingdom, the government will not allow any groups spreading hatred or violence.
“We will not tolerate any groups who spread hate or deliberately raise community fears and tensions by bringing disorder and violence to our towns and cities and the police have comprehensive powers to deal with such activities,” spokesperson for British High Commission in New Delhi, Sally Hedley said in a statement. (ANI)