The recent arrest of radical Sikh leader Amritpal Singh from Punjab's Moga district has once again bought the problem of Khalistan back to the fore. Amritpal Singh identifies himself as the chief of Waris Punjab De (literally translating to heirs of Punjab). Amritpal Singh is an open advocate of Khalistan, a separatist movement that seeks to create a homeland for the Sikhs by establishing an ethnoreligious state, The International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS) wrote.
The manner in which the supporters of Amritpal Singh attacked the Ajnala police station in Amritsar demanding the release of one of his aides Lovepreet Toofan, send shockwaves across India. Shocking visuals emerged of Amritpal and his supporters brandishing swords and guns and barging into the Ajnala police station.
More shockingly, Amritpal wielded the Sikh holy book Guru Granth Sahib as a shield. Six police personnel, including a Superintendent of Police rank officer, were injured during the Ajnala clash. This action by Amritpal and his aides served as a reminder of the dark days when the Khalistan movement had cast its ugly sway over Punjab, IFFRAS wrote.
Amritpal Singh identifies himself as a follower of the radical Sikh militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale who used to give open calls for arms and violence against the Indian state. Bhindranwale had attracted a lot of followers among the youth of Punjab, especially those coming from the lower rungs of society, the report noted.
By 1984, violence orchestrated by Bhindranwale supporters against the Hindus and government officers had become common in Punjab. Bhindranwale also moved into the Golden Temple of Amritsar and made his headquarters, IFFRAS wrote.
Realising that Bhindranwale now posed a grave threat to national security, the then Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi gave her assent to flush out militants from the Golden Temple and thus Operation Blue Star was launched in 1984 which was successful in its objectives of freeing the Golden Temple from the clutches of the Sikh separatists.
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Bhindranwale was killed by the Indian army during Operation Bluestar. However, Indira Gandhi had to pay a heavy price for Operation Bluestar as she was assassinated by her own Sikh bodyguards in 1984.
The virulent and violent nature of the Khalistani ideology that still permeates today among some sections can be gauged from the recent statements made by Amritpal Singh.
In one of his statements, Amritpal Singh said that the Indian constitution was just a mode of perpetuating the slavery of the Sikhs. Further, in a viral video, Amritpal threatened that Union Home Minister Amit Shah would meet the same fate as former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi if he tried to stop the Khalistani movement, IFFRAS wrote.
"Indira tried to deal with us in her own way; what happened? Now if Home Minister wants to fulfil his desire, let him try this," Amritpal said in the video.
Amritpal calls Bhindranwale his inspiration and regards him as a hero, The International Forum for Rights and Security noted.
The Khalistani ideology is nothing but terrorism using the pretext of religion as an excuse. Punjab has paid a heavy price in terms of life and property during the dark days of Khalistan terrorism. Khalistan terrorism also received support from the sinister Inter-Services Agency (ISI) of Pakistan, the report stated.
Now, through Amritpal Singh, Pakistan's ISI once again wants to stoke tensions in Punjab. Indian intelligence sources have credibly found that Amritpal was radicalised by the ISI with the help of Khalistani supporters based outside India.
The Khalistan movement invokes religion to fan separatist sentiments. The Khalistan ideology is the antithesis of secular principles and advocates a governing system based on religious laws. The Khalistan movement too does not believe in democratic traditions. Khalistan poses a grave threat to their respective societies by stoking the flames of separatism. It needs to be dealt with with an iron fist, the report noted.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)