The Khalistani movement in India refers to the demand for an independent state called Khalistan, which would be carved out of the Indian state of Punjab. The movement was started by a small group of radical Sikh separatists who sought to establish a separate homeland for Sikhs. However, the movement soon gained momentum and turned into a violent struggle for independence.
The Khalistani movement started in the late 1970s but gained momentum in the 1980s, particularly after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards in 1984. The government’s subsequent crackdown on Sikh militants led to a surge in violence and unrest in Punjab.
The Khalistani movement was started by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, a charismatic Sikh leader who advocated for the establishment of Khalistan. Bhindranwale was a controversial figure who used violent means to achieve his objectives. He was killed in a military operation by the Indian Army in 1984, which further fueled the Khalistani movement.
The Indian government has banned the Khalistani movement, considering it a threat to national security. The Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) and the Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) are among the most prominent Khalistani groups that have been outlawed by the government.
Currently, there is no specific leader of the Khalistani movement. However, some individuals and groups continue to propagate the Khalistani ideology and seek independence for Punjab.
The year 1995 was a significant turning point in the Khalistani movement. The Punjab police launched an operation called “Black Thunder II” to flush out militants from the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar. The operation was successful, but it led to the death of several militants and civilians, causing widespread unrest and violence in the state.
In conclusion, the Khalistani movement remains a contentious issue in India, with some groups seeking independence for Punjab while others oppose it. The Indian government has banned the Khalistani movement, considering it a threat to national security. Despite this, the movement continues to simmer, with occasional incidents of violence reported in the region. The government and other stakeholders need to engage in constructive dialogue to resolve this long-standing issue.