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Khalistan Issue UPSC NOTE

 What is the Khalistan Movement?

  • The Khalistan movement is a fight for a separate, sovereign Sikh state in present day Punjab (both India and Pakistan).

  • The origins of the movement have been traced back to India’s independence and subsequent Partition along religious lines.

  • The Punjab province, which was divided between India and Pakistan, saw some of the worst communal violence and generated millions of refugees.

  • Lahore, the capital of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s great Sikh Empire went to Pakistan.




  • Holy Sikh sites including Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak(the founder of Sikhism) went to Pakistan.

Punjabi Suba Movement

  • Began around the time of Independence - for the creation of a Punjabi-speaking state.

  • In 1966 - Punjab was reorganized.

  • The erstwhile Punjab state was trifurcated into the Hindi-speaking, Hindu-majority states of Himachal Pradesh and Haryana, and the Punjabi-speaking, Sikh-majority Punjab.



Anandpur Sahib Resolution

  • In 1973, Akali Dal, the major force in the new Sikh-majority Punjab, released a list of demands.

  • Anandpur Sahib Resolution demanded autonomy for the state of Punjab, identified regions that would be part of a separate state, and sought the right to frame its own internal constitution.

  • Akalis were not demanding secession from India, for the Indian state, the Anandpur Sahib Resolution was of grave concern.


Bhindranwala

  • Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, positioned himself as “the authentic voice of the Sikhs.

  • Later he become a problem for the government.

Dharam Yudh Morcha

  • In 1982, Bhindranwale, with support from the Akali Dal’s leadership, launched a civil disobedience movement called the Dharam Yudh Morcha. 

  • He took up residence inside the Golden Temple, directing demonstrations and clashes with the police.


Operation Bluestar

  • Indian Army’s operation

  • In 1984: Bhindranwale was killed and the Golden Temple was freed of militants, however it gravely wounded the Sikh community around the world.

  • It also galvanised the demand for Khalistan.

Aftermath of Operation Bluestar

  • In October 1984, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two Sikh bodyguards.

  • Over 8,000 Sikhs were massacred in massive anti-Sikh violence.

  • In 1985, Sikh nationalists based in Canada blew up an Air India flight killing 329 people. 



Current Status of the Khalistan movement

  • Punjab has long been peaceful.

  • But the movement lives among some Sikh communities overseas.

  • The diaspora is composed predominantly of people who don’t want to live in India.

  • The deep-rooted anger over Operation Blue Star and the desecration of the Golden Temple continues to resonate with some in the newer generations of Sikhs.


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