NEW YORK,  A large number of Sikhs from all over North America Tuesday staged a rally outside UN Headquarters in New York against India’s military build-up in the border State of Punjab, amid growing tensions with Pakistan.

Sikh activists, carrying placards “Boycott India’s Jingoistic War” and raising slogans of “India’s Dirty War, No Way – Punjab’s Referendum On The Way”, pledged to support Independence Referendum to liberate
“Indian Occupied Punjab.”

A delegation of “Sikhs For Justice” (SFJ), a human rights NGO, met with diplomats from Uruguay’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations and submitted a memorandum seeking immediate intervention of the Security Council to stop India from turning Punjab into a battlefield, according to a SFJ press release.

Uruguay is one of the 15 members of the UN Security Council and is due to hold the Presidency of the 15-member body in January 2017.

Citing the impact of recent Indian military build-up in Punjab, the memorandum said that Sikhs in Punjab have already started suffering from India’s military buildup that has forced thousands of Sikh farmers to evacuate from their farms, “turning them into refugees in their ancestral homeland”.

“India’s jingoistic war with Pakistan which she intends to pursue at the cost of Sikh people, their lands and lives, is becoming a human tragedy of mammoth proportions” SFJs memorandum further states.

“War is not a solution to the Kashmir and Punjab issues where people are merely demanding their right to self-determination through plebiscite and referendum” Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal advisor to
SFJ, said in a statement
“We are asking Security Council to stop India from waging a war, and instead fulfill its obligations under International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by allowing people of Kashmir and Punjab to exercise their right to self-determination”, Pannun said.

The anti-war “Save Punjab Rally” was organized by “Sikh For Justice” (SFJ) in collaboration with Sikh political parties, civil rights groups and management committees of the Sikh temples across North America, the press release said.