The Khalistan call is not freedom of expression as termed by the United States
New Delhi, Dec 21: India has repeatedly raised concerns about Referendum 2020 to demand secession of Punjab from India. The movement is being led by an advocacy group called as the Sikhs for Justice.
However, a statement by the United States on Referendum 2020 could become an irritant to Indo-US ties.
On the US government's position on SJF, a US State Department spokesperson said, "we have freedom of speech in the United States, we have freedom of association, and these are bedrock principles of American society. We have freedom of speech in this country that's protected by our First Amendment, and that is a bedrock of American society and the American Constitution."
This is the second time that India has been irked over the SJF. The last time, the UK government failed to act against an SJF rally held in London in August.
While on one hand, the international countries fail to act against on this issue, the SJF, on the other hand, said that it would get five million votes in support of the independence of Punjab through the referendum. The results would then be presented to the United Nations, the SJF has also said.
Meanwhile, a meet at Nankana Sahib between some activists from the Sikh Community and the ISI has been under the radar of the Indian security agencies. The meeting comes amidst a pilgrimage that the Sikhs for Justice has promised to sponsor.
Intelligence Bureau sources tell OneIndia that there have been four such meetings that have been held and the last one was on November 28. The attempt is to whip up passions and push for support for the Khalistan movement, the IB source also informed.
In this context, one would need to look at the role that is being played by the Sikhs for Justice, a pro-Khalistan front which works in Canada, Europe and the United States. This was the same organization that promoted the London Declaration of the Referendum 2020, which was backed and funded by the ISI.
While the London Declaration event did not gain the traction that it would have hoped to, the fresh worry now is a programme that is being organised by the SJF. Reports state that the SJF is planning to fund the visit of nearly a lakh Sikh pilgrims to Pakistan to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, which falls next year. The worry for the agencies is that the ISI would try and propagate among the pilgrims the need for a pro Khalistan movement. The ISI would also look to evoke sentiments, the agencies believe. The agencies also feel that the ISI and its agents would go all out to whip up passions.