- The Khalistan Referendum campaign is protected by the First Amendment.
- The Khalistan Referendum is managed by SFJ in various Western democracies.
- The US government has called on India to cooperate with the investigation.
The US government has stated that the global Khalistan Referendum campaign, which is conducted by the pro-Khalistan group Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), falls under the protection of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
A spokesperson was asked about the Khalistan Referendum campaign managed by SFJ in various Western democracies, considering the presence of tens of thousands of Sikhs in the US and India’s objections to the campaign during a press briefing at the State Department.
In response, the spokesperson declined to comment on specific cases but emphasized that campaigns like the Khalistan Referendum are broadly protected by US laws.
He explained that individuals have the right to freedom of speech and the right to peaceful assembly in the United States, in line with the First Amendment protections and adherence to relevant federal and local regulations.
This question arose in the context of the aftermath of the assassination of pro-Khalistan activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar by Indian government agents at a Gurdwara in British Columbia, Canada.
Nijjar served as the Chief Coordinator of the Khalistan Referendum campaign in Canada and had close ties to UK-based Paramjeet Singh Pamma.
Nijjar was also associated with Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the Counsel General of Sikhs For Justice, which is overseeing the Khalistan Referendum globally.
Nijjar, Pamma, and Pannun were designated as terrorists by the Indian government in 2020. Nijjar also served as the President of Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in British Columbia.
The US government has called on India to cooperate with the investigation into Nijjar’s assassination on Canadian soil.
It is believed by Nijjar’s family, friends, Canadian investigators, and Western observers that he was killed due to his involvement in the Khalistan Referendum campaign in Canada.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has urged India to be part of the investigation, stating that it is crucial for all democratic countries to take such allegations seriously.
He also noted that the US has been involved in discussions with the Indian government regarding this matter.
The Khalistan Referendum is an unofficial vote organized by Sikhs For Justice across multiple countries, aiming to gauge support for the creation of an independent Sikh state called Khalistan. SFJ intends to hold the referendum in Punjab and major cities worldwide.
SFJ plans to approach the UN and other international human rights bodies to advocate for the re-establishment of Punjab as a nation-state after the Khalistan Referendum voting concludes.
The next phase of the Khalistan Referendum is scheduled to take place in Vancouver on October 29th at Guru Nanak Gurdwara, the same location where Hardeep Singh Nijjar was killed.
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