Khalistan referendum: Tall claims of organisers punctured; Pak elements present

UK watchers said that there was no verification if the persons arriving for the Khalistan referendum were Sikhs, Pakistanis or Afghans. Coverage of the event also showed that the same set of people were brought in to vote repeatedly, they added.
The Khalistan referendum was organised by Sikhs for Justice.(Representative Photo/HT)
The Khalistan referendum was organised by Sikhs for Justice.(Representative Photo/HT)
Published on Nov 01, 2021 07:41 PM IST
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By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Groups of Sikhs travelled to London on Sunday to cast their vote in so-called referendum to decide whether Khalistan should be carved out of Punjab. The referendum was organised by US-based Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), a banned organisation in India.

Social media channels of SFJ and people associated with the movement claimed 10,000 to 12,000 people participated in the referendum. But, according to UK watchers, a gathering of just 100-150 people was seen during the initial hours of the referendum.

The organisers had arranged around 300 buses to fetch people from across the UK and a total of 1,500-1,700 people were brought in to vote in the so-called referendum, they added.

The diplomats based in London also noted while none of the Gurudwaras (except the three known Khalistan movement supporters) allowed the organisers a platform, the SFJ and Kuldeep Singh Chaheru, the leader of Federation of Sikh organization (FSO) - a well know front of Babbar Khalsa - actively supported the referendum.

The pro-Khalistan elements believed to have reached out to illegal Sikh immigrants and offered them immigration support and money to participate in the referendum, they added.

The offer to ferry the prospective voters on a bus was criticised by the Gurudwaras. They said the organisers confused the public by issuing posters declaring the location of buses near 100 Gurudwaras "as if these buses have been made available by the Gurudwaras".

The people cited above said that there was no verification if the persons arriving for the referendum were Sikhs, Pakistanis or Afghans. Coverage of the event also showed that the same set of people were brought in to vote repeatedly, they added.

The organisers, including their backers in Pakistan, went on an overdrive to declare that the exercise was a success, UK watchers said, adding that they could seek a legitimate right to conduct a larger referendum.

The SFJ had called all the Sikhs above the age of 18 to vote in the referendum. The voting was held in Westminster and those who indeed came to take part in the exercise shouted pro-Khalistan slogans and carried the Khalistan flag.

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Monday, January 24, 2022