Indo-Canadian relations deteriorate as thousands turn to vote in Khalistan Referendum in Toronto

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 Relations between India and Canada have once again deteriorated as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government refused to stop thousands of Canadian Sikhs from joining Sunday’s voting in Khalistan Referendum in Toronto.

The voting results will give a message to the world that the Sikhs want complete freedom from India. Those who were participating in Sunday’s voting said that soon Punjab under India would emerge on the world map as an independent country, said a statement issued by a Sikh organization based in Canada.

Meanwhile, commenting on the situation that has unfolded in the wake of an attack on a Hindu temple and the poster of a revered Khalistani Sikh leader, a Canadian government official said Canadian nationals have every freedom to express their views in every manner possible as long as it follows the Canadian laws on right to freedom of expression and right to free speech and assembly.

The official spoke after consistent lobbying by the Indian government with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government against the rising pro-Khalistani sentiment in Canada – home to over one million Sikhs – and a high-profile campaign for Khalistan being run by the pro-Khalistan and pro-separatist group Sikhs For Justice (SFJ).

India has tried to apply diplomatic pressure on the Canadian government ahead of the Sunday’s Khalistan Referendum voting at the Gore Meadows Community Center in Brampton, Ontario. Hundreds of Sikhs gathered at the centre on Saturday to make preparations for the voting on Sunday – a move that is set to pitch India against the Canadian government.

Canadian parliamentarian Sukhminder Singh Dhaliwal has also said that constitutional and democratic political expression cannot be stopped.

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the Counsel General of Sikhs for Justice and a New York Attorney, said Indian government has used every trick to paint Sikhs in a bad light before the western world but the democratic government has refused to come under Indian pressure because its recognises that Khalistan Referendum seeks to assess the desire for an independent Khalistan and once the voting process is completed then the case will be presented before the United Nations.

Jatinder Singh Grewal, the policy director of SFJ, said: “The issue of Khalistan Referendum falls well within the right of freedom of expression, which is a fundamental right enjoyed by all Canadians. India has a difficult time understanding this principle as they have systematically criminalized political decent within their state….”

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