A protest in India reinitiates the Khalistan debate
The ongoing protest by farmers in India has once again rekindled the old Khalistan debate. Narendra Modi’s authoritarian populism is again attracting tremendous criticism owing to a set of reforms aimed at squeezing small farmers. On the contrary the Indian government views these reforms as the ways and means to bring about the much needed modernization in the farming sector. Most of the Punjabi’s are linked to farming with more than half a million living in the UK. Therefore it is feared that the ongoing protest by the farmers would eventually stir violent protests in the UK by the Sikh community. The current protest by the farmers has reinitiated the old Khalistan debate. According to the government since the new laws are in place with the approval of both houses therefore it cannot be repealed to please the protestors.
However, negotiations between the government and the farmers could result in some kind of a relief for the farming community. Conversely the Sikh community for the most part believes that the government is trying to frame the farmer’s movement into a Hindu versus Sikh protest. In light of the present set of circumstances in India many Sikhs living abroad contend that whatever happens in India will have a huge impact abroad. India’s biggest internal security mission Operation Blue Star by the Indian army not only killed 83 soldiers and 490 militants but also resulted in Indra Ghandi’s assassination. Unrest in Punjab and anti-Sikh riots had wiped out an estimate of 8000 Sikhs in the aftermath of Operation Blue Star. The course of history suggests that repression of Sikh community had earlier resulted in a fierce Sikh separatist’s movement. Multiple attacks by the Sikh separatists had been carried out in India and abroad. In 1985 Air India’s flight disintegrated midair. In August 1986 the Indian Army Chief General AS Vaidya was assassinated by the Khalistan supporters. Similarly in 1995 the Chief Minister of Punjab Beant Singh was killed in a car bombing by Khalistan separatists. For the past many years the Sikh Diaspora in the west has been extending its financial and diplomatic support to the Khalistan movement. Therefore, United Kingdom is considered to be the breeding ground of the resurgence of the old Khalistan movement. The Sikhs have recently demonstrated outside the Indian high commission in London. Ghandi’s Statue was desecrated in Washington furthermore in Rome the Indian embassy was Vandalized and the Khalistan’s flag was installed by the Sikhs. The above mentioned series of events suggest that Modi’s authoritarian regime has placed India on the brink of chaos reigniting the fiery Khalistan movement.
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