What does the issue of terrorists from Khalistan being housed mean? When did it first begin? Why is the Canadian prime minister being accused of having a soft approach to this? Let us know…
Over the death of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, Canada and India are at odds. In fact, recently Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pointed towards India regarding the murder of Nijjar. India termed these allegations as baseless. After the allegations against India, both countries expelled each other’s diplomats from the country.
According to India, these accusations are solely meant to draw attention away from the radicals and terrorists from the Khalistan region who have been provided asylum in Canada for a long time. India has frequently brought up the problem of the rise in anti-Indian actions in Canada even before this. As a result, concerns about the refuge of Khalistani terrorists in Canada also surface. When did it first begin? Why is the Canadian prime minister being accused of having a soft approach to this? Let us know…
What is Khalistan?
After independence in 1947, India and Pakistan became two countries. With this, Punjab province was divided, a major part of which went to Pakistan and some parts remained with us. There was a lot of loss of life and property during the partition. Lahore, which was once the capital of the Sikh Empire, went to Pakistan.
After this, the demand for a separate state for the Punjabi-speaking people started with the Punjabi Suba movement. This was the first time an attempt was made to differentiate Punjab on the basis of language. Akali Dal was born and within a short time, this party gained immense popularity. Strong demonstrations began for a separate Punjab and finally, this demand was accepted in 1966.
On the basis of language, Punjab, Haryana, and Union Territory Chandigarh were established.
During the same period, many demands were raised including the demand for an autonomous state in the form of ‘Khalistan’ which was rejected by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. He had said that this is not a demand for autonomy, but an attempt to create the structure of a separate country under its cover. The demand for ‘Khalistan’ started gaining momentum in the 1970s. Gradually this demand started increasing and it was named the Khalistan movement.
How did the story of Khalistan reach Canada?
After India, Canada is the country where the world’s second-largest Sikh population lives. When the Khalistan separatist movement in Punjab was at its peak in the 1980s, it needed financial resources. It is said that Pakistan’s ISI took advantage of the opportunity and along with the separatists who had gone to Canada from India, spread the fire in the country. This was attributed to the weak extradition laws of Canada’s legal system.
It is said that ISI started transferring separatist leaders living in Pakistan to Canada. The agency also provided financial support for the movement of separatists already living in Canada.
Advertisement on the rise of Khalistan in New York Times
Pakistan kept giving seeds to this separatist movement from the very beginning. Khalistani leader Jagjit Singh Chauhan, who emerged in 1971, declared himself the head of Khalistan. Jagjit was a dentist who left Punjab and went to London. Pakistan’s military dictator General Yahya Khan supported Jagjit. Meanwhile, Jagjit reached New York and ran an advertisement in the New York Times in October 1971 announcing the rise of Khalistan.
Pierre Trudeau refuses to extradite accused of killing police officers
The year 1974 came when India conducted the Pokhran nuclear test in Rajasthan. However, this decision was not liked by many countries, one of which was Canada. The then Canadian Prime Minister and Justin Trudeau’s father Pierre Trudeau opposed the test, hence relations between the two countries deteriorated. The matter did not stop here, further in 1982, Pierre Trudeau refused to extradite Talwinder Singh Parmar, accused of the murder of two police officers in Punjab. This has been mentioned by Canadian journalist Terry Milewski in his book ‘Blood for Blood’.
Revolt reached its peak in India
Here, between 1980-1984, there was a huge increase in incidents of violence in Punjab. In 1983, Punjab’s DIG Atwal was murdered in the Golden Temple complex itself. From this year onwards, Bhindranwala had made the Golden Temple his base. Many options for this issue, which became a headache for the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, were initially explored. Preparations started to remove Bhindranwala from the Golden Temple. Indian Army carried out ‘Operation Blue Star‘. On June 6, 1984, a massive operation was conducted inside the Golden Temple, after heavy firing, the body of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwala was recovered. On June 7, 1984, the Indian Army took control of the Golden Temple.
After this operation, people of the Sikh community were extremely angry against the Indira Gandhi government, and many Sikh leaders including Captain Amarinder Singh resigned from the Congress. Many writers including Khushwant Singh have returned their awards. Just four months later, on 31 October 1984, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two of her own security personnel. Talwinder Singh Parmar was said to be the mastermind behind this incident. The Khalistan movement largely died out in India in the 1990s but survived in Canada.
What has happened now?
Actually, Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar was shot dead in Canada on June 18, 2023. He was shot by two unidentified gunmen near the Gurunanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. Najjar was also the head of the committee running this Gurudwara.
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau pointed toward India regarding the murder of Nijjar. Trudeau alleged that Canadian security agencies have reason to believe that agents of the Indian government killed Nijjar. Canadian agencies are investigating the possibility of an Indian conspiracy in Nijjar’s murder. Trudeau said any involvement in the murder of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is unacceptable.
India’s befitting reply to Canada
The External Affairs Ministry of India responded to the accusations appropriately. The ministry referred to Canada’s accusations as illogical and unfair. India claimed that the sole purpose of these accusations is to draw attention away from the Khalistani terrorists and radicals who have long been granted refuge in Canada and who continue to pose a danger to India’s territorial unity and integrity.
A senior Indian official was ejected from the Canadian side in the meantime. The Indian government is accused by the Canadian government of meddling with the murder probe. The Foreign Ministry summoned the Canadian High Commissioner on Tuesday to express its displeasure with Canada’s choice to expel the diplomat. He was also made aware of a senior Canadian High Commissioner’s expulsion. This diplomat was given five days to depart India.