When, Where And Why Did The Khalistan Movement Start?
In This Article, ”When, Where And Why Did The Khalistan Movement Start?”, We Will Read About Khalistan Movement, Brief History Of Khalistan Movement, About Anandpur Sahib Resolution, Who Was Bhindranwale?, What Was Operation Blue Star?, etc.
- Amritpal Singh, 29, who is a radical preacher, pro-Khalistan leader and a follower of the slain Sikh militant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and is often dubbed as “Bhindranwale 2.0” in Punjab, trying to revive Khalistan Movement.
- The Centre is closely watching his activities and if he takes any anti national step, the security agencies are ready to crack down.
About Khalistan Movement
- The Khalistan movement is a fight of a very small section of Sikh Community for a separate, sovereign Sikh state in present day Punjab (both India and Pakistan).
- Over the years, it has survived in various forms, in various places and amongst different populations.
- It’s survival is because of many Anti Indian forces keep pushing it from time to time.
- The movement was crushed in India following Operation Blue Star (1984) and Operation Black Thunder (1986 and 1988), but it continues to evoke sympathy and support among a section of the Sikh population, especially in the Sikh diaspora in countries such as Canada, the UK, and Australia.
Brief History Of Khalistan Movement
- The origins of the movement have been traced back to India’s independence and subsequent Partition along religious lines.
- Lahore, the capital of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s great Sikh Empire, went to Pakistan, as did holy Sikh sites including Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism.
- While most Sikhs found themselves in India, they were a small minority in the country, making up around 2 per cent of the population.
Punjabi Suba Movement
- The political struggle for greater autonomy began around the time of Independence, with the Punjabi Suba Movement for the creation of a Punjabi-speaking state.
- The States Reorganisation Commission, in its 1955 report, rejected this demand, but in 1966, after years of protest, the state of Punjab was reorganised to reflect the Punjabi Suba demand.
- The erstwhile Punjab state was trifurcated into the Hindi-speaking, Hindu-majority states of Himachal Pradesh and Haryana, and the Punjabi-speaking, Sikh-majority Punjab.
About Anandpur Sahib Resolution
- The working committee of the Shiromani Akali Dal constituted a 12-member sub-committee on December 11, 1972 to formulate comprehensive policies and programmes.
- The committee after serious deliberations at several meetings submitted a comprehensive report which was adopted by the working committee through a unanimous resolution at Shri Anandpur Sahib on October 17, 1973.
- The general house of the Akali Dal endorsed the resolution at Amritsar on August 28, 1977 and it was then endorsed by the open session of the 18th All-India Akali Conference on October 28 and 29, 1978 at Ludhiana.
- The Akali Dal contested the 1977 elections to Parliament and the state Assembly on an election manifesto based on this resolution.
- While the Akalis themselves repeatedly made it clear that they were not demanding secession from India, for the Indian state, the Anandpur Sahib Resolution was of grave concern.
Who Was Bhindranwale?
- Many in Punjab sought to go beyond just a demand for greater autonomy. One such man was Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.
- Some accounts claim that Bhindranwale was propped up by Sanjay Gandhi, Indira’s son, to stand against the Akalis for Congress’s political benefit.
- However, by the 1980s, the appeal of Bhindranwale had grown so much that he started to become a problem for the government.
- He found a captive audience in the state’s youth, especially those in the lower rungs of the social ladder, and massed a massive following. He and his followers were also getting increasingly violent.
- In the summer of 1982, Bhindranwale, with support from the Akali Dal’s leadership, launched a civil disobedience movement called the Dharam Yudh Morcha. He took up residence inside the Golden Temple, directing demonstrations and clashes with the police.
- The movement was geared towards the demands first articulated in the Anandpur Sahib Resolution, especially the socio-economic demands, which addressed concerns of the state’s rural Sikh population.
- However, amidst growing religious polarisation, sectarian violence, and Bhindranwale’s own harsh rhetoric against Hindus, Indira Gandhi’s government declared the movement tantamount to secession.
What Was Operation Blue Star?
- By 1984, the situation in Punjab had become increasingly untenable for the government. Bhindranwale had given a call to arms, and instances of violence against Hindus as well as government officers had become common.
- In 1983, a senior police officer was shot dead after praying at the Golden Temple and his body was left to decay in the sun, while the local police station did nothing — perhaps both out of fear and sympathy to Bhindranwale’s cause.
- Indira Gandhi took the fateful decision to order the Indian Army to flush out militants from the Golden Temple and neutralise Bhindranwale.
- Operation Blue Star began on June 1, 1984, but due to fierce resistance from Bhindranwale and his heavily armed supporters, the Army’s operation became larger and more violent than had been originally intended, with the use of tanks and air support.
- The image of Indian Army tanks shelling the holiest shrine of Sikhism was traumatic, and the very large number of civilian casualties that occurred during the operation added to the trauma.
- According to the government, 83 Indian Army soldiers were killed and 249 were injured in the operation. A total 493 militants and civilians were killed in the operation.
- Other estimates peg the number of casualties much higher — as much as 3,000.