As published in the Mail on Line, London, on 12 August 2018, members of the Sikh community led by ‘Sikhs for Justice’ gathered in Trafalgar Square in central London on August 12, 2018 and called for a referendum by the global Sikh community to establish India’s Punjab state as an independent country. The rally comprised of thousands of expatriate Sikhs and their supporters, who demanded a referendum on an independent homeland to be carved out of India. They brandished banners reading ‘Free Punjab, End Indian occupation’, ‘Punjab Referendum 2020 for Khalistan’ and ‘We will re-establish Punjab as an independent country’. As published in the Times of India on 12 August, the pro-Khalistan rally was called London Declaration, and its purpose was to kick-start a campaign for a non-binding referendum on Punjab’s independence in 2020. Some of the protesters said, they felt Sikhs were treated unfairly in India and did not have equal rights. More than 3,000 Sikhs took part in the rally.As per the above newspaper, the Indian government discussed its concern with UK officials over the activity of expatriate Sikhs, who want to create a homeland of Khalistan in India’s northern Punjab state. The UK’s Foreign Office confirmed it discussed the rally with the Indian High Commission, but a spokeswoman told AFP that a “Peaceful protest is a vital part of a democratic society.” Gurpatwant S. Pannun, legal advisor to Sikhs for Justice, said, “This is a peaceful, democratic campaign to give Sikhs the right to determine their own future”.The Sikhs determination to make Indian Punjab a separate country for them is a long standing requirement because of the injustices done to them, as a minority in India. To undermine Sikh identity, culture and their demand for a separate homeland; apart from promoting the extremist Hindu organizations to mistreat the Sikhs, the Indian government has also been using state terrorism to suppress them. The Sikhs in Indian Punjab have suffered indiscriminate use of state terrorism to suppress their initial demand of their right to have autonomy, which was refused to them repeatedlyThe Sikhs in Indian Punjab have suffered indiscriminate use of state terrorism to suppress their initial demand of their right to have autonomy, which was refused to them repeatedly. After being frustrated by the government’s strategy to use Hindu extremists and state forces to commit rampant human rights (HR) violations against the Sikhs, the community demanded independence from India.In 1980, the Sikhs started an armed struggle against the Indian yoke. As a consequence, Indian Army’s major violation of Sikhs human rights resulted in the desecration of their most sacred shrine in Amritsar, the Golden Temple. The government launched an attack with tanks on June 1984, to kill Sikh freedom fighters residing there. The death toll of the attack was estimated to be as high as 2,000 Sikhs. Since the attack in 1984, as noted by Amnesty International, the Indian Government has been using state forces to suppress their freedom struggle by committing indiscriminate atrocities against them. For example, to interrogate the Sikh freedom fighters, Chilli powder was sprinkled in their eyes. Sikhs were hung upside down from ceilings till they became unconscious. Their body joints were battered. Electric shocks were administered, making most of the youth impotent. Sikh women, during interrogation, were also hurt very badly.Moreover, violence is inflicted on the parents in the presence of their sons and daughters and vice-versa. Adult girls are sexually assaulted, pregnancies are terminated of expectant females. Sikhs are subjected to severe beatings and filthy abuse in the presence of their village folks. Dead bodies of Sikhs killed in fake encounters are not handed over to their parents to conceal marks of excessive violence. Indiscriminate atrocities are committed against the parents of underground youth of the area where militant action took place. However, as stated by a prominent Sikh leader, Dr Amarjeet Singh in Dunya Kamran Khan Kay Sath programme recently, “India, with the massacre of 0.15 million Sikhs over the course of 32 years, has not been able to crush the Khalistan movement”.In view of the above discussed widely known HR violations being committed against the Sikhs by successive Indian governments; like the people of Jammu and Kashmir, Sikhs of Indian Punjab are alienated from India, and their expatriate Sikh representatives feel compelled to announce the conduct of Referendum 2020, to declare Indian Punjab as a separate country known as Khalistan. Expatriate Sikhs are spearheading the Khalistan movement because the Sikhs in India do not have the agency to voice their demands because of fear of brutal retaliation against them by the state.The writer is an ex-Army Colonel, a former Research Fellow of Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI), Islamabad and Senior Research Fellow, Strategic Vision Institute, IslamabadPublished in Daily Times, October 19th 2018.