Banned SFJ eyes J&K for ‘Referendum 2020’ campaign

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BY RAJNISH SINGH
New Delhi, July 23 (IANS)
The banned Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) group is learnt to have been trying to establish a base in Jammu and Kashmir. Intelligence inputs have suggested that the outfit recently gave a call for Sikhs residing in the valley to support its online ‘Referendum 2020’ campaign, which seeks secession of Punjab from India.
After it’s failed attempts at getting support for ‘Referendum 2020’ voter registration in Punjab and Delhi, the SFJ’s next target is Jammu and Kashmir, where it plans to launch voter registration for the illegal campaign on July 26.
The move followed inputs that the Sikh community across India has rejected the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) sponsored propaganda of ‘Referendum 2020’. Pakistani intelligence agency ISI has been backing the malicious campaign launched by the SFJ as a large number of Pakistani Twitter handles have started tweeting in favour of the so-called ‘Referendum’.
Dubbing Sikhs in Kashmir as “freedom fighters and Sikh soldiers”, the US-based Khalistani radical outfit has urged them to support its most infamous agenda ‘Referendum 2020’.
Intelligence reports suggest that the secessionist group has given a call to the Kashmiris in the valley to support the July 26 opening of voter registration in Jammu and Kashmir.
The attempt is to get the support of the estimated three lakh Sikh population residing across Jammu and Kashmir.
Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the head of SFJ, had claimed that the group has planned to launch the July 26 voter registration for Punjab Independence Referendum in Jammu and Kashmir with “Ardaas” ceremonies from Gurudwara Chhati Patshahi in Srinagar and Gurudwara Simbal Camp in Jammu.
Pannu is among the nine pro-Khalistanis who were designated as terrorists by the Indian government earlier this month. US-based terrorist Pannu has been playing a major role in the ‘Referendum 2020’ campaign.
Pledging the SFJ’s full support to the cause of holding a UN approved plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir, Pannu has urged the Kashmiri Sikhs to support Referendum 2020.
The group claims that an “independent Khalistan will pave the way for freedom of Kashmir”.
The SFJ launched similar voter registration on July 4 and 19 in Punjab and Delhi respectively through Russian and Canadian portals to propagate its anti-India agenda to demand Khalistan, a separate homeland for Sikhs in Punjab.
The Ministry of Home Affairs had in July last year banned the SFJ for advocating Referendum 2020.
The SFJ is supported by Pakistan-based handlers to provide money and logistical support to radical Sikh elements in Punjab to carry out subversive activities.
The SFJ is headed by Avtar Singh Pannun and Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who have started advocating Khalistan as well as the online secessionist campaign for Referendum 2020.
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader and former minister Bikram Singh Majithia in a statement on Wednesday said that Punjabis are a patriotic community and there is no support whatsoever for the Referendum 2020. He said that Punjabis had rejected the divisive agenda earlier as well.

(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at rajnish.s@ians.in)

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