VANCOUVER, Canada (HRNW) – More than 135,000 Canadian Sikhs cast their votes in the referendum for the establishment of an independent and sovereign homeland Khalistan, a demand of millions of their community members for which they are struggling for decades.
Organised by the US-based Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), the Khalistan Referendum’s voting campaign started in the United Kingdom in October 2021, and since then, voting events have taken place in more than a dozen European capitals.
The voting procedure was managed by several hundred individuals employed by the independent Punjab Referendum Commission (PRC).
The previous record for the highest turnout was set five months ago in Brompton, Canada. However, the participation of more than 135,000 Sikhs at Surrey, BC, specifically at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara, surpassed all prior records.
The voting took place at the Gurdwara, which was the site of the tragic assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the President of Khalistan Referendum Canada and a prominent Sikh activist. Nijjar was assassinated on June 18, 2023, by a group of unidentified individuals. Pro-Khalistan Sikh organizations have alleged the involvement of the Indian government in the murder of the Khalistani advocate.
From the early hours of the morning, thousands of Sikhs from the local community formed lines to participate in the voting process.
The PRC concluded voting at 5 pm, even though more than 40,000 individuals were still waiting in line to cast their votes. Unfortunately, they could not do so due to the stringent timing and international voting regulations.
Dane Waters, the head of the PRC, announced another voting phase on October 29 in Vancouver due to the substantial number of individuals unable to vote.
The voters carried posters featuring Sikh martyrs and voiced both devotional and political slogans in support of Khalistan. The Gurdwara itself was adorned with oversized posters of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who had served as the president of the same Gurdwara until his tragic assassination.