Khalistan movement

Separatist Flag of Khalistan
File:Punjab 1909.jpg
Map of Khalistan

The Khalistan movement is a Sikh nationalist movement that wants to create an independent state for Sikh people, inside the current north-western Republic of India. Such a state existed in Punjab from 1709 to 1849 and Western India. This Sikh Empire had its capital in Lahore, Lahore Pakistan. Most of historical Sikh empire is now part of Pakistan. Lahore, Multan, Peshawar and Pakistan administrated Kashmir were part of the Sikh empire. Pakistani Punjab, FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were major part of the Sikh empire. The new state created would be called Khalistan in the modern territories of Eastern Pakistan and Western India. Its stated capital would be Lahore, a city where Sikh empire was commenced by Maharaja Ranjit Singh and ruled for centuries by his descendants. Khalistan has many groups such as Khalistan Liberation Force and other groups such as Babbar Khalsa.

On April 12, 1980, Jagjit Singh Chauhan, a prominent supporter of the movement, declared that he had formed the National Council of Khalistan, at Anandpur Sahib.[1] He said he was the President of organisation, and Balbir Singh Sandhu was its Secretary General. In May 1980, Chauhan travelled to London and announced the formation of Khalistan. A similar announcement was made by Sandhu, in Amritsar. [2]

The movement reached its peak in the 1980s and died out after it lost the public support in the early 1990s.

Important events and issues

In the 1980s, in the violent events since the inception of Akali Dharm Yudh Morcha, the militants had killed 165 Hindus and Nirankaris, even 39 Sikhs opposed to Bhindranwale were killed. The total number of deaths was 410 in violent incidents or riots, while 1,180 people were injured.[3] Operation Blue Star was an Indian military operation carried out between 1 and 8 June 1984, ordered by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to remove militant religious leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his armed followers from the buildings of the Harmandir Sahib complex in Amritsar, Punjab.[4] In July 1983, the Sikh political party Akali Dal's President Harcharan Singh Longowal had invited Bhindranwale to take up residence in Golden Temple Complex to evade arrest.[5][6] Bhindranwale later on made the sacred temple complex an armoury and headquarter.[7] The operation was carried out by Indian Army troops.[8] Casualty figures for the Army were 83 dead and 249 injured.[9] According to the official estimate presented by the Indian government, 1592 were apprehended and there were 493 combined militant and civilian casualties.[10] High civilian casualties were attributed to militants using pilgrims trapped inside the temple as human shields.[11]

Different secessionist groups in favor of Khalistan with support from Sikh Diaspora and Pakistani ISI continued an armed insurgency against the government of India. Indian security forces suppressed this insurgency in the early 1990s.


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  4. Swami, Praveen (16 January 2014). "RAW chief consulted MI6 in build-up to Operation Bluestar". Chennai, India: The Hindu. Archived from the original on 18 January 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  5. Khushwant Singh, A History of the Sikhs, Volume II: 1839-2004, New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 337.
  6. "Operation Blue Star: India's first tryst with militant extremism - Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis". 5 November 2016. Archived from the original on 3 November 2017. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  7. "Sikh Leader in Punjab Accord Assassinated". LA Times. Times Wire Services. 21 August 1985. Archived from the original on 29 January 2016. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  8. Sangat Singh, The Sikhs in History.
  9. "Army reveals startling facts on Bluestar". Tribune India. 30 May 1984. Archived from the original on 5 July 2009. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
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