Khalistan Referendum 2020: Historical perspective & Geo-political games

Sympathetic countries have decided to come up with a clear policy of not supporting Khalistan

Sympathetic countries have decided to come up with a clear policy of not supporting Khalistan
Sympathetic countries have decided to come up with a clear policy of not supporting Khalistan

Hindu and Sikh communities have integrated well enough to be bifurcated by vested foreign interests

The native Indian Sikh community in Punjab & the Sikh diaspora, attached with the mainland has no interest in this issue. But some disgruntled groups, prompted by foreign funding, are running a futile campaign to raise the subject without any support from credible places. And a misguided section of the Sikh diaspora has planned an unofficial vote on statehood in 2020. The Sikh community in India is the most progressive and prosperous one in the country. Its members have proudly represented high offices — that of the President and the Prime Minister, the Army General, top bureaucrats, technocrats and State heads. In an Independent India, which comprises 80% Hindus, has showered tremendous love and respect to the 2% Sikh community residing here. It can be a unique case to study anywhere in the world wherein an overwhelming majority of the population has voluntarily offered respect and position to the almost dismal-sized minority.

Of course, there are differences of opinion and governance disputes within the family but the two communities have integrated well enough to be bifurcated by vested foreign interests. A desperate Pakistan, led by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), has put much at stake to abet the Khalistan movement since Operation Blue Star[1]. There are Western interest groups, too, that are based in the US, Canada, and the UK, which are putting in lopsided efforts to flame the fire so as to keep our progress in check. At the same time, they are keeping the Indian Government in good humour to balance the new emerging world order.

In October 2018, in a telephonic interview, Chawla had confessed to having knowledge of the role of the Khalistanis in the killing of RSS leaders in Punjab.

Lately, even the once sympathetic countries have decided to come up with a clear policy of not supporting Khalistan. Canada rejected it, saying, “Canada respects the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of India and the Government of Canada will not recognize the Khalistan 2020 Referendum[2].” Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said that the categorical stand taken by the Justin Trudeau Government on this issue is exemplary[3]. He hoped that other nations and governments, too, would come out against the Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), a US-based group, which was banned by India as a terrorist organization last July[4]. It has been involved in recent anti-India protests in the US, the UK, and Canada, which have been indirectly sponsored by Pakistani and Western agencies. Singh warned that failing to oppose the separatist SFJ could set a dangerous precedent for any country; this could be seen as covert support to an organization that freely propagates secessionist activities.

Gopal Singh Chawla well-known Khalistan proponent

Weeks ahead of the formal opening of the Kartarpur Corridor between India and Pakistan in 2019, New Delhi had shared a 23-page dossier about Khalistani anti-India propaganda led by Gopal Singh Chawla[5]. An asset of the Pakistani intelligence agency, Chawla is the former general secretary of the Pakistan Sikh Gurudwara Prabhandhak Committee and president of the Punjabi Sikh Sangat. He is a well-known Khalistan proponent, who often spews venom against India in his speeches and supports terrorism in Punjab. In October 2018, in a telephonic interview, Chawla had confessed to having knowledge of the role of the Khalistanis in the killing of RSS leaders in Punjab. “The killing of the RSS leaders will continue in Punjab. RSS leaders are our very first target. We don’t want any interference of the RSS in our gurdwaras or in Punjab.” On being asked about the support of globally-designated terrorist and chief of the terror group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hafiz Saeed, Chawla said: “I have had relations with Hafiz Saeed and they continue even now. Doesn’t mean we operate together. Saeed is my ideal person. (sic).”

While several ISI chiefs in the past have been vocal supporters of the Khalistan movement, including former Army General Hamid Gul, the Pakistani deep state seems to have now embarked on the K2 (Kashmir and Khalistan) strategy with new-found hate and vengeance. A part of this hatred stems from the fact that diplomatically, Pakistan has failed to gather global momentum against India. Post the abrogation of Article 370, terror groups in Kashmir have been at their weakest in the last three decades.

The SFJ argues that Punjab is “currently occupied by India” and vows to organize a non-binding vote — both in Punjab and 20 countries where the Sikh diaspora exists — on an independent Khalistan. The group has not disclosed how it will be able to organize the vote in India or how it will establish its representative legitimacy. In Punjab, the State Government has traditionally been dominated by either the Congress or the Shiromani Akali Dal — a conservative, Sikh-majority, pro-autonomy Punjabi party that is currently not striving for independence, despite the fact that in past times, some of its leaders and factions had been secession proponents. Now Amarinder Singh has emerged as the tallest nationalist leader, who has the support of the entire State and the Indian Sikh community. The so-called vote by the SFJ, therefore, remains a non-starter in mainland Punjab.

