Khalistan Referendum voting in UK continues as India's fake news gets busted

By
Murtaza Ali Shah
|
An image of British Sikhs attending the Gurdwara Ramgarhia at Woodland Avenue, London to vote in the Khalistan Referendum. Photo: Courtesy our correspondent
An image of British Sikhs attending the Gurdwara Ramgarhia at Woodland Avenue, London to vote in the Khalistan Referendum. Photo: Courtesy our correspondent
  • Another voting event for Khalistan Referendum takes place in Slough, London, debunking fake reports by Indian media.
  • Around 10,000 British Sikhs attend Gurdwara Ramgarhia at Woodland Avenue, Slough to vote for Khalistan Referendum.
  • Indian media, in a coordinated campaign, ran fake news three weeks ago that Scotland Yard had raided SFJ’s London office.


LONDON: Only a fortnight after Indian media reported that the London Metropolitan Police had cracked down on and closed down the Khalistan Referendum Voting by Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), another voting event for the Khalistan Referendum took place in Slough, London.

Around 10,000 British Sikhs attended the Gurdwara Ramgarhia at Woodland Avenue, Slough to vote for the Khalistan Referendum.

Slough is a densely populated Sikh neighborhood, and thousands of Sikhs from the area waited in line since early morning to vote in the referendum, which lasted until 5pm.

The Indian media, in a coordinated campaign, ran fake news three weeks ago that Scotland Yard had raided SFJ’s London office and recovered fake machines and papers, and that a Pakistani man had been arrested too, but the London police immediately clarified that no raid had taken place and no arrest was made. It turned out that Indian media aired fake news to dissuade the British Sikhs from taking part in the voting process.

Earlier, on December 10, more than 6,000 people showed up to vote in Geneva, Switzerland to kickstart the European Phase of the Khalistan Referendum.

Khalistan Referendum voting in UK continues as Indias fake news gets busted

According to Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), the organisers of the Khalistan Referendum, voting in Slough was organised at the request of Sikhs from Slough who approached the Punjab Referendum Commission (PRC)—the independent panel of election experts supervising and overseeing the Khalistan Referendum—to ask for the setting up of the polling station in the neighbourhood to give an opportunity to the Sikhs of the area who could not vote so far.

Kickstarted from London on October 31, SFJ’s innovative Khalistan Referendum seeks votes from the Sikh diaspora on the question of the secession of Punjab and other Sikh majority areas from India. On the first day of voting, held next to the British Parliament on the day of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's assassination, more than 30,000 Sikhs turned out to vote.

The Khalistan Referendum organisers had announced plans to hold the vote 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 large Sikh diaspora.

Since 2019, India has banned Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) as an unlawful entity under the draconian colonial era law "Unlawful Activities Prevention Act" (UAPA) and has declared its General Counsel, a US-based lawyer, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, as a "terrorist".

However, western democracies like the UK, USA, and Canada continue to allow SFJ and its referendum activities, apparently viewing the secessionist group’s activities as an expression of political opinion covered under the principle of "freedom of expression".

All the phases of voting in the Khalistan Referendum are being held under the guidance and supervision of a panel of non-aligned direct democracy experts, the Punjab Referendum Commission, and the whole voting process, from registration to supervision of ballot boxes and sealing of the ballots at the end of the day, is conducted by the commission’s approved third party staff to maintain the highest level of transparency.