CHANDIGARH: A comprehensive reading of the ‘Khalistan’–A project of Pakistan’ from Macdonald-Laurier Institute would make it appear that the only people interested in keeping alive the ‘Khalistan’ movement are some fringe Canadian Sikhs and the Pakistani intelligence apparatus.
But retired policemen in Chandigarh, Panchkula, Ludhiana and Amritsar say that the ‘Khalistani’ movement is finding resonance among nefarious elements in Punjab keen on settling scores with those who crushed the movement. Nobody was willing to speak on record because of the fear of fringe supporters of ‘Khalistani’ groups.
From 1981 to 1995 at the peak of the ‘Khalistani’ terror movement about 21,000 people were killed in terror incidents that included more than 11,000 civilians and 1,415 personnel of the Punjab Police. ‘Khalistanis’ and ‘Khalistani’ supporters and masterminds mostly living in Canada, Europe and Pakistan have begun an insidious campaign to resurrect the movement.
In the past two years there has been a concerted attempt to sully the image of former Director General of Police (DGP) KPS Gill who broke the back of militancy in Punjab. A campaign has been launched in the past year on social media to vilify the image of Gill, dubbing him as the butcher of Punjab. Whereas the truth is, and almost every resident of the state acknowledges, that the real butchers were the foot soldiers of Bhindrawale who killed hundreds of innocents in train massacres, shootings in crowded markets and trains and busses.
Senior retired Punjab police officers residing in leafy suburbs of many cities in Punjab, fear that they could be the next targets of mercenaries in the state who are acting on the behest of Canada based Khalistanis.
Former DGP of Punjab and close associate of KPS Gill, Sumedh Singh Saini has gone underground last week after his Z plus security was withdrawn and he was denied anticipatory bail by a Mohali court in a terror case that suddenly cropped up after almost 30 years! Saini was the target of a terror attack in 1991 that left him injured and three policemen dead. Many senior police officers not willing to speak on record for fear of being targeted by powerful people say that policing Punjab in the eighties and nineties meant using tough measures, and Saini did just that. Is he paying the price for that? If arrested and kept in a Punjab prison, he would be easy target, fear these officers.
On September 6th 2020 two Khalistani terrorists Bhupender alias Dilawar Singh and Kulwant Singh who are wanted in terror cases in Punjab were arrested in Delhi after exchange of fire with security forces. If they were attempting to target any politician or attempt a terror strike is not yet known.
On August 14th, 2020 a ‘Khalistani’ flag was affixed on the district administrative complex building in Moga, Punjab by one youth while another filmed him and uploaded the video on social media. Moga police claims to have identified the culprits and arrested one Akashdeep Singh (19). The other two Jaspal Singh and Inderjeet assisted in the operation in the hope of getting the ‘award’ of $2,500 offered by Gurpatwant Singh Pannu of the banned outfit ‘Sikhs for Justice’ of Canada. Jaspal’s father is a police inspector.
Terry Milewski who has followed the Khalistani movement for 35 years since the Air India bombing and authored the Macdonald-Laurier Institute report notes that Pakistan has been propping the ‘Khalistani’ flag for half a century in its goal to bleed India. But it is nowhere near security that goal, however it is not giving up on it either. The report notes “it’s clear who’s really driving the Khalistan bus: Pakistan – the same Pakistan where countless Sikhs were murdered and expelled in the name of Islam. What’s more, while separatist Sikhs complain loudly and properly about the massacre of several thousand Sikhs by Hindus in 1984, there are no rallies to demand justice for at least a quarter-million Sikhs massacred by Muslims in 1947.”
Three ‘Khalistani’ flags cropped up in tall buildings in Moga in 10 days. Since it is not an offence, no FIRs were lodged but it is clear that attempts are being made to stir trouble in Punjab. And there are sympathizers or mercenaries willing to do the bidding of ‘Khalistani’ separatists. (ANI)