‘Sikhs for Justice’ is considered to be a separatist organisation that aims to establish an exclusive homeland for the Sikh community — Khalistan. The group is based in the United States and has often been criticised by the Indian government.

Sikhs for Justice, established in 2007, is currently headed by Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. He is a graduate of Punjab University and an attorney in the United States. He also serves as the legal advisor to Sikhs for Justice.

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The organisation has recently come into the spotlight after ‘Khalistani’ flags and graffiti appeared outside the state assembly of Himachal Pradesh on Tuesday. Sikhs for Justice was banned by the Indian government in 2019 for “anti-India activities.”

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun was charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act following the incident. Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur wrote in a statement, “I condemn the cowardly incident of raising Khalistan flags at the gate of Dharamshala Assembly Complex in the dark of night.”

The ‘Referendum 2020 campaign’ has so far been the centerpiece of all the initiatives taken by the Sikhs for Justice group. The referendum wanted to “liberate Punjab from Indian occupation”, Pannun said. However, it gained very little traction and failed.

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Sikhs for Justice has also widely demanded justice for the 1984 riots, which killed thousands of Sikhs in India after then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated.

Pannun, also the legal advisor to the Sikhs for Justice group, conducted a protest outside the United Nations headquarters in 2014. During the protests, he said in a statement, “First time in 30 years UN afforded an opportunity to the victims of November 1984 to present in person testimony and evidence to show that violence against Sikhs was genocidal in nature.”