Punjab Police on Monday arrested four people for allegedly trying to publicise pro-Khalistan campaign ‘Referendum 2020’ supported by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), by setting buses and liquor shops on fire. Plans were also in place to stick posters in Mohali stadium in Punjab during the upcoming IPL games.
According to police, the men said that they wanted to light a fire in petrol pumps and other places to spread violence. The police said that the men came in touch with Pakistan-based ISI agent through a Malaysia based woman identified as Deep Kaur who lured them with lucrative job offers and convinced them to indulge in unlawful activities. They claim Kaur first lured them through social media and then through her network in Punjab arranged for Rs. 70,000 for them. They bought a bike from this money.
‘Referendum 2020’ is a campaign launched by radical Khalistani separatists group ‘Sikhs for Justice’ (SFJ) where the SFJ will hold an unofficial referendum in 2020 and if required, would take the UN’s intervention to help community conduct a referendum for a separate Sikh state. The referendum asks Sikhs across the world to build a consensus in favour of a separate state, Khalistan from “India occupied Punjab”. The referendum also asks Sikhs to reject article 25(b)(2) of Constitution that says Sikhs are a part of Hindu religion.
Last year in July, too, the Sikh Referendum posters appeared in several parts of Punjab and a sedition case was filed against five persons.