Amarinder Singh says no takers for Referendum 2020 in Punjab; terms London protest for Khalistan ISI-backed move

Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said on Friday that there are no takers in Punjab for `Referendum 2020', a campaign by a UK-based organisation for a separate Sikh state.

He dubbed the proposed rally in London on Sunday by Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) an attempt by a handful of frustrated ISI-backed Sikhs abroad to foment trouble in Punjab and India by raising divisive voices.

The chief minister said he was not at all worried about the "fringe elements" and their rally.

Amarinder Singh says no takers for Referendum 2020 in Punjab; terms London protest for Khalistan ISI-backed move

File image of Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh. Twitter @capt_amarinder

"They have been at it for long and have been playing into the hands of the ISI, which has an open agenda to foment trouble in Punjab and India," he told reporters. He added he would not allow anyone to create trouble in Punjab.

"If these elements think they can come and disturb the peace in my country and my state, they are mistaken,” he said. Singh said he has asked the state police to deal strictly with any attempt to revive terrorism. He said in the past 15 months of his government, the police have cracked down on several terror modules, seizing arms and narcotics.

Questioned on the British government's refusal to stop the rally, the chief minister said, "It does not bother me." "This entire referendum business is just a money-making racket of `Sikhs for Justice' and its promoters," he added.

He said there are no takers for this campaign in the state as people want peace and development. Singh called the SFJ a "sham organisation".

He said only a handful of frustrated Sikhs, based in countries like the UK, Canada, the USA and Germany, were backing the campaign, which he said will not last long.

"We are prepared to deal with these Khalistani elements,” he said.

The London rally is part of the SFJ campaign to hold a “referendum” in Punjab to see if the people of the state want independence from India.

India has expressed its concern to the UK over the "separatist activity". A British High Commission spokesperson said in New Delhi today that people in the UK have a right to protest and to demonstrate their views, provided they act within the law.

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Updated Date: Aug 10, 2018 22:35:05 IST

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