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Khalistan referendum: India asks Canada to stop anti-India activities on 6 Nov, urges to designate them as terrorist

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

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

India has also urged Canada to designate as terrorists under its laws those individuals and entities who have been declared as terrorists under Indian laws.

Asked about the issue of the so-called Khalistan referendum in Canada, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “I think we have made our position clear a couple of times. Our position on the efforts by anti-India elements to hold a so-called Khalistan referendum is well known. It has been conveyed to the Canadian government both in New Delhi and in Canada.”

The Canadian government has conveyed to India that Canada will not recognise the objectionable ‘Khalistan’ referendum organised by the proscribed organisation Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) in Ontario on November 6, the Ministry of External Affairs said Thursday.

“Government of Canada has conveyed that they respect the sovereignty of India and will not recognise the (‘Khalistan’) referendum… deeply objectionable that politically motivated exercises by extremist elements are allowed to take place in a friendly country,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said during a weekly presser.

“The Canadian high commissioner here and their deputy foreign minister reiterated this perspective earlier this week in separate statements. However, let me also reiterate what we said earlier, which is that we find it deeply objectionable 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 upon them to prevent anti-India activities by individuals and groups based in their country, and to designate as terrorists under their laws the individuals and entities who have been declared as terrorists under our laws,” the MEA official said.

The first such exercise was held at Brampton on 18 September wherein over 100,000 Canadian Sikhs took part in voting for the Khalistan Referendum which was organised by pro-Khalistani group SFJ. Visuals on social media showed a huge number of men, women queueing up to vote in for Khalistan Referendum.

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

Releasing a statement, the MEA said, “There has been a sharp increase in incidents of hate crimes, sectarian violence and anti-India activities in Canada. The Ministry of External Affairs and our High Commission/Consulates General in Canada have taken up these incidents with the Canadian authorities and requested them to investigate the said crimes and take appropriate action. The perpetrators of these crimes have not been brought to justice so far in Canada.”

Indian nationals & students from India in Canada & those proceeding to Canada for travel/ education are advised to exercise due caution & remain vigilant, it had further added.

The SFJ was banned in India in 2019 as an unlawful association. As part of its separatist agenda, SJF campaigns for a Punjab independence referendum to carve out a separate Khalistan.

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

(With inputs from agencies)

 

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