Jasdip Singh Jesse, Chairman of Sikhs of America Inc. and a distinguished Indian-American Sikh leader, has recently declared that the Khalistan separatist movement garners scant support in the United States among both the government and the Sikh community. His statement emerges against the backdrop of the indictment of Indian national Nikhil Gupta in an alleged assassination attempt on Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, associated with the Khalistan movement.
Jesse emphasized that a mere minority of Sikhs in India and the U.S. advocate for the Khalistan cause. He underscored the need for the Indian government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to confront critical issues confronting Sikhs in Punjab and to engage directly with the Sikh diaspora globally, avoiding intermediaries such as the Akalis or Badals.
On the Pannun case, Jesse remarked that it would likely not severely affect the robust India-U.S. bilateral relations. He advocated for an independent inquiry into the incident, highlighting the strategic significance of India-U.S. ties, particularly in the context of counterbalancing China.
Jesse also drew attention to unresolved issues from the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, underlining their ongoing importance to the Sikh community. He called on the Indian government to better address the aspirations and needs of Punjab’s youth, aiming to reduce migration by providing enhanced employment and business opportunities within India.
The Pannun case has attracted international focus, with Nikhil Gupta challenging his arrest and extradition proceedings in the Czech Republic. U.S. federal prosecutors allege Gupta’s involvement with an Indian government employee in the plot against Pannun, who holds dual U.S. and Canadian citizenship. The Supreme Court of India, acknowledging the case’s delicacy, has deferred the next hearing to January 4. Meanwhile, India has instituted an inquiry committee to assess the case’s implications for national security.