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The broadcast was organised by the UK’s Whitehouse Consultancy and saw a collection of speakers discussing the development of a referendum for Sikh self-determination. However, the online conference was blocked by Indian government agents to prevent its content from being seen by Sikhs in the Punjab region of India. The Punjab had existed as a sovereign state until it was annexed by the British Raj in 1849.
The jamming of the YouTube broadcast, already viewed over 3,400 times, was reported by Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, General Counsel of Sikhs for Justice, at 1 hour 9 minutes into the online conference.
Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on International Relations, Khalid Mahmood MP contributed to the broadcast, enthusiastically supporting the referendum calls.
The broadcast was entitled ‘Self-determination and what it means for Sikhs around the world: Towards a Punjab referendum’.
During the event, the grassroots campaign group Sikhs for Justice announced that a referendum for an independent homeland for Sikhs would be held on August 15, 2021.
The referendum will be presided over by the Punjab Referendum Commission.
The commission is chaired by a panel of independent experts on direct democracy and will preside over a global non-governmental referendum on establishing Punjab as a sovereign country.
The referendum will be held as a litmus test to allow Sikhs worldwide to express their desire for an independent Punjab state.
The blocked broadcast was hosted by Whitehouse Founder and Chairman, Chris Whitehouse and organised by Laura Coryton.
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The blockage comes after the pro-communist Hong Kong authorities recently criticised the Whitehouse Consultancy for its work with the pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong, sparking Chris Whitehouse today to say: “We wear these attacks, whether verbal or cyber, as badges of honour.
“They show the success of our global human rights practice, launched quietly 12 months ago, but already world-renowned.
“We have a further campaign coming to a head imminently on organ harvesting from the Falun Gong in China, and are doing all we can to support those campaigning for the rights of the Uighur people who are facing genocide”.
It saw representatives of Sikhs for Justice and the Independent Punjab Referendum Commission make the case for self-determination through referendums as an effective and established way of bringing about the fulfilment of the expressed wishes of repressed peoples.
The state of Punjab in northern India has been the scene of a decades-long independence movement that has resulted in bloodshed and human rights abuses.
According to a Human Rights Watch report, after crushing militant secessionists, Indian security forces used “increasingly brutal methods to stem the insurgency, including arbitrary arrests, torture, prolonged detention without trial, disappearances, and summary killings of civilians and suspected militants”.
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