More than 2,000 people waving placards such as “Sikhs for a United India” and “We stand for one united strong India” turned out at Trafalgar Square, London on August 12 to counter Pakistan-backed Referendum 2020 event demanding an independent Sikh nation.
Pro-Indian supporters turned down the rally organized by pro-Khalistani supporters who shouted slogans such as ‘Khalistan Zindabad’ and waved anti-India placards.
British-Pakistani, Lord Nazir Ahmed’s, open participation at the event exposed Pakistan’s direct financial and logistic support to the event.
Sikh separatist leader Jaswant Singh Thekedar reportedly condemned the Pakistan based propaganda. He widely accused Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who was one of the organizers, of being a Pakistani stooge.
“No religious Sikh leader has participated in the event. Pannun was making publicity of this event for the past two years and spent huge amount of money. They hired TV and radio stations for the publicity. We believe Pakistan has spent entire money for this publicity. These Sikhs are mostly enjoying Pakistan’s patronage and we do not support their cause,” Singh added.
He further added, “The Referendum 2020 is totally unlawful and the voting will have no relevance”.
Navdeep Singh, one of the organizers of Pro-India demonstration said, “Indian Sikhs don’t want this Referendum 2020, they don’t even know what this Referendum is about, who is organizing and why.”
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had expressed its disappointment at the stance.
MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “We have said that it seeks to propagate violence, secessionism, and hatred and we expect them to take into account the larger perspective of the relationship when they take a decision on such matters.”