Indian authorities have again raised concerns about separatists’ plan to hold a second referendum on Khalistan in Toronto on November 6. Canadian diplomats were briefed here on the demarche served on Ottawa.
In addition to the Canadian High Commission in Delhi, we have also contacted the Canadian Consulate in Ottawa. At a media briefing on Friday, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi expressed the ministry’s commitment to raising this issue in New Delhi and Ottawa.
A second referendum on Khalistan is being planned by Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), which is banned in India. SFJ’s Gurpatwant Singh Pannun was denied a red corner notice by Interpol, so Khalistan separatists are promoting the referendum in full force.
As the MEA has already stated, the referendum is “objectionable” and “very unfortunate to be allowed in such a friendly country.”
The MEA has been active in raising its objections since the first referendum last month. It would be helpful if these activities stopped in the future. In addition to issuing an advisory on the rise of anti-India activities in Canada, India has issued a warning that Indians are at risk. Kanishka Bombings should not be forgotten. Links have been established in the past. Bagchi had earlier said that the SFJ outfit had already been banned.
Brampton’s first referendum on Khalistan on September 19 had generated sharp reactions in India. Since the referendum is a peaceful process, separatists say it will continue to be held in different locations. As a result of anti-Sikh riots in India in November, this month has been chosen.
A separate Sikh nation-state referendum is routinely denied recognition by Canada. It points out, however, that similar provocations sparked the previous cycle of violence in Punjab.
Two days after the first referendum, in which 1.1 lakh Sikhs reportedly participated, talk of a second referendum started. There were videos showing about a thousand people milling around a building in Brampton.