Khalistan referendum voting in Brisbane hit by cyber attack

Sikhs For Justice alleges Indian government agencies behind attack


The Khalistan referendum voting in Brisbane, Australia was hit by a massive cyber security attack on Sunday within 30 minutes of its start.

Voting started at the Brisbane Exhibition and Convention Center with the Sikh holy prayers at 9am sharp. The voting continued smoothly for the first 30 minutes, but then the whole voting electronic system crashed as a cyber-attack was launched.

Organizers Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) claimed the attack was well-planned and well-coordinated, and alleged the Indian government agencies were behind the cyber-attack.

Also Read: Khalistan referendum: Sikh community votes in Toronto as India’s sabotaging efforts fail

They said this was not the first time that the Sikhs’ Khalistan referendum voting was attacked. One of the organisers said attempts were made previously as well, but the IT team and security experts of the SFJ were able to restore the system back up.

On Sunday, as the system was disrupted, thousands of people waited in queues outside for the system to start operating again. The online portal especially built for safe voting on the question of ‘Secession of India from Punjab’ went down, and a message read on the system: “Your connection is not private. Attackers might be trying to steal your information from the website (for example passwords, messages or cards).”

Also Read: When independent: Khalistan seeks Shimla as capital

Inside the vast hall, dozens of policemen stood in line to provide security to the voters. Outside the hall, over 50 policemen patrolled the streets as there were fears of disruptions from the local Hindutva groups, who had announced a demonstration outside the center.

The cyber-attack is a part of a sustained campaign by New Delhi to halt the Khalistan Referendum voting in western countries, which have seen thousands of Sikhs coming out to show their support for the creation of Khalistan.

Qihoo 360 Technology, a Beijing-based major software company released a cyber-security report asserting that in India, Sikhs with religious and political inclination as well as Khalistan referendum 2020 websites and mobile apps were under attack from Indian cyber mercenary group, known as ‘APT C-35’.

APT C-35 mercenaries have launched several phishing websites and mobile apps relating to referendum 2020 as bait to target pro-Khalistan Sikhs in India.

Also Read: Overwhleming number of Canadian Sikhs cast votes in anti-India referendum

According to the report from the Qihoo 360 Core Security team, “there’s an ongoing phishing and spyware distribution campaign targeting Sikhs in India. There are approximately 30 million Sikhs, followers of a 15th-century monotheistic religion, and most of them (83%) live in Punjab, India”.

“After Canadian Blackberry’s report, a Chinese security firm has also confirmed that every Sikh with a religious or political inclination is a target of cyber terrorism in Modi’s India,” claimed Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, general counsel to SFJ, who had sent a communique to the Chinese authorities seeking support for the Khalistan referendum.

Tensions rose in Brisbane ahead of the referendum voting, as dozens of pro-Khalistan Sikhs were rounded up and India’s honorary consulate in Brisbane forced to close down.

The Australian government also issued an updated travel advisory advising its citizens against travelling to India due to a “high risk of violence” in certain states, including Punjab.

A few days before the March 19 voting organized by pro-Khalistan secessionist group SFJ, Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had raised with his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese the recent alleged incidents of attacks on temples in Australia as well as pro-Khalistani activities in that country.

It’s understood that PM Modi raised the issue with the Australian government after over 50,000 Sikhs turned up to vote for Khalistan referendum in Melbourne for the first phase at the end of January this year. Clashes broke out on the streets between Sikhs and Hindu groups outside the voting center, and several arrests were made.

The SFJ said that Sikhs have come under attack from hardline Hindutva supporters in Australia, and they were captured on video defacing Khalistan banners hanging at Sikh temples.





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