ROME: Thousands of Sikhs on Saturday gathered in the Italian city of Brescia to take part in the European Union phase in the global Khalistan referendum for the separation of Punjab from India.
International Sikh advocacy group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) has been organising Khalistan Referendum movement and has brought out thousands of Sikhs in the UK, Geneva and now in Italy.
The Khalistan referendum voting will take place on Sunday at Brixia Forum, Via Caprera, 5 25125 Brescia (BS) but Sikhs took part in the historic Nagarkirtan Parade to celebrate the Vaisakhi festival and to demand an independent state of Khalistan for millions of Sikhs.
SFJ said that Italy is home to more than 200,000 Sikhs who are a vibrant part of the Italian community and that’s the reason this city was chosen for the parade and the referendum.
Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, Attorney at Law (NY) General Counsel to SFJ, said the enthusiastic participation of Sikhs in the Nagarkirtan Parade showed the desire and demand of Sikhs for separation from Indian occupation in order to live in the free land of Khalistan where Sikhs will live under the teachings of their gurus.
Dr. Bakhshish Singh Sandhu, President Council of Khalistan, Washington DC said that “under international law and UN Charter, Sikhs have a clear case for the right to self-determination on the grounds that they have a distinct and separate religious identity and language and have been subjected to genocide by India since 1984.”
Under Prime Minister Modi, persecution of Sikhs for supporting the Khalistan referendum campaign has increased as hundreds have been charged, detained and tortured under colonial-era sedition laws.
Sikhs movement for Khalistan has its roots in India’s June 1984 military action — Operation Blue Star — against the Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar in which thousands of Sikh pilgrims were massacred by the security forces and consequently resulting in the assassination of the then former prime minister Indira Gandhi on October 31 followed by genocidal violence against Sikhs across India.
Before Italy’s phase of the Khalistan referendum, the voting was launched on October 31 from London, the UK where thousands of British Sikhs lined up to vote while the Indian government unsuccessfully attempted to block the event and ran several fake news to dissuade Sikh voters from attending the referendum.
The first-ever non-governmental referendum on the question “whether Indian governed Punjab be an independent country” is being held under the supervision of the independent panel Punjab Referendum Commission (PRC) consisting of world renewed non-aligned experts on independence referendums.
The commission’s mandate is to ensure transparency, legitimacy, and compliance with the best practices during the voting and polling procedures of the Khalistan referendum.