Trudeau’s Comments on India Boost Support for Khalistan Referendum

Sun Oct 29 2023
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OTTAWA: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s remarks about India’s involvement in the killing of Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar have emboldened supporters of the Khalistan movement in British Columbia, organizers of the current referendum said.

Sikhs For Justice, a group advocating for an independent Sikh state in India, is conducting a second round of voting for its unofficial Khalistan referendum on Sunday at a gurdwara in Surrey, where Nijjar was shot on June 18, 2023.

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the group’s lawyer and spokesman, stated that Trudeau’s statement in Parliament about the “credible information” regarding India’s potential link to Nijjar’s killing has encouraged supporters to voice their opinions openly.

Pannun noted that Trudeau’s comments have sparked more candid discussions in countries like the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) on India’s handling of the situation, empowering Khalistan movement supporters to express their views without fear.

Support for Khalistan Referendum Organizers

Trudeau’s remarks have led to increased confidence among Khalistan movement supporters, prompting expectations of thousands of voters participating in the Surrey referendum. The first vote held in September drew significant crowds, necessitating a second day of voting.

The Indian government has consistently denied any involvement in Nijjar’s death, labeling the allegations as absurd. Nijjar was a human rights activist and a key organizer of the Canadian referendums. Similar Khalistan referendums have taken place in the UK, Australia, Italy, and Switzerland.

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India-Canada relations have faced strains following Trudeau’s comments about Nijjar’s killing. Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly recently announced the removal of 41 out of 62 diplomats from India after Indian authorities threatened to strip diplomatic immunities for Canadian officials and their families.

While there have been signs of improving relations, with India resuming entry visa services in Canada for certain categories, tensions persist. Sikhs For Justice maintains that the Khalistan referendum is an exercise of democratic rights, emphasizing their commitment to peaceful advocacy despite India’s differing perspective on the matter.

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