Shiromani Akali Dal leader Naresh Gujral
Shiromani Akali Dal leader Naresh Gujral

After failing in Kashmir, Pak targeting Punjab: Akali leader

ANI | Updated: Aug 12, 2018 22:32 IST

New Delhi [India], August 12 (ANI): Shiromani Akali Dal leader Naresh Gujral said that the Referendum 2020 was an attempt by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency to create problems in Punjab, after failing to do so in Kashmir.

Speaking to ANI about the Referendum, Gujral said that it is wrong to call it the Sikh Referendum because the Sikh community has always been loyal to India.

"Very minuscule Sikh population settled abroad is participating in this. No Sikh in India has sympathy for this as Sikhs are loyal Indians. They've made more sacrifices for India than any other community," he said.

Earlier in the day, All-India Anti-Terrorist Front chairman M.S. Bitta had also said that the Referendum 2020 was being orchestrated by the ISI, and assured that Punjab would always remain a part of India.

"There was no Khalistan, there will be no Khalistan and we won't let there be Khalistan. The nation is one. Punjab was always a part of India and will continue to be," he added.

Former chairman of Sardar Patel Memorial Society, UK, Praveen Patel, who was seen protesting with a group of people of Indian origin against the Referendum 2020 in London, too, echoed a similar stance.

"We're living in this country and they are talking about free Khalistan in India. We believe that this has been organised in conjunction with the ISI in Pakistan and Khalistanis in Canada," he claimed.

Sikhs for Justice (SJF), a separatist Sikh organisation, had planned a campaign in August on 'London Declaration on Referendum 2020', seeking a separate Khalistan state.

Last month, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said a demarche had been issued to the United Kingdom, as the event was being organised to spread hatred.

However, the UK government has maintained that while there is freedom of protest and expression in the UK, the government would not encourage any groups spreading hatred or violence. (ANI)