Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Member of Parliament from Patiala Dharamvir Gandhi on Sunday came out in support of the Khalistan Referendum, saying people have the democratic and legal right to demand a separate homeland.
The Khalistan Referendum is a campaign run by Sikh radicals in the United States and Canada who seek to "liberate” Punjab from India and create a separate nation of Khalistan with support from Pakistan’s Inter-Services intelligence.
According to a report in The Tribune, Gandhi said that the government should not threaten to slap sedition charges against those demanding a separate Sikh homeland and demanded ‘justice’ for the people of the state.
“I believe in federalism and democracy. I have nothing to do with Khalistan. The Supreme Court has guaranteed that a peaceful demand for a separate homeland on the basis of linguistics, religion, region or race is legal,” the AAP leader was quoted as by the daily as saying.
“Why threaten people with sedition charges who are asking for a Sikh homeland, when another set of people is seeking the creation of a Hindu nation?” he added.
According to the daily’s report, the MP, who was suspended from the AAP three years ago, said the state being forced to share natural resources such as water and hydroelectric projects with non-riparian states was ‘gross injustice’.
“These will remain emotive issues for Punjabis till justice is done,” he said.
Gandhi is the second mainstream politician in Punjab who has spoken on the issue. Earlier, Leader of Opposition in Punjab and AAP Member of Legislative Assembly Sukhpal Singh Khaira had allegedly supported the campaign.
“I support the referendum as Sikhs have the right to demand justice against atrocities suffered by them,” he had said, according to The Financial Express.
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