Khalistan referendum: India calls on Canada to end anti-Indian activities on November 6, urges to designate them as terrorists

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India reiterated its concern over some forces planning a so-called Khalistan referendum in Canada on Nov. 6 and asked to prevent anti-Indian activities by individuals and groups.

Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) proposed the referendum in Mississauga, near Toronto, on November 6.

India has also urged Canada to designate as terrorists under its laws persons and entities that have been declared terrorists under Indian laws.

Asked about the issue of the so-called Khalistan referendum in Canada, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesman Arindam Bagchi said, “I think we have clarified our position a few times. Our position on the efforts of anti-Indian elements to hold a so-called referendum on Khalistan is well known. This was conveyed to the Canadian government both in New Delhi and in Canada.

The Canadian government has told India that Canada will not recognize the objectionable referendum on “Khalistan” organized by the banned organization Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) in Ontario on November 6, the Ministry of External Affairs announced on Thursday. .

“The Government of Canada has made it clear that it respects India’s sovereignty and will not recognize the (‘Khalistan’) referendum…deeply wrong that politically motivated exercises by extremist elements be allowed to take place in a friendly country,” said MEA spokesman Arindam. Bagchi said during a weekly presser.

“The Canadian high commissioner here and his deputy foreign minister reiterated that perspective earlier this week in separate statements. However, let me also reiterate what we said earlier, which is that we deeply find It is reprehensible that politically motivated exercises by extremist elements are allowed to take place in a friendly country, and you are all aware of the history of violence in this regard,” he added.

“We will continue to press the Government of Canada in this matter. We call on them to prevent anti-Indian activities by individuals and groups based in their countries and to designate as terrorists under their laws those individuals and entities that have been declared as such. terrorists under our laws,” the MEA official said.

The first such exercise took place in Brampton on September 18, in which more than 100,000 Canadian Sikhs took part in voting for the Khalistan referendum organized by the pro-Khalistani group SFJ. Images on social media showed large numbers of men and women queuing to vote for the Khalistan referendum.

On September 23, the Indian government had issued an advisory to Indian nationals and students in Canada amid a sharp increase in incidents of hate crimes, sectarian violence and anti-Indian activities.

In a statement, the MEA said: “There has been a sharp increase in incidents of hate crimes, sectarian violence and anti-Indian activity in Canada. The Department of External Affairs and our High Commission/Consulates General in Canada have raised these incidents with Canadian authorities and asked them to investigate these crimes and take appropriate action. The perpetrators of these crimes have yet to be brought to justice in Canada. »

Indian nationals and Indian students in Canada and those traveling to Canada for travel/study are advised to exercise caution and remain vigilant, he added.

The SFJ was banned in India in 2019 as an illegal association. As part of its separatist agenda, the SJF is campaigning for a Punjab independence referendum to create a separate Khalistan.

The Khalistan referendum is a demand for the carving up of a separate country from Punjab. “Once there is a consensus among the Punjabi people that India’s independence is desired, we [Sikhs for Justice] will then approach the UN and other international forms and bodies with the aim of reestablishing Punjab as a nation state,” Firstpost reported citing the 2020 Referendum website.

(With agency contributions)

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Richard V. Johnson