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Monday Nov 15 2021
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Khalistan Referendum voting continues in UK amid India’s protest


— Photo by author.
— Photo by author.

  • India’s NSA Ajit Doval protests with the British govt over Khalistan Referendum events across UK.
  • UK-India tension was reported on Sunday as SFJ held yet another phase of voting from Birmingham and Barking.
  • The queues for voting, formed on Sunday especially in Birmingham, broke previous records of long queues.


LONDON: The Indian government's National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval has protested with the British government over Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) holding major Khalistan Referendum events across the United Kingdom, attracting huge Sikh participation.

Indian media reported that India’s NSA Ajit Doval has made it clear to his UK counterpart Stephen Lovegrove that the Modi government takes strong exception to the UK allowing Khalistan Referendum referendum by “weaponising” a “section of the Indian diaspora”. 

Indian media reported that Doval conveyed India’s serious concerns to London for allowing “banned pro-Khalistan organisation Sikhs for Justice to hold a referendum on the secession of Punjab on October 31”.

The UK-India tension was reported on Sunday (November 14) as the organiser NGO SFJ held yet another phase of voting from Birmingham and Barking (London) for the Khalistan Referendum campaign which kicked off in Central London on October 31, bringing out around 30,000 Sikhs only for the first phase of the referendum in London as it was held on the day of Indian Premier Indira Gandhi’s assassination.

The SFJ’s Khalistan Referendum seeks votes from the Sikh diaspora on the question of secession of Punjab and other Sikh majority areas from India.

Khalistan Referendum voting continues in UK amid India’s protest

The November 14 voting was held in Birmingham, a heavily Sikh populated town, at Gurdwara Guru Har Rai Ji and Gurdwara Singh Sabha of Barking, an East London neighbourhood with a considerable Sikh population. At both places, thousands of Sikhs attended the Gurdawars to cast their votes. Dozens of Sikhs volunteers and activists stood outside both venues to help the voters.

The queues for voting, formed on Sunday especially in Birmingham, broke previous records of long queues formed three weeks ago in London.

Khalistan Referendum organisers have announced plans to hold the voting in major cities and towns across the UK throughout the month of November before moving the campaign to other European and North American countries with a cluster of Sikh diaspora.

Since 2019, India has banned SFJ as an unlawful entity under draconian colonial-era law “Unlawful Activities Prevention Act” (UAPA) and has declared its General Counsel, a US-based lawyer Gurpatwant Singh Pannun as “terrorist”, but the western democracies like the UK, USA and Canada continue to view SFJ and its Referendum activities as a legitimate expression of political opinion covered under the principle of “freedom of expression” — hallmark and cornerstone of democracy. These countries have taken no action against the SFJ and Pannun under Indian requests.

Indian media reported that Ajit Doval protested with the UK government during a meeting of National Security Advisors from both countries.

In a reference to SFJ, the Indian media said that Doval conveyed India’s serious concern that the UK government is turning a “blind eye to the open radicalisation of the Indian diaspora by Sikh banned groups to promote their secessionist agenda”. 

According to reports, Doval told the UK govt that India was displeased that it was allowing an “illegal referendum” but SFJ has said that it has followed the UK and European laws each step of the way and India’s protest carries no weight.

In the next phase, the Voting for Khalistan Referendum will be held in Leicester, Coventry and Derby on November 21, 2021.