Khalistan referendum campaign falls under First Amendment: US

- Reuters/File
– Reuters/File

London: The US government has said the global Khalistan referendum campaign launched by the pro-Khalistan Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) advocacy group falls under the First Amendment of the Constitution.

During a media briefing at the State Department, a spokesperson was asked to comment on the fact that thousands of Sikhs live in the US and that “Sikhs for Justice”, a US-based advocacy group, is managing Khalistan referendums in several Western countries. Used to be. Democracy and what was Washington’s stance on it because India has ridiculed this campaign.

The spokesperson said he would not comment on specifics but said “broadly” campaigns such as the Khalistan referendum are protected under US laws.

He added: “Individuals have a right to free speech, a right to peacefully assemble in the United States, all consistent with our First Amendment protections and, of course, compliance with any appropriate federal and local regulations.”

This question was also asked to the spokesperson after the killing of Khalistan supporter Hardeep Singh Nijjar by Indian government agents in Canada’s largest Gurudwara in British Columbia.

According to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, on June 18, Indian agents killed Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada.

Nijjar was the chief coordinator of the Khalistan referendum campaign in Canada and a close associate of UK-based Paramjit Singh Pamma. Nijjar was a close aide of Khalistani leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who is the council general of Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), the advocacy group that is driving the Khalistan referendum globally. Pannun along with Nijjar, Pamma were designated terrorists by the Government of India in 2020. Nijjar was also the president of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in British Columbia.

The US government has requested India to cooperate in the investigation of Nijjar’s murder on Canadian soil. Nijjar’s family and friends – as well as Canadian investigators and Western observers – said that Nijjar was killed for campaigning for the Khalistan referendum in Canada.

Before going public to call out India over the killing of a Sikh leader in Canada, the Canadian Prime Minister took the Five Eyes countries into confidence.

The Canadian Prime Minister has said: “The Americans have been with us in talking to the Indian government about how important it is that they join us in taking action against credible allegations that Indian government agents murdered a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil. Granted. This is something that all democratic countries, all rule-respecting countries, need to take seriously and we are moving forward in a thoughtful, responsible manner under the rule of law with all partners, including with the Government of India. Our perspective is also included.

The Khalistan referendum is an informal referendum organized by Sikhs for Justice in several countries regarding the possible creation of an independent Sikh state called Khalistan. SFJ intends to hold a referendum in major cities in Punjab and around the world. Thousands of Sikhs have participated in the Khalistan referendum in Britain, Italy, Switzerland, France, Australia and Canada.

The SFJ says that at the end of the Khalistan referendum voting it will approach the United Nations and other international human rights bodies with a demand to “re-establish Punjab as a nation state”.

The next phase of the Khalistan referendum will be held on October 29 in Vancouver at the Guru Nanak Gurdwara where Hardeep Singh Nijjar was killed.

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