Khalistan Referendum - BT

Of late, Melbourne has been rocked by violent clashes between Hindus and Khalistan referendum supporting Sikhs. Both form part of the Victorina Indian community.

Sikhs for Justice groups based in the US and Canada had called for a referendum on Khalistan for January 29 which was held at the Federation Square in Melbourne.

Thousands of Khalistani supporters  joined queues to cast their vote in support of the separate land – asking for breaking away from India – majorly the state of Punjab (in Northern India) and its surrounding areas.

It has been a long simmering issue going back decades and has claimed thousands of innocent lives on both sides.

In Melbourne though, both sections of the Indian community have been living in complete peace and harmony until recently and in the lead up to the referendum on January 29.

Three Hindu temples were vandalized with a span of two weeks – with slogans supporting Khalistan.

While Hindu population was frightened and looked for answers, their leaders, particularly leaders of the temples vandalised called for calm. Some quietly and behind the scenes called for anyone – no matter what religion – responsible for such attacks – to be immediately deported.

“Such people have no place in Australia. We have been living in peace for decades and must not succumb to the agenda of those who want to play politics, divide us and rule over us”, and elderly Mr Singh told Bharat Times and requested to remain anonymous.

Mr Singh’s sentiments were echoed by many in the community, although some also supported the separate homeland for Sikhs.

“We do not want to see violence and terror here; we suffered enough back home in India” they pleaded.

Jasbir Singh, chair of Sikh Interfaith Council of Victoria is another leader pleading for peace and harmony.

He was happy to speak to Bharat Times on record.

“We need to be united and send a message of unity, not of our divisiveness; we cannot let these elements spoil a strong relationship of multifaith multiculturalism; the peace and harmony that we enjoy, and we have to keep guarding this very strongly”, Mr Singh said talking to Dinesh Malhotra of Bharat Times.

Also read: Khalistani attackers may walk away with mere $152.90 fine

Mr Singh said he was sad to see clashes at Flinders Street station between two sections of our community.

Mr Jasbir Singh Suropada
Mr Jasbir Singh, Chair Sikh Interfaith Council of Victoria

All I’m saying is what has happened should not have happened. It’s unfortunate. It should not have happened. I don’t take sides … All I’m saying is knowing emotions are going to be there, things could have been avoided”.

Mr Singh said the Tiranga carrying Indians, by going there, put themselves in harm’s way by walking into a situation where (they ought to have known) the emotions would be high.

“Knowing that we are going to go there come to harm’s way. harm’s way means you’re too close. And if you say something, my emotions already high, you are trying to provoke the situation.”

“God bless them with peace and harmony… upon reflection I’d say it was not worth it. I’d rather spend my energy on something beneficial that unites the community not divide the communities.”

To restore goodwill, peace and harmony, according to Mr Singh, soon Sikh and Interfaith leaders will be visiting Hindu temples and the Hindu leaders will visit Gurdwaras.

He says God is one with many different names.

“We all come from one soil, right? That’s one God. There are many names, but he’s still one. That’s a belief for the Sikh faith. And whether you are a Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Jew, Muslim, we all bleed red blood. We talk about humanity as a whole,” he added.

While the Hindu and Sikh community in Victoria is settling back into their daily lives, the underlying concerns for peace and harmony remain.

Unconfirmed reports say now there will be a Khalistan referendum in Sydney in May 2023.

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