The Khalistan movement is an organization that’s trying to create a separate homeland for Sikhs in the Punjab region of India and is considered a security threat by the Indian government.  Pro-Khalistan activists demonstrating in multiple countries around the world have triggered a politics-related dispute, leading to strained relations between India and several other nations.

Recently, the Delhi Police registered a case after people allegedly associated with the organization, which is also known as Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), def aced the walls of metro stations days ahead of the G20 Summit.

The walls of the metro stations were spray-painted with several pro-Khalistan slogans. After that, SFJ released a video in which its chief stated that it was his members who went to four to five metro stations and sent a message to the G20 nations with the graffiti.

With some people supporting the movement and some opposing it, Real Research, an online survey app, conducted a survey on tensions rising in India over the pro-Khalistan movement to gauge public opinion.


  • Sikh separatist movement could have a negative effect on how the world perceives India, according to 35.14%
  • 41.26% believe that the SFJ is being supported by foreign forces inimical to India.
  • The vast majority (90.2%) believe these extreme actions could happen again in the future.

Pro-Khalistan Movement

The Khalistan Movement in India is trying to establish an ethno-religious state in the Punjab region, seeking to create a homeland for Sikhs. Sikhs For Justice, or SFJ, allegedly defaced the walls of metro stations with pro-Khalistan slogans days ahead of the G20 summit that is taking place in India. More than half (60.1%) were aware of these actions, 21.39% were vaguely aware, and 18.51% weren’t aware of them.

54.98% were somewhat concerned by SFJ’s Chief Gurpatwant Singh Pannun’s video, in which he said that the “battle” of the G20 has started today and that India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and India are targets. 24.8% were extremely concerned, and 20.22% weren’t concerned at all by this.

Figure 1: Level of concern over SFJ’s chief video, where he targeted India and Prime Minister

The police from Outer Delhi stated that they were checking CCTV footage and would make arrests soon. To further prevent this, the police have sent personnel to remove the graffiti from all the affected walls. These actions were seen as enough by 37.31% to prevent future incidents, while 35.86% weren’t sure, and 26.83% stated the opposite.

World’s Opinion on the Pro-Khalistan Movement

SFJ claims to be “an international advocacy and human rights group,” with the intention of establishing a sovereign state to be named Khalistan. The pro-Khalistan movement’s most recent secessionist campaign was called Referendum 2020, which aimed to “liberate Punjab from Indian occupation.” Half (50.93%) of the survey’s respondents were neutral about this campaign idea. A high percentage of people support it with 40.52%, 27.01% support and 13.51% strongly supporting it. In contrast, 6.66% opposed, and 1.89% strongly opposed.

41.26% believe that the pro-Khalistan movement is being supported by foreign forces inimical to the government of India; 40.96% weren’t sure; and 17.78% thought the opposite.

Figure 2: Is the pro-Khalistan movement being supported by foreign forces that are inimical to India?

In March 2023, Punjab Police began a sweeping crackdown on pro-Khalistan movement ideologue Amritpal Singh. The following day, pro-Khalistan protests erupted in four different countries.

In London, a mob bearing Khalistan banners smashed the windows of the Indian High Commission building and attempted to breach it. In Canada’s British Columbia province, pro-Khalistanis camped out to protest against the Indian High Commissioner’s visit and roughed up an Indian journalist.

Pro-Khalistan Impact on India

These separatist actions could have a negative effect on how the world perceives India, according to 35.14%. Surprisingly, 33.01% believed these actions could have a positive impact on India’s reputation, and 31.85% showed no clear signs of an effect.

Figure 3: The separatist actions impact on how the world perceives India.

With the multiple incidents happening in various locations around the world. The vast majority (90.2%) believe these extreme actions are set to happen again in the future. In detail, 47.52% said it’s extremely likely, and 42.68% said it’s likely to happen. On the other hand, only a minority of 8.38% stated that these actions weren’t likely to happen in the future, and 1.42% said it was extremely unlikely.


Survey TitleSurvey on Tensions Rising in India Over Pro-Khalistan Movement
DurationSeptember 5 – September 11, 2023
Number of Participants10,000
DemographicsMales and females, aged 21 to 99
Participating Countries Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, China (Hong Kong) China (Macao), China (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Greanada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Maluritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar [Burma], Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.