FROM THE GOLDEN TEMPLE TO PUNJAB INDEPENDENCEDans: Rapports d'experts
The year 2021 could be marked by a referendum on the independence of the Indian-governed region of Punjab. This non-governmentexecuted referendum would enfranchise not only the region’s current citizens, but also members of the Sikh diaspora spread across the globe.
Independence referendums are often labelled as “unofficial” by their opponents, as was the case in Catalonia and Iraqi Kurdistan in 2017. Yet, many of these votes still achieve an appreciable degree of success, for a referendum is not only a decisional tool, but also a political lever. As such, a vote on the independence of Punjab would help draw international attention to Sikh nationalism and solidify popular support for the movement.
This report outlines examples of successful “unofficial” referendums and draws up a practical roadmap towards legitimacy and international recognition.
Precedents in South Sudan, Eritrea, and East Timor would strongly support letting the diaspora vote in a referendum held in a region such as Punjab. Furthermore, given the historical underpinnings for the proposed referendum as well as the political obstacles preventing such a vote in India, Punjab Referendum 2021 would be on robust legal and historical footing to be considered a legitimate, non-government-executed referendum.