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Khalistan referendum has no legal standing: envoy Barry O’Farrell, says respect for India’s sovereignty ‘unwavering’

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New Delhi, Mar 6 (PTI) Asserting that Australia’s respect for India’s sovereignty is unwavering, Australian ambassador Barry O’Farrell on Monday made it clear that the Khalistan referendum in his country has no legal standing.

Interacting with reporters here, O’Farrell said Australians were horrified at the incidents of vandalism at places of religious worship, including in Brisbane.

“The police are very active in trying to track down those who are responsible,” the Australian High Commissioner said.

“Australia’s respect for India’s sovereignty is unwavering”, he said, adding that the Australian government has made it clear that the Khalistan poll has “no legal standing either in Australia or in India”.

His strong comments came days ahead of the state visit of Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to India during which he will hold comprehensive talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.

Amidst escalated activities by pro-Khalistan elements in Australia, actively aided and abetted by members of proscribed terrorist organisations such as the Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), the Indian High Commission in Canberra in January asked the Australian authorities to ensure the safety and security of Indians there.

There have been at least four incidents of vandalism of Hindu temples in Australia over the past two months, allegedly by pro-Khalistan supporters.

The envoy also told reporters that Australia was a successful multicultural, multifaith country and respected freedom of speech.

“But freedom of speech does not give you the right to engage in violent protests in hate speech or vandalism. And those matters are taken seriously in Australia,” O’Farrell said. PTI SKU SKU PYK PYK

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

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