Referendum 2020 was a no-show, has no support: Punjab CM

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Chandigarh : Terming a rally held by a Sikh organisation in London as a "no-show and a damp squib", Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said on Monday that the event has "exposed total lack of ground support for (pro-Khalistan) Referendum 2020 even outside India".

Dismissing the event as a "futile exercise by a sham organisation to create trouble in India, particularly Punjab", the Chief Minister said that these things were being done by fringe elements in the Sikh community who were backed by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

"The Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) is just a group of fringe elements playing into the ISI hands to divide India. But they have failed and will continue to fail in their nefarious designs. The presence of Pakistani politicians at Sunday's rally confirms that it was out and out an ISI plot, which fell through, just as their attempts to create trouble in India have been failing all these years," the senior Congress leader said in a statement here.

"As expected, the event turned out to be a damp squib, participated by a handful of elements."

Amarinder Singh also criticised the UK government for allowing its soil to be used for anti-India activities.

"The entire referendum business is nothing but a money-making racket of the SFJ, with no takers for the so-called campaign either in India, or even outside, as is evident from the poor show at the rally. There was virtually nil local support for the rally and whatever little support they managed to garner was of similar fringe elements from various countries," said the Chief Minister.

"The presence of Pakistani leaders, including Nazir Ahmed who openly spoke of dividing India and taking away Kashmir, Punjab and Nagaland from it, made it clear that the rally was the game plan of the ISI -- a fact endorsed by the presence of separatist Kashmiris living in the UK," he added.

"Some of these Kashmiris were forced to wear turbans to make them look like Sikhs. And the handful of Sikhs around had evidently been forced to come," he claimed.

He said that the Sikhs were a patriotic community which always stood for the unity and integrity of the country.

"As many as 90,000 Sikhs are serving in the Indian Army, defending the country's borders. Elements like the SFJ can never succeed in misleading the community into falling for their selfish designs," he added.

The Chief Minister warned anti-India forces to refrain from making attempts to foment trouble in Punjab, or any other part of India.