The tragedy of the Sikhs is that they have not found a leader worthy of carrying forward the legacy of their illustrious Gurus since Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Sikh leader Guru Arjan Dev and formation of Khalsa

Secessionists have ignored certain historical facts from the Partition in 1947 to 1984. For that, we have to revisit Punjab’s history. In the later part of the 15th century, Sikhism had been proclaimed by Guru Nanak as a new monotheistic religion that ignored both Hinduism and Islam and rapidly gained followers. Perceiving the growth of the Sikhs as a threat, Mughal authorities began to persecute them. And in 1606 Sikh leader Guru Arjan Dev was executed by Mughal emperor Jahangir, apparently for helping prince Khusrau.

Sikhism split into two movements: One led by Guru Arjan Dev’s son Guru Hargobind, who began to regard his father as a martyr. He became more political and militaristic and started organizing armed rebellions against the Mughals. The other was led by Guru Arjan Dev’s older brother Prithi Chand, who focussed on peace and non-violence and rejected uprisings. The Sikhs first raised their weapons against the Mughal Empire under Guru Hargobind. The 10th and the last Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, organized Sikhs into a military sect called the “Khalsa” in 1699 against the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb[6]. Guru Gobind Singh was formally installed as the leader of the Sikhs at the age of nine. His four sons died during his lifetime — two in battle and two executed by the Mughal Army. Unfortunately, Chawla ignores historical facts. He has been blindfolded to read the script written by Pakistan and destabilize India. Likewise, a tiny section of the affluent, well-accomplished but confused Sikh diaspora leaders are distorting the image of the community by their actions and ignoring the history of the great Khalsa Panth.

Gurpatwant Singh Pannu carrying forward the legacy of Bhindranwale

The tragedy of the Sikhs is that they have not found a leader worthy of carrying forward the legacy of their illustrious Gurus since Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Present-day leaders have no intellect to understand the historical perspective and current geopolitical games where they are being used as pawns. We are still trying to get over the fallout of the misrepresented leadership of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. Now another “visionary”, Gurpatwant Singh Pannu, wishes to lead the Sikhs by carrying forward the legacy of Bhindranwale. No one has divided the Sikhs more than Bhindranwale. He has also poisoned the minds of our youth, who have a limited understanding of our faith and history but feel angry due to the attack on the Golden Temple[1].

It is high time that this disgruntled group sheds violence and anti-India activities, for what its leaders are selling is an illusion. The glorious sacrifice made by the Sikh community for their motherland is unparalleled; the contribution made by this community towards nation-building remains second to none. However, any activity against the strategic interest of the country used by any religious or ethnic group must be permanently eliminated. The new offensive-defensive policy of the nation must send shivers to the militants and terror groups representing any section of the society with a clear message of permanent elimination if the larger interest of the country is hurt by any insane action conducted by them directly or under the influence of the foreign forces against India.

1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.


[1] Operation Blue Star – Wikipedia

[2] Canada to not recognise results of Punjab 2020 Referendum organised by SFJJul 25, 2020, Hindustan Times

[3] Punjab CM hails Canada’s decision to reject ‘Refrendum 2020’Jul 26, 2020, Hindustan Times

[4] 40 pro-Khalistan websites of banned US-based group ‘Sikhs For Justice’ blockedJul 05, 2020, Livemint

[5] Delhi dossier on Pak’s anti-India propagandaJul 19, 2019, ToI

[6] Khalsa – Wikipedia

Prashant Tewari is Chief Editor of ‘Opinion Express’ magazine
Prashant Tewari


  1. gandu mulla chup,Bhosidike Bharat mein jo atank machaye ho 1000 saal se,thodisi agar izzat bachhi he tho India chod dena chaiye.Jake apne arab ke ammi ke pass baith ja.

  2. I don’t think you are stupid enough to belie ground realities. In Pakistani Punjab, there are a few hundred Sikhs families and in Indian, punjab they are in majority. But you want to expell Sikhs from their ancestral land to make their country in another country where they have no standing. WTF is your IQ. You want land but not its people. Sikhs must understand Hindu mentality or wait for another 84.

  3. Firstly RSS lobby should leave the hatred politics against other Indian community like ST, SC, Adiwasi, and Minorities than only a strong Nation can be built but today our politics is based on religioun instead of talent and we are busy in TV debates instead of economic growth

    • RSS is doing great work as far as I can tell.

      And the economy is doing great given 1000 years of Islamic then European colonialism.

      Contrast this with our northern neighbor who wanted a land built for the pure only and end up being a colony on China 🇨🇳.

  4. Why should this be a concern for India? Khalistan is in Pakistan. Lahore is the capital. Rajiv Gandhi alluded to this many times.
    Khalistan should settle this issue with Pakistan.

    • -Why should this be a concern for India?

      1: it means our youth are being mis-informed … which makes them vulnerable …

      2: which makes them easy to exploit

      3: which makes this a potential national security issue


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