By – Lekh Pall
This whole Referendum 2020 is nothingness no more than a red herring to mislead the innocent Sikhs outside India into believing there is a promised land called Khalistan, which frankly does not exist. There appears to be no party or any significant group in India that is remotely backing this Referendum. No major party is behind it. It is a ridiculous call by Khalistanis from outside India. There is no legal mechanism for any such Referendum to be held across Sikhs spread out all over the globe, though they may have the ear of a few British Politicians and UN functionaries. Even if the Referendum 2020 results in their desired result, i.e. pro independent Punjab (read Khalistan) and manage to get a favourable resolution through UN, then what? UN has no power to force India to grant independent Punjab. Just look at how many UN resolutions that have been going around in world history that have not been actioned, e.g. Kashmir and Palestine.
How on earth can a referendum be implemented from outside the territory it is likely affect directly? What legitimate commission will be policing it? Will Sikhs and non Sikhs, in Punjab and outside Punjab, be allowed to vote? Who will put together the list of voters?
This whole drama appears to be just that – DRAMA. Judging by the number of ‘Sikh’ organisations that are springing up here there and everywhere, it appears there is money to be made from the continued pursuit of Khalistan, without a People agenda. If the call was from People living in Punjab, then one could view the matter differently. But that is simply not the case. The call is purely from Khalistanis living abroad. These Khalistanis never speak about the concerns of non Sikhs in Punjab. They never speak about the 35% Dalits that live in Punjab, many of them who follow their own version of Sikhism but refuse the concept of Khalistan. These Khalistanis have near succeeded in forcing the UK Government to repeal the Anti Caste legislation, which the Dalit community have fought so hard to attain. Opposition to the Caste legislation could be understood from the Vishva Hindu Parishad, an organisation which believes in Brahmin supremacy. But to get opposition from a supposedly Sikh organisation, Sikh Federation (UK) in particular, whose religion was founded on rebelling against Castes, is hard to understand. These Khalistanis, on the issue of Caste in UK, have shamelessly fallen in line with the Hindutva brigade which wants to replace the Indian Constitution with the scripts from Manuwad. It is pointless asking but one must do it anyway; why don’t they (Khalistanis) see the issues of language, water, etc as concerns for all Punjabis, not just of the Sikhs?
Why do these Khalistanis so wanting to keep alive the issue of Khalistan and in the headlines? I am hearing that there is a lot of money to be made in this, mainly by working on the gullible nature of Gurbani followers. Sikhs are known for their generosity for furthering their religion. Promise of a Sikh homeland is a real good bate. What is disturbing is that Punjabi People have real issues and grievances with the Central Government of India. Punjabi People have real concerns about the erosion of their national autonomy. These Khalistanis from outside Punjab are exploiting the concerns of ALL Punjabis and have hijacked the issues to the extent that anyone/body that speaks on the question of language, water, autonomy, etc. is likely to be branded a Khalistani, desh dheroi, terrorist, and from that fear they remain mum.
These so called ‘self determination’ Khalistani have no backbone to actually go to Punjab and fight for the rights of Punjabi People. Rather they generate noise outside, pretending to be liberators without any risk to themselves. They present a distorted history, hiding the real role of Bhindranwale. They hide his role of collaboration with the Congress. They hide his role of spreading terror through mindless killing. They exaggerate the number of Sikhs killed during the awful dark days of massacre. They fail to mention the killings of countless non Sikhs and progressive people.
This Referendum 2020 is yet another marketing exercise to keep their revenues coming in. People of Punjab need justice, on that there is no doubt. The businessman leading the Referendum 2020 cannot be trusted to deliver that justice. Only the collective power of the People of Punjab can deliver that justice.