LONDON: Over 30,000 British Sikhs took part in Khalistan referendum voting at the start of the campaign in London in a massive show of support for the Sikh cause of a separate homeland, causing headache to the Indian government.
Speaking to The News a day after the Khalistan referendum was held at the Queen Elizabeth Centre near the UK Parliament, Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) Secretary General Gurpatwant Singh Pannun said the total number of people who voted for the referendum stood at 30,000 – counted by the independent experts, hired for the voting.
The participation by Sikhs in such large numbers has defied expectation of all as we were expecting a huge turnout, but the sheer passion and the numbers that came out have overwhelmed everyone, Pannun said.
He said the Sikh leadership across the world unanimously agreed to hold the referendum on Oct 31 to coincide with the day Indian premier Indira Gandhi was assassinated in 1984 for ordering the Operation Blue Star to curb the Sikh justice movement.
Gurpatwant Singh explained that the results of the London referendum would not be announced until results from other cities of the UK and Europe arrive. He said in the next phase, the referendum events would be held in three major UK cities with large Sikh population and then in European countries and Canada, where a large number of pro-Khalistan Sikhs reside.
Pannun explained: “Since voting will be held in phases globally, the result of Khalistan referendum will be declared by the Punjab Referendum Commission after the final phase of voting and that will be held in next six months.”
The Sikhs For Justice official said the referendum took place under the supervision of direct democracy experts Punjab Referendum Commission (PRC) and the independent observers had confirmed the number of total people who were eligible and cast their votes.
Thousands who took part responded to the question: “Should Indian Governed Punjab Be An Independent Country?” Gurpatwant Singh said the referendum had caused major embarrassment to India when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was being hosted by Prime Minister Boris for COP26.
He said tens of thousands fought rain and heavy winds to vote in the first-ever global Khalistan referendum and sent a strong message to the Indian establishment to end discrimination against Sikhs and prepare to give Sikhs their birth right of freedom.
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