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"Referendum 2020" lacks mass support by Sikhs, says former Indian diplomat

ANI  |  General News 

A former Indian diplomat has said that "Referendum 2020" has not gained any mass support, though Pakistan continues to support and fund the proscribed Sikh extremist groups such as Babbar Khalsa International, Khalistan Commando Force and others.

Ashok Sajjanhar, former Indian ambassador to Kazakhstan, Sweden and Latvia, claims that Pakistan's spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence or ISI, is consistently involved in the reprehensible plotting against India.

"There are enemies of India, like Pakistan, who want to wake up the issue of Khalistan. They have been trying to provoke the Sikhs of India and incite them but have not been successful in any way," said Sajjanhar.

"The whole idea of "Referendum 2020", where the Sikhs would get together to demand a separate state, I don't think it has any mass support to it. There are critical forces to India which are trying to provoke this movement, but I don't think it will go forward in any significant manner," he added.

As India is trying to maintain regional stability by agreeing on the Kartarpur Corridor, Pakistan is trying to instigate the pro-Khalistan issue by promoting separatists organizations like Sikhs for Justice.

Sajjarhar said that many of the historical Sikh shrines are located within Pakistan and the Sikhs have more right on those sites.

"Hundreds of Sikh religious places are located in Pakistan. So, how will all these things be included in the idea of Khalistan?" He said.

"Both territorially and also politically, even if you look at Punjab, the population of Sikhs is not in the majority. There are Hindus, there are Muslims and others. So, in any sense of the world this idea is not viable," he added.

Punjab suffered huge losses in the decade-long militancy in the 1980s. The Khalistan movement eventually faded away by the mid-1990, paving way for peace and prosperity in Punjab.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Thu, July 25 2019. 19:40 IST