A outstanding pro-separatist Sikh group says it plans to carry polls in a number of Canadian cities as a part of a worldwide referendum for an unbiased Sikh nation referred to as Khalistan in India‘s Punjab state.
Sikhs for Justice says it’s concentrating on Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver to hitch some 100 cities worldwide the place Sikhs shall be polled in a non-binding referendum as a part of a marketing campaign dubbed “Referendum 2020.”
The group, which has branches in New York, Toronto and London, says it’s looking for to make use of the deliberate November 2020 referendum to evaluate the urge for food for an unbiased Khalistan, earlier than presenting its case for a binding referendum to the United Nations.
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Overseas Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland’s workplace mentioned the Liberal authorities wouldn’t acknowledge any such referendum.
In an announcement, Freeland’s workplace sought to strike a stability between supporting Canadians’ proper to expression and respecting the sovereignty of a rustic with whom relations have been strained following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s troubled state go to there in February.
“Canada’s place on a united India has not modified and our authorities wouldn’t acknowledge such a referendum,” a spokesperson for Freeland informed World Information. “Canadians have the fitting to freedom of expression and speech. Canadians have the fitting to peacefully specific their views.”
World Information has additionally reached out to Conservative Chief Andrew Scheer and NDP Chief Jagmeet Singh to request touch upon how they’d deal with the matter in the event that they discover themselves within the prime minister’s seat come 2020.
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The difficulty of Sikh separatism was a serious flashpoint of Prime Minister Trudeau’s journey to India, which was marred by Indian allegations of Liberal leniency in direction of Sikh separatist parts in Canada.
In April, two months after Trudeau’s journey, an Indian diplomat informed the United Nations Human Rights Council that Canada wanted to forestall individuals from misusing their proper to freedom of expression to “incite violence and glorify terrorists as martyrs.”
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The assertion was made shortly after Indian counter-terrorism officers filed a First Data Report in opposition to a Surrey, B.C. man who they accused of plotting to hold out a terrorist assault in Punjab.
Their point out of terrorists being glorified as martyrs might be seen as a reference to posters of Talwinder Singh Parmar — believed to be liable for the 1985 Air India bombing — being displayed at a Sikh temple in Surrey.
Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, authorized adviser for Sikhs for Justice, mentioned his group is detached to how the Canadian and Indian governments view the referendum.
“We’re not asking any political occasion or any Member of Parliament for his or her help,” Pannun informed World Information. “This referendum just isn’t for the political leaders, that is for the Punjabi group.
“The [Indian Prime Minister] Narendra Modi authorities or the Canadian authorities can agree or not, however now we have a proper to voice our issues. We’ve a proper to ask for our rights to self-determination.”
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The Indian authorities has been steadfast in its opposition to the creation of an unbiased Khalistan, and has been significantly vociferous in making an attempt to curtail Sikhs for Justice’s actions.
In early August, the nation’s minister of exterior affairs requested U.Okay. authorities to disclaim Sikhs for Justice permission to carry a gathering in London’s Trafalgar Sq.. The U.Okay. rebuffed the request, nonetheless, and Sikhs for Justice held an Aug. 12 gathering during which it issued its so-called “London Declaration” demanding a Khalistan referendum.
The Indian Ministry of Exterior Affairs described the marketing campaign as “a separatist exercise which impinges on India’s territorial integrity” and “seeks to propagate violence, secessionism and hatred.”
India’s residence minister, whose ministry oversees home safety, mentioned final month that the Khalistan marketing campaign is abetted by Pakistani intelligence, the Instances of India reported.
The Instances of India reported that Indian intelligence officers had recognized the Pakistani intelligence officer who they believed to be the mastermind of the Referendum 2020 marketing campaign. The information outlet additionally mentioned that it traced paperwork revealed on the Sikhs for Justice web site again to a Pakistani web site, and that the 2 websites have been hosted by the identical digital server.
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Sikhs for Justice denies any hyperlinks with Pakistani intelligence or involvement in violence.
“We’re for poll, not for bullet,” mentioned Pannun. “We condemn all violence whether or not it’s by a state or any specific group.”
Regardless of the denials, Indian authorities blocked entry to Sikhs for Justice’s YouTube channel and Fb web page earlier this yr. Individually, Pannun’s Twitter account was taken down worldwide by the micro-blogging website, prompting him to arrange a recent account in early September.
Pannun urged Canadian political leaders to withstand caving into any stress from the Indian authorities to stifle the Khalistan motion.
“The United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights offers all individuals the fitting to self-determination. The Canadians have on condition that proper brazenly to the Quebecois, the British have given it to the Scottish,” he mentioned.
“They need to not [compromise] their ideas and human rights values as a result of they’re afraid of financial sanctions in the event that they stand with the Sikh group or go in opposition to the needs of the Indian authorities… that’s how India pushed Trudeau by saying that Canada will lose economically in the event that they help the referendum marketing campaign.”
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Pannun mentioned the Khalistan marketing campaign is justified as a result of it seeks merely to re-establish a state that existed from 1799 to 1849, when it was annexed by the British.
“The political leaders in Canada ought to aspect with the regulation, they need to aspect with UN conventions which give all individuals the fitting to self-determination,” he mentioned.
“Us Sikhs qualify. We have been a rustic earlier than we have been annexed by the British in 1849, and we simply wish to re-establish — per UN norms — our personal unbiased nation.”
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