Canadian Sikhs perform mass prayers ahead of the referendum in Khalistan

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Thousands of Sikhs gather at Sri Guru Granth Sahib Parkash Purab, Malton, Canada to perform the Ardas prayer in support of the Toronto Khalistan referendum. — Photo by the author
  • Over 50,000 Sikhs take part in a mass gathering in the Canadian capital.
  • The Sikh Union says momentum has increased for the Khalistan referendum.
  • Referendum on September 18 in Toronto.

TORONTO: Prior to the September 18 vote for the Khalistan referendum in Toronto, over 50,000 Sikhs performed Ardas (Sikhs prayer) in support of the Khalistan referendum in a display of massive local support for the Khalistan movement.

Ardas is a Sanskrit word, from the root, ‘ard’ ask, beg, pray and ‘carrion’ means desire, hope and desire. Ardas to God is a fundamental religious activity in the Sikh religion and is performed to seek blessings, peace and prosperity.

The mass prayer was offered before Sri Guru Granth Sahib Parkash Purab, Malton Canadian phase of Khalistan Referendum Voting is scheduled to take place on September 18 at the Gore Meadows Recreation Center in Brampton. Those who attended the prayer ceremony carried yellow flags. Men, women and children chanted Khalistan slogans and vowed to continue the struggle until the establishment of Khalistan.

The pro-Khalistan secessionist advocacy group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), which organizes the vote, welcomed the mass gathering, which supported the goals of the Khalistan referendum. The referendum will take place on September 18, but large-scale activity has already begun in full swing.

SJF Attorney General Gurpatwant Singh Pannun said: “Thousands of Canadian Sikhs rallied in Ardas to offer their support for the Khalistan referendum. Since voting began on October 31, 2021 in London, momentum has been building for the Khalistan referendum. Even more encouraging is that thousands of young Canadian Sikhs have shown their enthusiasm for the democratic process of the Khalistan referendum.”

He said that the response from Canada’s Sikh community to the upcoming vote has been overwhelming and “has given the Modi regime nightmares”.

Last week, Canadian Sikhs set a new record in support of the Khalistan movement by knocking out a car rally It stretched over several kilometers and consisted of over 2000 vehicles, including cars and legendary Canadian trucks.

Khalistan referendum campaign – in which Sikhs are asked to answer the question “Should the Indian-ruled Punjab be an independent country?” – has drawn fierce opposition from New Delhi, Indian media and pro-India segments of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs).

While Indian media and NRIs have expressed opposition, the Indian government has been proactive in labeling and equating the unofficial referendum on Khalistan as “terrorism” and declaring SFJ – the referendum supporter – as an illegal organization under the controversial Unlawful Activity Prevention Act (UAPA) from India.

Ahead of Toronto’s Khalistan referendum vote, pro-Khalistan activists are actively staging truck rallies with Khalistan banners, plastering mega billboards, signs and distributing the promotional materials at gurdwaras in Brampton – a heavily Sikh metropolitan city.

The Punjab Referendum Commission (PRC), a body of neutral referendum and direct democracy experts, oversees the voting process to ensure transparency and compliance with international voting standards.

The Toronto Khalistan Referendum Election Center is named after Shaheed Harjinder Singh Parha to honor the young pro-Khalistan Sikh who returned to India from Canada to fight in the then-running armed struggle for Khalistan after the June 1984 Indian Army take part attack on the golden temple. In a staged police encounter, Indian forces extrajudicially killed Parha in 1988.

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