LAHORE: Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) central leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannu on Wednesday announced a referendum on Jan 26, 2023, in Indian Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh for a separate state of Khalistan in Indian Punjab while Shimla will be its capital.
Mr Pannu of SFJ, a US-based Sikh organisation, held a virtual press conference at Lahore Press Club.
“The referendum seeks to liberate Punjab from India. On June 6, 1984, the Indira Gandhi government attacked Darbar Sahib and killed Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his followers,” he said.
Mr Pannu said the first attack on Darbar Sahib was conducted in 1955 and it resulted in the formation of Khalistan. “All the areas of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttar Ghund where Sikhs were present would be part of Khalistan,” he said.
Sikhism has been made a part of Hinduism in India, he said, adding that Darbar Sahib was attacked again on June 6, 1984. Our comrades bravely responded to the attack and found evidence.
“Today we are also releasing the map that when Indian Punjab becomes independent, these areas will be included in Khalistan.”
He said 27 million Sikhs are eligible to vote in the referendum.
Mr Pannu said independence of Indian Punjab is necessary for the independence of Kashmir.
He requested Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto that it was time for Pakistan to raise its voice for Sikhs like Kashmiris and extend them moral, political and diplomatic support.
“Pakistan should recognise Indian Punjab in the name of Khalistan so that our case could be strengthened in the UN,” he said.
The SFJ leader said the Modi dispensation is a fascist government, they tried to stop this referendum in the UK and Switzerland, now they will try to stop this referendum in Indian Punjab. More than 200,000 votes out of a total population of 800,000 in the UK have been registered.
Despite heavy snowfall in Italy and Germany, Sikhs came to Switzerland to cast their votes, he said.
Mr Pannu said the 2020 referendum had been postponed because of coronavirus. The London referendum took place in 2021 and the Aam Aadmi Party’s Kejriwal first got a chance to raise his voice on Sikh platform in 2011.
“No political party in Indian Punjab has supported our Khalsa movement. Khalistan is also necessary so that Indian Muslims can be safe. As soon as the referendum is over, we will take our case to the UN so that the UN can be given a chance to raise its voice for the Sikhs and make them a separate homeland.”
The Sikh leader said after the creation of Khalistan, those who persecuted the Sikhs from all over the world would be found and brought before the courts for dispensation of justice.
Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2022