Rajasansi blast as fear factor has potential to add to build up to 2019 Lok Sabha polls

Chandigarh, November 18: Punjab was rocked again today by a deadly bomb blast killing three persons near Rajasansi international airport at the time when militancy revival narrative has been making headlines for about a month. Punjab was given out to be on high alert as members of some terrorist organisation were said to have infiltrated from across the border.

As usual, the cable media immediately started talking of ISI sponsored despite the police saying nothing is known so far about Rajasansi blast. When the ISI is the culprit, one need not guess who are the people perceived to be the tool.

As per the report, two persons on a motorcycle came to Narinkari Satsang Bhavan of Rajasansi near Adliwal village where the devotees were holding their congregation. One of them threw a hand grenade that killed three and injured several others. The Nirankari aspect is significant as the Sikh militancy is perceived to be rooted in the Sikh-Nirankari clash of April 13, 1978. It was the revenge psyche that got transformed into militancy and ultimately the fight for Khalistan.

The recent focus on return of militancy narrative can’t be overlooked.

This started with the launching of agitation by Bargari Insaaf Morcha to demand action against those responsible for sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib and killing of two protesters in police firing in 2015. Parkash Singh Badal was the chief minister at that time and it is Badal who perceived this agitation as threat to peace and harmony. His son and Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal went to the extent of alleging the leaders of this agitation being instruments of Pakistan’s spy agency ISI.  He was then deputy chief minister holding Home department.

More important, however, is the recent statement of Army chief General Bipin Rawat saying attempts were being made through “external linkages” to “revive insurgency in Punjab”. He made this observation at a seminar. Several sections have questioned his statement as the army chief is not supposed to go public on such issues.

The activities of “Kashmiri militants” in Punjab were in the news recently following arrest of three Kashmiri students in Jalandhar. Some explosive device was hurled at a police station in Jalandhar that the police earlier dismissed as some crackers. Later, it was given out as hand grenade blast.

Significantly, the Punjab militancy has been  dictating country’s political and electoral dynamics.

The Nirankaris have been lying low all these years, not only just in Punjab but even in Delhi. This is the sect that is not even talked about at any level. And still it is the Nirankari Bhavan not far from the international border that has been targeted.

The present conflict is between the Sikhs and Dera sacha Sauda whose head Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh has been an active and effective player in the electoral dynamics of Punjab. This sect was responsible for sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib at Bargari in 2015 going by the police probe. Badals were instrumental in securing pardon for Ram Rahim in 2015 for which they are at the receiving end now. The Nirankaris, however, don’t matter in any narrative in Punjab.

The last major blast in Punjab was at Maur in the run up to February 2017 Assembly election and the investigation so far has pointed to the role of people associated with Dera Sacha Sauda. However, nothing is known about further progress of investigation despite even the culprits having been identified. Gurmit Ram Rahim is serving jail term after conviction in a rape case.

Today’s blast is not an isolated incident. Punjab has been witnessing such incidents over the period with individuals getting targeted. The most important killing during last term of Badal was that of Brigadier Jagdish gagneja (Retd) in Jalandhar. He was the deputy chief of the Right wing Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh in Punjab.

Several others including Hindu leaders were targeted during that regime.

Punjab police chief said the Rajasansi blast as “an act of terror”.

One should not arrive at any hasty conclusion in the absence of any clue.

However, analysing it in the context of electoral dynamics is different. Fear factor is never ruled out.

The reaction tweeted by Sukhbir Badal is a pointer. He tweeted: “Peace and communal harmony in danger in Punjab under Congress rule. First Maqsudan blast, then army chief asserting need for alertness, now an attack in #Amritsar. Cong govt should not play with fire and act to ensure #Punjab does not slip back into vortex of violence.”

Then there is one tweet apparently by someone from the Right who said: “Khalistani ISI are spreading their tentacles in Punjab. Political parties like Congress and AAP have been hobnobbing with these terror groups. Sidhu was busy embracing ISI chief, Kejriwal collects funds from these terror groups.”

This tweet is a pointer to build up.

Jagtar Singh



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