Thursday, 30 June, 2022
HomeIndiaGovernancePunjab leader of opposition Khaira 'justifies' Khalistan referendum, AAP chief under fire

Punjab leader of opposition Khaira ‘justifies’ Khalistan referendum, AAP chief under fire

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Led by Sikh hardliners based abroad, Referendum 2020 ‘aims to gage (sic) will of Punjabis to re-establish Punjab as a nation state’.

Chandigarh: Cooped up in Delhi’s Raj Niwas, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal finds himself at the receiving end of a raging opposition onslaught in Punjab.

At the centre of the row is ‘Referendum 2020’, a campaign led by Sikh hardliners based abroad that is aimed at “liberating Punjab from India’s occupation”.

On Thursday, a week after the anniversary of Operation Blue Star, when asked about the referendum, AAP MLA and leader of opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira said its organisers were “within their rights” to carry it out.

“If people living in independent nations choose to do such a referendum, they are doing it within their rights,” the leader of the opposition in the assembly said, adding, “And they are doing all this because the justice system in India is so flawed that it has led to such emotions.”

The AAP is the second largest party in the 117-member assembly of Punjab, the only other state apart from Delhi where the party has established itself as a major player.

Throughout the assembly election campaign last year, the AAP was accused of courting Sikh hardliners, a “flirtation” former MP candidate Gul Panag said she had warned the party against.

Less than a week before the elections, scores of Sikh NRIs landed in Punjab to campaign for the AAP. Punjabi NRIs had also helped fund the AAP’s election campaign in the state, and a section of these campaigners was said to be convinced that the AAP was sympathetic to the cause of the separatists.

The party paid a price for this, with the claims costing the AAP what was believed to be a sure victory in 2017, but its leaders are not likely to give up the support of a prominent section of the Sikh diaspora that wants secession.

Khaira’s statement has brought the Khalistan bogey back to life for the AAP, and led the brass of the Congress, which is in power in the state, and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) to ask party founder Kejriwal: Does he support the secessionist campaign?

“If Kejriwal does not support Referendum 2020,” former state minister Bikram Singh Majithia of the SAD said, “then he should take immediate action against Khaira.”

What is ‘Referendum 2020’

Led by Sikh hardliners based in the UK, Canada and the USA, Referendum 2020 “aims to gage (sic) the will of the Punjabi people with regards to re-establishing Punjab as a nation state”.

“Once we establish consensus on the question of independence, we will then present the case to the United Nations for reestablishing the country of Punjab,” a statement on its website adds.

A day after his statement, Khaira said he stood by it. “If some organisations want to have a referendum in their countries, how can we stop them? The referendum is a result of the pain and anguish suffered by the Sikhs,” he said Friday.

However, asked if he backed the referendum, Khaira retorted: “When did I say I was backing the referendum? I am a citizen of this country and I fight elections under the Constitution of India”

On Saturday, chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh dismissed the statement as “sheer hypocrisy”, saying it was a classic case of running with the hares and hunting with the hounds.

Asking his Delhi counterpart to make his stand clear, he added, “This is important considering the fact that Kejriwal himself hobnobbed with pro-Khalistanis when he was campaigning in Punjab in the run-up to the assembly elections last year.”

The SAD demanded that a criminal case be filed against Khaira. Majithia said not only was Khaira advocating Punjab’s secession, but also “inciting communal passions and threatening the hard-won peace of Punjab.”

Asking Kejriwal why he was quiet on the issue, Majithia said Kejriwal should come out clean if he supported Khaira’s statement. “If not, he should tell Punjabis why he has not taken action against Khaira yet,” he added.

His personal view, says AAP Punjab

As the opposition attack intensified, the AAP’s Punjab unit issued a statement Saturday evening saying it did not support the referendum. “The Aam Aadmi Party directly or indirectly does not support ‘Referendum 2020’. The party totally believes in the Constitution of India… The party does not support any activity against the unity and federal structure of the country,” it added.

Leaders of the party said they would seek a clarification from Khaira, adding that the AAP “will not hesitate to take action against volunteers and leaders who have views against the Constitution of the country”.

Look within: Khaira to SAD and Congress

Khaira, however, remains defiant, answering the SAD’s criticism with a list of instances when the Sukhbir Singh Badal-led party itself seemed to lean towards secessionists.

“SAD patron Parkash Singh Badal was not only a signatory to the original Anandpur Sahib resolution of 1972 (that sought greater autonomy for Punjab and other states) but also burnt copies of the Constitution of India before Parliament in 1983. Badal was also a part of the delegation that met the then visiting United Nations Secretary General at Delhi in 1992, to demand the ‘right to self determination for Sikhs’, which is similar to the 2020 referendum,” he said in a statement issued Saturday.

To the CM’s tweet against him, Khaira retorted through a series of tweets: “I am not a votary of (Referendum) 2020 but I don’t hesitate to point out a consistent policy of discrimination against Sikhs by central governments! Be it the attack on Darbar Sahib, genocide of Sikhs leading to 2020.”

