'Referendum 2020' bogus issue: Indian Ambassador
Washington: India has termed as "bogus" the "Referendum 2020" by a handful of pro-Khalistan supporters, saying they are the agents of Pakistan who have spread false rumours.
Stressing that those supporting the idea had "little support" from the community, India's Ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla said such groups were "getting desperate" and going into "acts of terrorism".
This is for the first time that a top Indian diplomat has come out openly against the "Referendum 2020", promoted by separatist Sikhs for the creation of Khalistan.
"The organisers (of referendum) are just a handful of people. The so-called Referendum 2020 is a bogus issue," he told reporters after a visit to a Sikh gurdwara in Baltimore.
"They are getting desperate, going into acts of terrorism and also militancy. I think they would be a thing of the past," Shringla added.
Responding to a question, Shringla also termed the perpetrators of referendum as agents of Pakistan. "These are people supported, as we know, by our neighbouring state who was constantly opposed us. They are agents of that state. They have spread false rumours and propaganda," Shringla said.
Praising Sikhs for playing a role in strengthening the US-India relationship, the envoy said, "We will continue to work with the majority of the community and ignore those who are a small and dwindling community."
Sporting a traditional Sikh turban and dressed in a white kurta and payjama, the ambassador also interacted with the members of the Sikh community at the event hosted by the Sikh Association of Baltimore Gurdwara and the Sikhs of America. Pti