CHANDIGARH: The Punjab unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today welcomed chief minister Amarinder Singh's decision to strap sedition charges on the US-based Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) for putting up posters seeking support for a referendum on Khalisthan.
The BJP state secretary Vineeth Joshy on Friday claimed that Pakistan is behind the Khalistan referendum drive and the SFJ activists are backed by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence. “Punjabis settled abroad are proud Indians. They have no links with organizations like Sikh for Justice. Also, SJF does not have a mass appeal in the US or Canada. These are just a handful of people trying to play politics over religion to fill their pockets," he said.
Joshi urged the Punjab government to initiate proceedings to get the group's legal adviser Gurpatwant Singh Pannun and SFJ activists Jagdeep Singh and Jagjeet Singh extradited from the US.
Meanwhile, SFJ responded to the state government's decision to strap sedition charges calling it an attempt by the Congress-led government to "terrorize" the people of Punjab, many of whom have responded positively to the call for referendum.
A letter by SFJ to Amarinder Singh states, “This is a well-known and established fact that SFJ’s referendum campaign is aimed at liberating Punjab. Since we do not recognize the authority of the Indian government or Indian constitution, the charge of sedition leveled by the state government against SFJ members is extraneous.” The SFJ reiterated its commitment to continue a peaceful movement for an independent Khalisthan.
Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal advisor to SFJ said, “Referendum 2020" is a peaceful, non-violent and democratic campaign, the kind of which is approved by the UN Charter, international laws and treaties."
“Sedition charges will not deter us and we will continue the campaign from our main office in New York,” he said.