“If I highlight the grievances of Punjabis and Sikhs, I’m anti-national and if you address a gathering in Dixsy (sic) Gurudwara in Toronto on invitation by hardliners with a Khalistan banner, you’re a nationalist. Captain Amarinder Singh ji, wow what double standards!” he added.

Khaira was referring to Amarinder’s 2005 trip to Toronto, where a visit to Dixie Gurdwara raised a storm after he made an address in front of a banner that read “Khalistan zindabad”.

The MLA said he would hold a press conference Sunday afternoon “at Jalandhar to expose the anti-national deeds of @capt_amarinder and senior Badal akin to the 2020 referendum”.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Earlier congress trampled and raped the federal structure of Indian constitution with rogue governors, cbi etc.

    The Sarkaria commission changed the situation for better, but with the surreptitious ascendancy Of Bjp to power, the spirit and letter of the federal features of the constitution have received a great blow!

    Unless Bjp is Shown it’s place, India is likely to witness demands for more autonomy and possibly for secession from India from Many nationalities in Indian republic of the union of States. India is a union of States as per the constitution!

    Few people, fewer politicians and even fewer semi literate neo fascist anti constitution, anti national flag, anti national anthem bjp waalaas seem to know it!
    For the information of these gentlemen and others needing instruction this is what the preamble is:

    “We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN, SOCIALIST, SECULAR,DEMOCRATIC, REPUBLIC and to secure to all of its citizens;
    JUSTICE social, economic and political;
    LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
    EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;and to promote among them all;
    FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation;
    In our Constituent Assembly, this 26th day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.”

    And this is what India is defined as:

    “1. (1) India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.”

    Hardly anyone seems to know this!

    Even judges of high courts and the Supreme Court appear to have forgotten this and refuse to read up the original full text of the constitution as it is applicable and in force!

    Everyone appear to have forgotten that even smt Indira Gandhi , and Rajiv Gandhi who won 414 Loksabha seats as against 2 seats of Loksabha of BJP were made to bite the dust!

    MR Modi or Mr Geedi, Mr Amit Shaw or wah are pigmies before this great constitution and great union of states with their paltry 282 Loksabha seats!

    If the mischief of BJP, shri Modi and shri Amit Shaw against the constitution continues, the country may soon go for constitutional amendments where by the States of India will free themselves from the domination of the cow and Hindi belt, and imposition of neo fascism.

    Maharashtra, the original center Of INDIAN fascism, and now Of neo fascism may undergo serious political changes with demands for more autonomy from the semi literate neo fascists now dominating the Bjp.

    Shiv Sena is already transforming from the original hindutva politics into more Maratha pride politics!

    It might even give up the original sons of the soil slogan and align with forces of autonomy from other parts of the union of India.

    The earlier rogue congress and later even the more rogue Bjp have been leading a great assault on the original federal spirit of the States in the union of India!

    This will have costs !

    The formation and thriving of slovania, czech republic etc must act as great lessons for forces of unity.

    The rogue policy of Niti aayog of shri Modi is already uniting the southern states with the assault on the agreed policy of distributing funds of the union as per 1971 census.

    The bogus nationalism and assault on democratic rights, the iron grip of BIMARU STATES on political power, governance anarchy, and the outlandish attempts to impose the political grip of BIMARU STATES CAN EASILY UNITE the forces of democracy and federal autonomy.

    The neo fascism of Bjp is already alienating many forces of reason.

    Demands for a more federal constitution are likely to spring up as a reaction to neo fascism and bogus nationalism of Bjp.

    Bjp appears to be getting ready for a massive rigging of elections through electronic tampering of EVM s beginning with 2019 elections.

    If that fails and Modi stands exposed on more fronts, Bjp may even engineer a coup with rogue elements from the armed forces!

    They have proved themselves as faithful fallowers of the tactics of the Nazi party and Joseph Goebbells!
    Here lies the danger to the republic!
    USA has been playing havoc in many regions like Afganistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Israel, Korean Peninsula etc.
    cia may find it convenient to split India into many smaller republics some of which may become their satellite states like Iraq and station permanent American presence.
    Shri Modi and company have degraded India to the status of being the largest importer of Arms in the world, while singing platitudes of “ make in India”
    To buy these arms and earn commissions , India has to sell a part of itself!

    So it is last chance for people of India to restore constitutional governance, respect the federal structure of the constitution as it is written down in the constitution and send the anti constitution, anti national flag, anti national anthem BJP HOME SOON!

    The mischief of BJP and rogue officials lobby working as mercenaries to bjp is clearly visible in the manner they are treating the AAP government in Delhi state, which won an unprecedented electoral victory of 67/70.

    By joining hands with BJP the fools in congress are aiding bjp divide India.

    Nothing can be more stupid!

    India today is like an Ammunition Dump!

    BJP is like a (power) drunken Monkey, stepped on burning coals that may anytime jump hither and thither and set the dump on fire!

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