Theocratic state for the Sikh is known as Khalistan which means land of the pure in Punjab and Northern parts of India.
This movement was founded by Jagjit Singh Chohan. These are the radical separatist who spearheads a bloody campaign to come out as an independent and autonomous state exclusively for the Sikhs. its roots can be traced deep back to British colonial rule.
During the first week of June 1984, with full military might the Indian government launched an attack on the Golden Temple violating the UN Charter to which it is a member, and also did not consider the religious sentiments of the Sikhs killing many freedom fighters of the Sikh community present inside. Several Sikh leaders were injured and killed and the draconian government clampdown.
Despite the ruthless government crackdown, the dream of a fully independent Sikh state as their homeland reflecting the ideology, politics, and demography of the community remained.
The Sikh nationalist felt that they should have not joined India in 1947 on the false promise of an independent Sikh state and that they have tasted betrayal since the beginning of 1947 time and again at the hands of modern Indian founders.
The Punjabi Sikhs were aware and conscious of communal politics during the 1930s and 1940s. accepting the promise of the Congress they6 moved to India in 1947 in the hope of a separate Sikh homeland.
In contemporary times, states are experiencing ethnic conflicts on their soil because of multi-ethnic societies, especially those failing to develop or implement post-independence cooperative livelihood. Several factors have led to the unrest of the Sikh community like their struggle for self-identity and the demand for an independent Sikh state (Punjab) where they lived majority.
They were represented by Shiromani Akali Dal post-1947. Sikh leaders under the leadership of Sant Fateh Singh started to call for a Punjabi Suba within Indian State where Punjabi-speaking Sikhs were in the majority after independence.
After the creation of Andhra Pradesh on a linguistic basis, the hope of Sikhs raised higher and this hope was politically motivated and heightened by the Akali Dal as they felt that only a Sikh-dominated state could provide them safe provincial constituency.
Since the Centre was not ready to acquiesce to the political demands of the Sikh community, it grew frustrated and later Patiala and states of East Punjab joined a union named PEPSU and its administration was in the hands of the Sikhs since they were the majority and developed a short-term alliance between the Akalis and the Congress at the Centre with the instruction of the commission to merge PEPSU with the other parts of Punjab.
Later on, leaders of Akali Dal along with the Haryana leaders met with the then Prime Minister raising their concern over the decision as a result of which the government trifurcated both Hindi and Punjabi accepted as a regional language with Punjabi being the medium of communication in Punjabi speaking area and vice versa but the leaders of the Akali Dal moved forward for the creation of a Sikh dominated state due to the intertwining of the pro-Hindi.
The commission’s report of 1955 stated that the demand for separate states of Punjab and Haryana was rejected. This hindrance created conflict and was souring the relationship between the Centre and the Akali Dal leaders and its members.
The then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi eventually accepted the demand of the Sikhs and the Akali Dal in 1966. Chandigarh being the joint capital of both Haryana and Punjab was an explosive issue along with the Chandigarh Green Revolution and the aggrieved Akali and Sikh community turned violent during the 1980s.
The rebellious Sikh leaders started creating havoc by attacking and killing officials, civil servants, and citizens in demand of a separate homeland and that’s when the armed struggle by the Sikh leaders started and the attack on Golden Temple by the Indian Army devastated the situation and converted it into a camp for the supporters and followers of Bhindranwala.
This inefficiency and inability of the government to deal with such a situation led the Sikhs to support the Khalistan movement at large since their religious sentiments were hurt and as a result, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated. India witnessed a widespread killing of the Sikhs as a consequence of the assassination.
To curb the uprising, several brutal methods were implemented such as torturing them, arresting them, granting long-term imprisonment, and extra-judicial killings on the alleged ground of being a terrorist. Operation Blue Star gave a strong fillip to the demands instead of decreasing the support and strength of the Khalistanis.
All the major Sikh organizations and Sikh diaspora all around the world were coming up with their support. Water problems, Chandigarh issues, political agitation, religio-constitutional demand, and dispute of power were among the major issue for the Khalistan movement.
The Sikh separatist movement triggered extreme Sikh nationalism due to the mishandling and brutal enforcement of the government. Punjab was in an unrest situation for nearly 2 decades due to the constant clash between the Khalistan movement and the operations led by the government.
People witnessed heinous and blood-chilling retaliatory incidents like the Air India Flight 1982 and the bombing, the merciless killing of Army Chief A S Vaidya and C M Beant Singh. Because of the constitutional amendments and the formation of the new provinces after the partition of India the Sikh community began to absorb into the Hindu fold.
The failure of the Sikh Political agenda and the demand for its separate homeland led to the arm struggle in search of their identity. The failure to create a separate autonomous state for the Sikh community as per their demand has not only weakened the bond between Indian Sikhs and the government but also included the Foreign Sikhs. Though the movement received a blow through legal enforcement and sanctions to crush its emerging power and demand, Operation Blue Star in 1984 and Operation Black Thunder played a significant role but it still kept gaining support and sympathy, especially from the Sikh diaspora all around the world.
This movement has been outlawed and banned in India as it is considered grave to the national security by the Indian government and several groups and organizations that support this movement are held liable under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention0 Act (UAPA). This movement led to the destruction of lives on both sides accompanied by criticism of the government by the Sikh community and also resulted in the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Despite its decrease in uprising and support, it is still active and is supported by Sikhs not only in India but also by those living overseas. They are not only threatening the government but are also attacking foreign lands. Besides creating issues generally, it is also hampering the image of the whole Sikh community and destroying the peace.
Amritpal Singh is the chief of “Waris Punjab De” which is a radical organization founded by Deep Sidhu in the interest of the protection of the rights of Sikhs or peace. The Indian government and authorities are on a massive manhunt for this Sikh separatist leader as his actions are sparking tensions since these pro-Khalistan protesters are vandalizing and removing the Indian flag violating the supreme law of the land.