‘Stop pro-Khalistan activities in Australia’: Indian High Commissioner

‘Stop pro-Khalistan activities in Australia’: Indian High Commissioner

Key points Indian High Commissioner Manpreet Vohra raises concerns about pro-Khalistan activities with Victoria Premier Dan Andrews ‘Khalistan referendum’ is a non-binding, non-governmental vote on the creation of an independent Sikh state ‘Pro-Khalistan supporters bring dishonor to Sikh religion’: Manpreet Vohra On January 29, an altercation broke out between Khalistani supporters and people carrying Indian flags shortly before voting closed in the Melbourne chapter of the ‘Khalistan Referendum’. Organizers said the event at Federation Square was “largely peaceful” and well attended.

Speaking exclusively to SBS Hindi, India’s High Commissioner to Australia Manpreet Vohra, who visited Melbourne after the event, said recent incidents were highly disturbing and creating discord within the community.

This is of course reprehensible. It is also disappointing because signals that this could happen were clear and we have been talking to the Australian authorities for several months.

Indian High Commissioner Manpreet Vohra

“Perhaps more could have been done to avoid the kind of hatred that was seen on the streets of Melbourne and the violence that led to it,” Mr Vohra said.

Sikhs in Melbourne stand in queues waiting their turn to cast votes for the referendum. Credit: Provided

He said pro-Khalistan elements based outside India and Australia, including Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), a group that supports the creation of Khalistan, are trying to radicalize people in the name of religion and divide Indian-Australians . “It (the fight) is regrettable. I wish it had been nipped in the bud,” he said. Mr. On Monday, Vohra tweeted about his visit to a . He also tweeted about a meeting with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.
After speaking to Mr Andrews, Mr Vohra expressed his hope that steps would be taken by the state government to launch a comprehensive investigation into Sunday’s violent activities and punish those responsible.

He said the state chief minister had assured him of taking all necessary steps to stop any such future incidents.

“One big point I did make was that outside groups like Sikhs For Justice, that they are allowed to come into Australia and undertake activities, radicalization activities, hold so-called referendums… are not activities that really should be done on Australian soil as it is against the interests of India, our security, our territorial integrity,” he said. Asked if he was concerned about the peace-loving image of the Indian community in Australia, Mr Vohra said the kind of activities the pro-Khalistan elements took up in the name of religion did not reflect the principles of Sikhism.

“I am very concerned about the image of the Sikh faith and Sikh community,” he said.

What happened at Fed Square does not reflect the principles of Sikhism and I am concerned that they (pro-Khalistan supporters) have brought the religion into disrepute… the wider Indian Australian community remains well respected and respected.

Indian High Commissioner Manpreet Vohra, Mr Vohra pointed out that SFJ was a banned organization in India and said it was “unacceptable” for such an overseas group to organize a referendum in Australia. “We (India) also believe as a democracy in freedom of expression, but there are some red lines, and how you deal with that freedom of expression,” he said, calling the recent referendum campaign “one-sided”.

“Dialogue is always open and it is the way forward in any democracy. But holding unilateral referendums is not dialogue,” he said when asked if India was open to dialogue on the Khalistan issue.

In relation to Sunday’s incident, SBS Hindi has also approached the Victorian government for a response. A spokesman for the Victorian government said people had the right to protest as long as it was peaceful.

“We have been clear in Victoria that any kind of violence is unacceptable – a sentiment echoed in both the Hindu and Sikh religions,” the spokesperson said.

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