Stop November 6 Khalistan referendum, ban SFJ, India tells Canada

MEA issues strong warning to Canadian government, calling the referendum ‘deeply objectionable’

November 03, 2022 09:59 pm | Updated November 04, 2022 01:20 am IST - NEW DELHI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had discussed the terrorism issue with PM Justin Trudeau when they met on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Germany on June 27, 2022. Photo: Twitter/@narendramodi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had discussed the terrorism issue with PM Justin Trudeau when they met on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Germany on June 27, 2022. Photo: Twitter/@narendramodi

Stepping up pressure on Canada to stop the upcoming November 6 “Khalistan referendum”, India on Thursday called on the Trudeau government to ban the organisations behind it, in line with India’s own terrorist listings.

“We find it deeply objectionable that politically motivated exercises by extremist elements are allowed to take place in a friendly country. You are all aware of the history of violence in this regard,” said MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.

“We will continue to press the Government of Canada on this matter, and call upon them to prevent anti-India activities by individuals and groups based in their country, and to designate as terrorist, under their law, individuals and entities who have been declared as terrorists under Indian law,” he added, referring to the second round of a “referendum” this weekend organised by the Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) group, which the government designated as a terrorist organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in 2019. In February this year, the government also ordered the blocking of apps created by SFJ for its plans to hold a “referendum” amongst the Sikh diaspora worldwide.

“Our position on the efforts by anti-India elements to hold a so-called Khalistan referendum is well-known and has been conveyed to the Canadian Government, both in New Delhi and in Canada,” Mr. Bagchi said, referring to a number of demarches that India has sent to Canada, in what has become a growing source of tensions between Delhi and Ottawa. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also discussed the terrorism issue with PM Justin Trudeau when they met on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Germany this year.

In response, the Canadian government has said that they respect India’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity of India and that they will not recognise the so-called referendum”, according to Mr. Bagchi, but has not so far agreed to stopping the referendum, one round of which was already held in September this year.

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