Toronto, September 19 (KMS): Thousands of Canadian Sikhs including women and elderly voted in Khalistan Referendum in Toronto, yesterday, after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau flatly rejected the Indian government’s demand to act against the Sikh activists spearheading the struggle for a separate homeland in Punjab under India.
The voting results will give a message to the world that the Sikhs want complete freedom from India. Those who were participating in Sunday’s voting said that soon Punjab under India would emerge on the world map as an independent country, said a statement issued by a Sikh organization based in Canada.
Commenting on the Indian government’s demand to halt the voting process, a Canadian government official said Canadian nationals have every freedom to express their views in every manner possible as long as it follows the Canadian laws on right to freedom of expression and right to free speech and assembly.
The official spoke after consistent lobbying by the Modi government against the rising pro-Khalistani sentiment in Canada.
India has tried to apply diplomatic pressure on the Canadian government ahead of the Sunday’s Khalistan Referendum voting at the Gore Meadows Community Center in Brampton, Ontario. Hundreds of Sikhs gathered at the centre to participate in the voting– a move that is set to pitch India against the Canadian government.
Canadian parliamentarian Sukhminder Singh Dhaliwal also said that constitutional and democratic political expression cannot be stopped.
Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the Counsel General of Sikhs for Justice and a New York Attorney, said Indian government has used every trick to paint Sikhs in a bad light before the western world but the democratic government has refused to come under Indian pressure because its recognises that Khalistan Referendum seeks to assess the desire for an independent Khalistan and once the voting process is completed then the case will be presented before the United Nations.
Jatinder Singh Grewal, the policy director of SFJ, said: “The issue of Khalistan Referendum falls well within the right of freedom of expression, which is a fundamental right enjoyed by all Canadians. India has a difficult time understanding this principle as they have systematically criminalized political decent within their state….”