Raking up orchestrated bogey of Khalistan not without design
Chandigarh, February 9: The demand for Khalistan has not been part of the main political discourse in Punjab for the last several years but still a non-selling Delhi magazine has come out with a special issue on the subject. The bogey of Khalistan has been raised on the eve of the visit of Canadian Premier Justin Trudeau to India. He also proposes to visit Amritsar to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple. The endeavour now seems to be to target Canada by some forces as the new centre encouraging secessionist forces in Punjab.
For certain sections in the establishment and the media, the earlier Khalistan struggle was the brain-child of the CIA and Pakistan’s ISI in which about 50,000 people were killed. This was the only movement in free India that also took the life of a prime minister and a chief minister. Such movement have their origin elsewhere, not in the designs of some agency. That movement still awaits closure and that could be the reason for the sporadic incidents like the killing of Right Hindu leaders in Punjab during the last about two years. It is pertinent to mention that hundreds of people just disappeared without any trace during that period. One has to refer to the verdict of the Supreme Court on cremations of unidentified bodies in just three cremation grounds in Amritsar.
One can go back to the period when Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan was in Amritsar for some time before the start of militancy in late seventies. The local media would not give any importance to the man who had raised the Khalistan demand through an ad in a US newspaper in early seventies. A journalist from Delhi magazine reached Amritsar. The magazine carried 3-page story on him and that was the first time that he received such publicity.
At the time when no organisation or leader relevant to main political discourse is talking of Khalistan, the issue has suddenly been raked up dragging Canada’s Sikh politicians including Prime Minister Trudeau and also Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.
Canada is one country where the number of Sikh ministers is more than anywhere else in the world. They have carved out a place for themselves over the years. Canada provides space for every thought to proliferate, except the armed struggles.
The India media overlooks the fact that raising of the demand for referendum is legal in countries like Canada and UK. The most recent case is that of referendum on Scotland in UK. It is a different situation in India where the demand for referendum is perceived to be bordering secession.
It may be mentioned that the demand for referendum in Punjab was first raised decades back when there was no Khalistan movement and articulating the demand was the Akali Dal. It is the Akali Dal that had raised the demand for autonomy to Punjab on the pattern of the Jammu and Kashmir. That was the time when autonomy in J and K had not been diluted. Now the demand for referendum in Punjab is being drummed up in USA by a one-man organisation without any response fort the people for whom it is being raised.
Khalistan issue is also a commerce.
It is pertinent to mention a para from the report carried by the Magazine that states:
“It’s time for Trudeau to decide if he wants to run with the hares or hunt with the hounds,” says a South Block official, referring to the Canadian leader’s seeming softness to Sikh radicals and pro-Khalistanis in his country while attempting to foster ties with India.
Trudeau has been painted as pro-Khalistan in this framework and the design is not that simple.
It is a case of orchestrated bogey raked up on the eve of his visit.