For a very long time, Sikh people of Punjab asking for Khalistan. In the 1980s, radical separatists led a violent campaign for a Sikh state called Khalistan in Northern India.
What is Khalistan movement?
Khalistan movement: Sikh separatists want to establish Khalistan as an independent state in Punjab. The origins of the movement can be traced to India’s partition along religious lines, causing communal violence and mass displacement. After India’s independence in 1947, tensions between the central government and Punjab state led to Sikh discontent as they were a minority in India.
The movement for greater autonomy began with the Punjabi Suba Movement, which galvanized the Akali Dal and led to the Anandpur Sahib Resolution in 1973. By 1971, an advertisement in The New York Times proclaimed the birth of Khalistan. In the 1980s, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his lower-class followers turned violent and led the Dharam Yudh Morcha movement. They occupied the Golden Temple, leading demonstrations and clashing with police.
Operation Blue Star
In 1983, as a suspect in the murder of Punjab Police Deputy Inspector General AS Atwal the movement named as Khalistani. Indira Gandhi snubbed, tried to eliminate Bhindranwale by ordering Army attack on Harmandir Sahib. The Khalistan movement in India was crushed after Operation Blue Star and Operation Black Thunder. These operations hurt the Sikh community and led to the demand for Khalistan. The assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi triggered communal violence. After this Punjab became the center of an insurgency allegedly supported by Pakistan that lasted until 1995. Sikh separatist movement still backed by Sikhs in diaspora due to vote bank politics, social issues and discontent.
In current scenario, Pro-Khalistan activists pulled down the national flag at the Indian high commission in London during a protest. On this incident, the Indian government is urging the British government to take action against the perpetrators. Modi govt sees UK’s disregard for diplomatic premises security as a “trigger event” with far-reaching consequences beyond just a protest.
Avtar Singh Khanda, an asylum seeker based in the UK, organized the Sunday protest. Suspectedly, Gurmit Singh Bukanwala received funds for the protest from Kulwant Singh Khukrana, who is a member of the Khalistan Liberation Force.
The Modi government accuses the British system, including its intelligence agencies, of being too soft towards Khalistan separatists who oppose India. In 2019, during the anti-CAA-Kashmir protests outside the Indian High Commission, someone made the accusation.