Canberra, January 29 (KMS): In Australia, an estimated 60,000 Sikhs voted for Khalistan Referendum in a strong show of defiance to the Indian government’s attempts to stop the Sikhs from taking part in the democratic voting system to raise demand for the creation of Khalistan in Indian Punjab.
The independent observer Sikhs For Justice, the organizing group, said the total number of Sikhs who cast their votes stood between 55,000 and 60,000 by the time the doors were closed by the centre management as well the Punjab Referendum Commission (PRC), while a large queue was still in place outside stretching from the voting centre all the way to the Flinders Street Station.
While nearly 60,000 Sikh men and women over the age of 18 were eligible to cast their votes, an estimated 15,000 voters were unable to cast their votes due to time limitation. There was a stampede when those standing in the queue crashed the entrance gate and made their way to the voting hall to cast their votes in the last 10 minutes.
Thousands more stood outside in queues waiting to get in but stopped by the PRC members as time to extend voting was not allowed.
A local Sikh leader Gurminder Singh said in his speech to those waiting outside that they will be able to participate in the voting for their homeland of Khalistan in a separate voting date, which will be announced in due course.
He regretted that thousands waited in queues and had to be turned back due as the voting ended at 5PM. The Khalistan Referendum campaign is being run across the world by pro-Khalistan Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) whose counsel general Gurpatwant Singh Pannun welcomed the turnout at Melbourne’s Federation Square.
Gurpatwant Singh Pannun stated: “The first phase of Khalistan Referendum voting in Melbourne has established the fact that Sikhs are for Khalistan and will continue the peaceful and democratic process under the United Nations Charter to liberate Punjab from Indian occupation.”
Khalistan is the only solution as successive Indian regimes from Indira Gandhi to Narendra Modi have committed the genocide of Sikhs with impunity. He added: “After seeing Sikh people’s support for Khalistan, the liberation of Punjab from Indian occupation is inevitable and we do agree with Modi that India should be only Hindu country and BJP-RSS also should continue with Hindutva agenda.”
The Melbourne Khalistan Referendum voting center was dedicated to the slain Sikh leaders Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh – the assassins of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The voting started at 8am local time but thousands started arriving at the center from around 7am. Thousands of Sikhs formed queues in Melbourne’s Federation Square to cast their votes for Khalistan Referendum voting at the sprawling local arts center.
Within an hour, the queue stretched to around 2 kilometres going past the Finders Train station to the deep town. Sikh youth, men, women and elderly formed queues carrying banners and flags of Khalistan and chanting slogans of Khalistan Zindabad (Long Live Khalistan), Ban Kay Rehay Ga Khalistan (Khalistan will be formed at any cost) and Hindutva Namanzoor (No to Hidutva). At the entrance of the center, large banners hung reading “Khalistan Referendum, Punjab, Shimla Capital” and Khalistan Referendum, Secession of Punjab from India”.