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Australia scraps pro-Khalistan ‘referendum’ event in setback to US-based Sikhs for Justice

Khalistani activists have indulged in violence, vandalism and hate-filled graffiti in Australia

Australia’s Blacktown City Council has cancelled the so-called “referendum” on Khalistan in Sydney organised by the United States-based outfit Sikhs For Justice (SFJ).

The event was scheduled to be organised at Blacktown Leisure Centre Stanhope. But the booking has now been cancelled after security agencies’ advice, Australia Today reported.

The decision could be seen as a victory for India, which has strongly opposed the Khalistani separatism campaign including Australia.

In an interview with ANI earlier this week, Australia’s High Commissioner to India, Barry O’Farrell had said, “Prime Minister Anthony Albanese committed to ensuring that our security forces, including our police, state police forces, take every possible action when the vandalism occurred to track down those responsible and to prosecute them.”

Farrell also referred to the call for Khalistan to become a separate country as well as pertinent graffiti on the walls of the temple, saying, “The point I make on perhaps the broader issue is that, as my Foreign Minister said when she was here in March, unofficial referendum has no legal standing in Australia and Australia continues to respect and stand by India’s sovereignty and its sovereign borders.”

Earlier Prime Minister Narendra Modi had sought intervention from his Australian counterpart to curb pro-Khalistan activities during his visit to India in March.

“Since the last few weeks, news of attacks on temples in Australia are coming regularly. It is natural that such news worries people in India. I have raised these concerns with Prime Minister Albanese who has assured me that the safety of the Indian community is a special priority for him,” PM Modi had said.

PM Modi will be visiting Australia on May 23 and Australia has reaffirmed that it will take all necessary steps to stop perpetrators from damaging Hindu temples there.

The Australian decision followed the effective mobilization of Indian expatriates in Australia led by the Australian Hindu Association (AHA). They had filed complaints that terrorists were being praised in the city by erecting posters and banners of the SFJ propaganda event. Consequently, the authorities ordered the removal of all the posters and banners by the SFJ.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the New South Wales Police, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) endorsed the decision to revoke authorization for the pro-Khalistan event.