LONDON, Oct 03 (APP): Secessionist group ‘Sikhs For Justice’ (SFJ) has announced plans to hold Phase-II of the Khalistan Referendum voting on November 6 in Toronto to accommodate those who were unable to vote on September 18.
The Sikhs For Justice said that more than 110,000 Sikhs had voted on September 18 in a massive turnout and thousands were unable to vote as the voting ended at 5 PM and it was not possible for the organisers to accommodate nearly 40,000 Sikhs who were still in queues as the voting ended.
Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, an Attorney at Law in New York and General Counsel to the SFJ, said that the decision to hold the second phase of Khalistan Referendum on a huge demand from the local Sikh community and with consensus from all Sikh organisations. “The Canadian Sikhs made history on September 18 by coming out for Khalistan in huge numbers and they will do so again on November 6,” Pannun added.
The second phase of Khalistan Referendum will test India-Canada diplomatic relations as both countries have been engaged in open warfare since the start of Khalistan Referendum campaign in Canada. After the first referendum in Brampton, both countries have issued travel advisories against each other, warning their respective citizens.
Before the voting took place in Brampton, Ontario, India tried to put diplomatic pressure on Canada and sent three diplomatic communications to Canada to stop the non-binding voting. The Canadian govt told India that it believed in the territorial integrity of the South Asian country but it was unable to stop its own Sikh nationals from engaging in a democratic and peaceful process.
That was followed by the both countries issuing travel and safety advisories to their citizens, taking a jibe at each other.
On September 23 this month, India issued a travel advisory and a press release which read: “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.
Also, India’s External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India had raised with Canada serious concerns on the Khalistan Referendum voting on September 18 in Brampton.
In a sharp rebuke to India, the government of Justin Trudeau issued the travel advisory exactly four days after India’s September 23rd advisory for its students that Canada had become a hub of Khalistan supporters and anti-India activities.
PM Justin Trudeau’s government advised its citizens to avoid all travel to areas in states of Gujarat, Punjab and Rajasthan, which share a border with Pakistan due to the “presence of landmines” and “unpredictable security situation”.
“Avoid all travel to areas within 10 km of the border with Pakistan in the following states due to the unpredictable security situation and presence of landmines and unexploded ordnance: Gujarat, Punjab Rajasthan,” the Canadian advisory states.
The travel advisory put out by Canadian government on its website on September 27 also asks its citizens to exercise a high degree of caution in India due to “threat of terrorist attacks throughout the country.”
It also urges people to avoid non-essential travel to Assam and Manipur “due to the risk of terrorism and insurgency.”