Publicly supporting Referendum2020, an initiative by US based radical group” Sikh for Justice “in favour of a Separate State of Khalistan may cause Greens candidate in Batman, Alex Bhathal, the much needed backing of Indian Community.
The speech she made at Sikh Genocide Remembrance March 2015 in Melbourne is causing ripples in the Community, many accusing her of supporting the divide India movement. The speech goes as follows.
I wanted to end today with …. really for me …….. what I believe is a recommendation that I think we should carry forward the moves like 2020 referendum and the important that they really at the core of the need as a minority in India and around the world, we need to uphold our rights of self-determination and freedom of belief and expression …. is very important.
Alex Bhathal has clarified her position saying “Like representatives from other parties (ALP, Libs and independents), I have supported the Sikh community when they commemorate the deaths of many Sikhs in India during the 1984 riots.
“But I also condemn Indira Gandhi’s assassination and I have not and do not advocate for a separate Khalistani State to be created,” Ms Bhathel said in a statement.
This will be the sixth time 54-year-old Alex Bathel is contesting the seat. She first contested unsuccessfully in 2001. She did not run in 2007 federal elections. Greens have been consistently improving their performance in Batman over the years. Greens Primary votes has risen from 11.6 percent in 2001 to 26.4 percent in 2013. In 2016, Feeney narrowly held Batman by 51-49 against the Greens at the election, a 9.6-point swing to the Greens.
Ms Bhathel has lived in the electorate for three decades with her GP husband and the couple own a home in South Preston.
What is Referendum 2020?
The referendum asks Sikhs living across the world to build a consensus in favour of Khalistan and sign a declaration for the formation of a sovereign and independent country in “India-occupied Punjab” on the basis that Sikhs are the indigenous people of Punjab and have a historical homeland, are a separate religion and have the right to self-determination.
This is being done under article 1 of charter of the United Nations. After an unofficial referendum in 2020, The group plans to ask United Nations to get it done officially.