Referendum in California: Thousands of Sikhs vote on independence from India
SACRAMENTO, California: (Web Desk) Thousands of Sikh people came to the California State Capitol from across the nation advocating for establishment of Khalistan as independent nation in Northern India.

 Over 60,000 American Sikhs participated in the second phase of the Khalistan Referendum voting, which was held at the California State Capitol in Sacramento by the secessionist group Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), with security provided by US snipers and police.

Earlier, over 127,000 US Sikhs participated in the first phase of the referendum, marking the first instance of such voting on US soil. This occurred on January 28, shortly after the US government revealed its prevention of an assassination attempt on Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a leading pro-Khalistan figure and India’s most sought-after individual.

“We believe in India, we believe ballots not bullets,” said Avtar Singh Pannu, the President of Sikhs for Justice, the organization hosting the thousands on the Capitol grounds.

The group here is participating in a vote for a non-binding referendum in order to establish an independent nation in the region of Punjab.

Sikhs for Justice is sponsoring this massive non-binding worldwide referendum as part of a request to the United Nations for a UN-supervised binding referendum to be voted on by the people of Punjab.

Dane Waters, Chairman of the Punjab Referendum Commission, said, “This is the right to self-determination, people are saying how they feel about this very specific issue, and this issue is about Punjab independence. It’s about Khalistan Referendum, where a new country will be created.”

It’s estimated that 5,000 people came to the California State Capitol to vote.

Over 200,000 Sikhs joined both phases of the Khalistan Referendum in California to pay tribute to Jathedar Gurdev Singh Kaunke, hailed as a hero of the Sikh nation. Several thousand Sikhs were unable to vote during the first phase. The voting last night was arranged by the SFJ to facilitate those Sikhs who missed out initially.

This voting process was supervised by the independent Punjab Referendum Commission (PRC) and took place under stringent security measures, with US police and snipers closely monitoring the situation. As the voting day began, nearly 20,000 Sikh men and women formed long queues to cast their votes.

Throughout the day, thousands of Sikhs remained at the center, singing devotional Sikhism songs, advocating for the establishment of Khalistan, and denouncing assassination attempts by Narendra Modi’s Hindutva regime. The voting took place months after the assassination of Khalistan Referendum’s Canada lead, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, inside Canada’s largest Gurdwara, and the thwarting of an assassination plot against Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who leads the global Khalistan Referendum campaign, by US secret services.

The Khalistan Referendum Voting Center at the California State Capitol bears the name and dedication of martyred Jathedar Kaunke. In the weeks prior to the Akhand Path Sahib at California State Capitol, thousands of Sikhs from around the world sent emails to Giani Raghbir Singh, the current head of Sri Akal Takht Sahib and to the President of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to formally declare Jathedar Kaunke as “ martyr of the nation.”

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun told the crowd: “The issue of Sikhs started in 1947 when they should have been liberated but instead they went under Indian occupation. From 1950 Hindutva started suppressing Sikhs to end and dilute their identity and that effort continues. In 1984, the Hindutva Congress regime assaulted the holiest Sikh place, the Golden Temple, in Operation Blue Star and committed genocide of thousands of Sikhs. The genocide that started under Congress continues under BJP and Modi.”

“We demand Modi’s political downfall through democratic channels. The Indian state’s involvement in the Sikh genocide must end. Sikhs are determined to dismantle Indian dominance and achieve autonomy,” he added.

The Punjab Referendum Commission has announced a rescheduled date for the Khalistan Referendum, now set to occur on July 28th, 2024, in Calgary, Canada.