The wide publicity given to the “Referendum 2020” campaign of Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), at the birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak at Nankana Sahib in Pakistan carries a clear imprint of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), feel intelligence sources.

Pakistan, they say, is propagating the secessionist agenda as part of its objective to support ‘Referendum 2020’, codenamed “Operation Express”.

Till date, the ISI footprint was restricted to terrorist activities in India. Security agencies say though some Khalistan and ‘Referendum 2020’ posters were found during the visit of Sikh jathas to Nankana Sahib and Gurdwara Panja Sahib during Baisakhi this year, this is the first time they are propagating a full-scale secessionist movement.

Activists of Sikhs For Justice have reportedly set up a small office near the shrine, besides being allowed to open an office in Lahore. Intelligence agencies claim that “Referendum 2020” banners completely envelop the surroundings of the Gurdwara.

India’s immediate concern is that considering the surge in ISI-sponsored terror attacks in Punjab here over the past few months, including the Amritsar grenade attack this week, the ISI and SFJ are “scouting for talent or agents of interest” to be radicalised from among the youth who are part of the Sikh jatha visiting Pakistan.

Thousands of Sikh pilgrims, who have gone to Nankana Sahib to pay obeisance at the Sikh shrine on the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, are greeted with posters of ‘Referendum 2020’, calling for establishing Khalistan.

Posters pasted all over the venue, accessed by Indian security agencies, also rake up Sikh sentiments by asking the pilgrims “Never to forget 1984”.

Though Indian security agencies have been crying hoarse over the ‘Referendum 2020’ campaign being lapped up by ISI from the beginning, the space given to the campaigners near the shrine at Nankana Sahib, managed by the Evacuee Trust Properties Board of Pakistan (ETPB), is a direct proof of ISI support, they claim.

All terror modules busted by Punjab Police and intelligence agencies this year have been linked to ISI.