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‘Referendum 2020’ a futile exercise, say political parties

Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh has already rejected the event, dubbing the Trafalgar Square rally as an attempt by a handful of frustrated ISI-backed foreign-based Sikhs to foment trouble in Punjab and India.

punjab Updated: Aug 13, 2018 10:39 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Referendum 2020,Capt Amarinder Singh,Punjab
More than 2,500 pro-Khalistan supporters gathered to issue what the organiser, US-based Sikhs for Justice, called a “London declaration” to hold the “Referendum 2020”.(HT Photo)

Leaders cutting across party lines on Sunday said the London convention of ‘Referendum 2020’, organised by Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) to garner support for a separate nation, was a futile exercise.

“The attempt to divide India will never be successful. It’s a futile exercise as the people living in foreign countries will never come back to Punjab. The low turnout at London’s Trafalgar Square speaks volumes about the failure of the rally,” said Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal.

“Those behind the referendum are citizens of other countries and their children don’t acknowledge that they belong to Punjab. They have no right to speak about Punjab,” he added.

Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh has already rejected the event, dubbing the Trafalgar Square rally as an attempt by a handful of frustrated ISI-backed foreign-based Sikhs to foment trouble in Punjab and India.

“They have been playing in the hands of the ISI. I will not allow anyone to disturb peace in the state,” he had said. He had also castigated SFJ, as a “sham organisation”, which according to him does not deal in any human rights activities.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) co-president Balbir Singh said, “Referendum is a non-issue in Punjab. Here issues are unemployment, drugs and farm suicides. Which Punjab they are taking about sitting abroad? Our state has already suffered a lot.”

BJP national secretary Tarun Chugh said, “The idea is anti-national with an intention to disrupt communal harmony among Punjabis in and outside Punjab.”

Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Joginder Dyal said, “Low turnout at the rally speaks volumes about how a large section of the population is opposed to it.”

Punjab-based pro-Khalistan outfits — Dal Khalsa and Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) —had also raised questions on the practicality of the referendum.

First Published: Aug 13, 2018 10:00 IST