Anti-India pro-Khalistani elements are mushrooming in Australia (Image: File)

In less than a month, Australia has seen three separate anti-Hindu attacks on Temples initiated by pro-Khalistani elements living in the country. The latest attack happened on January 23 at the Hare Krishna Temple located at Albert Park in Melbourne city of Australia. The temple served as the centre of the Bhakti Yoga movement in Melbourne and is run by the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).

As per reports, temple walls were defaced with anti-India slogans of ‘Khalistan Zindabad’ and ‘Hindustan Murdabad.’ The miscreants had also hailed slain Khalistani terrorist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale as a martyr.

Earlier, on January 17, Khalistani supporters vandalised the historic Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple in Carrum Downs in Melbourne. During the vandalisation, the miscreants wrote anti-Hindu and anti-India slogans on the walls near the temple.

On January 12, BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir, a Hindu temple in Melbourne, Australia, was trashed by Khalistan supporters and damaged by painting anti-India graffiti on it. According to the reports, the walls of Melbourne’s iconic Swaminarayan temple in Mill Park’s northern suburbs were spray-painted with ‘Hindustan Murdabad’ slogans.

In less than a month, three attacks on Hindu temples by Khalistani sympathisers is enough to raise alarms, especially when the so-called Referendum 2020 voting is scheduled for Melbourne on January 29. Sikhs For Justice, the Khalistani terrorist organisation banned by the Indian Government in 2019 under UAPA, is conducting the so-called voting demanding a separate nation named Khalistan. A demand that the Khalistani terrorist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale raised.

The khalistani movement that paced up in the late 1970s and early 1980s spread like wildfire in Punjab, and it took authorities around two decades to eradicate the movement from Punjab’s soil. Unfortunately, those who sympathised with Khalistanis are now reigniting the movement. Furthermore, Khalistani terrorists who fled India went to the United Kingdom, United States, Canada and Australia, among other countries and continued their operations.

While Khalistani sympathisers in Canada, including those in the government there, have not quite shied away from extending support to break India forces, the ones who had moved to Australia had not been this anti-Hindu and anti-India. However, in the last two years, the rise of incidents against the Hindu community involving Khalistani elements concerns India. The Indian authorities reportedly warned the Australian authorities to be vigilant of such elements recently.

The Khalistani movement in Australia

There have been reports of Khalistani elements rising in Australia but failing to gain support like in Canada. However, the incidents will rise as three Hindu temples have already been attacked in Australia, and 2023 has just started. Apart from the attacks on temples, here are some examples that point towards the uprising of Khalistani elements in Australia.

On January 4, it was reported that Khalistani posters were seen outside Plumpton Gurudwara. The poster included photographs of the killers of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Beant Singh and Satwant Singh. The poster read, “The Last Battle. Khalistan Referendum. Voting January 29, Melbourne”.

On December 11, 2022, OpIndia reported Khalistani elements blamed Brahmins for the 1984 anti-Sikh genocide that took place after the assassination of former Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi. Notably, it is a well-known fact that the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 were politically motivated and perpetrated by Congress leaders to avenge Indira Gandhi’s assassination by her two former Sikh bodyguards. Despite no religious motive behind the riots, Khalistani sympathisers have blamed Hindus.

Several images surfaced on social media in which a large poster has been seen placed on a trolly. On the poster, it was written that ’60 Sikhs, indigenous people burnt alive by Brahmin-Hindu mobs’. As seen in the viral photo, several Sikh people were seen near the poster, which shows India’s map with ‘Hondh Chillar’ and the 1984 Sikh Riots written on it. Hondh Chillar here refers to the massacre of Sikhs in Hondh Chillar village during the 1984 riots.

In July 2022, Australia Today reported that an Australian Defence Force spokesperson, while addressing the media, said that they had identified an internal process issue after Khalistani posters were seen at the Australian Defence Force marquee at the Griffith Sikh Games. ADF said, “While the attendance of the ADF personnel at this event was well-intentioned, it has identified some internal process issues around attendance at community events and a requirement for further awareness training, both of which are being addressed.”

In February 2022, it was reported that four Victorian Gurudwaras, including Plumpton Gurudwara, planned and executed an event to commemorate pro-Khalistani actor-turned-activist Deep Sidhu. As per reports, on the evening of Friday, February 18, 2022, representatives of the management committees of Tarneit, Miri Piri Deanside, and Plumpton Gurudwaras, as well as several Khalistani activists, met for several hours at Tarneit Gurdwara to finalise plans for the event. It was decided at this meeting that the car rally taken out in memory of Deep Sidhu would end at Craigieburn.

Pro-Khalistan Australians propagating the Khalistani movement

On November 19 last year year, a Nagar Kirtan (also called Humanity walk) organised by the Indian-Australian community in Victoria’s capital Melbourne was ‘hijacked’ by Khalistani supporters. Now, it has emerged that a member of the Australian Labor Party, the ruling party at the national level and in Victoria, was behind this.

The march, which was supposed to foster inter-faith harmony, instead witnessed the distribution of T-shirts, booklets and Khalistani flags. The man who was at the helm of Khalistani propaganda that day was Amritvir Singh, the executive committee member (independent) of the Victorian Sikh Gurdwaras Council (VSGC), who is also associated with the Victoria Labor Party, the Victorian unit of Australian Labor Party.

An official associated with the Victorian Sikh Gurdwaras Council (VSGC) told The Australia Today, “Amritvir Singh was the reason Khalistan supporters could come and distribute their booklets, T-shirts and flags in the Nagar Kirtan.”

Amritvir Singh, a resident of southeast Melbourne, has good connections with the ruling Australian Labour Party (ALP) in Victoria. He told The Australia Today that he advises the Victorian Sikh Gurdwaras Council on government relations plans and youth affairs. It is notable that ALP leader Anthony Albanese became the prime minister of Australia in May this year after the left-wing party won the elections. Similarly, the party also leads the state government in Victoria.

According to The Australia Today, those who hijacked the Nagar Kirtan that day were no ordinary men but members of the banned terror outfit Sikhs for Justice (SFJ).

Many of them had flown in from the United States and Canada to participate in the event and run the ‘Khalistan referendum’ programme. Sikhs for Justice was banned by the Indian Government on July 10, 2019, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for anti-India activities on July 10, 2019.

The clash between pro-India and pro-Khalistan

Furthermore, several clashes between pro-India and pro-Khalistani groups in Australia have been reported from time to time. In 2021, following a similar clash, a Hindu man from Haryana, identified as Vishal Jood, was jailed in Australia for beating up Khalistani supporters. Vishal pleaded guilty to three minor charges of altercations that happened between September 16, 2020, and February 14, 2021. During the final hearing, Vishal’s lawyer presented video evidence proving that Jood was provoked by a group of Khalistanis, which led to the altercation. For the charges he pleaded guilty to, Jood was sentenced to six months in Jail starting from the day of his arrest, April 16, 2021. He was released on October 15.

What is Referendum 2020?

Referendum 2020 is anti-India propaganda being run by the Khalistani organisation Sikhs For Justice. Its founder and deemed a terrorist by the Indian Government, Gurpatwant Singh Pannu, has claimed responsibility for several attacks in the country. Those attacks include an RPG attack on the Punjab Intelligence Office, defacing walls of government buildings with Khalistani slogans, raising Khalistani flags on government buildings, hoisting the alien flag on Red Fort on January 26, 2021, and others.

Under the banner of Referendum 2020, SFJ is conducting so-called voting seeking support for the creation of a separate nation named Khalistan.

The Khalistani movement is no longer fringe in Australia and is slowly on its path to becoming mainstream.

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