Muhammad Irfan Abbasi

Indian leadership’s dream of hegemony in the region has kept the regional security situation volatile since long and there seems no solution.

Skirmishes with Pakistan are seen often but another front in Laddakh is also the outcome of the same ambitious endeavors. On the other side, Hindutva followers’ pursuit of absolute domination within India is risking the existence of the country itself.

Oppression of minorities who are demanding their rights became state-sponsored vandalism in many cases, especially against Muslims that reflects in different regrettable events like the Babri Mosque demolition, the Gujarat Massacre, and recent rows of Ban on Hijab and Adhan in different states of India.

Similarly, there is no exemption for other minorities as well wherein the state seems to abet the right-wing vandalism.

Indian armed forces have a history of violating the sanctity of religious sites of the minorities, operation Blue Star is indeed a vivid example of the same.

State-backed vandalism against minorities proves that the Indian high gentry and establishment always remained prejudiced and oppressor towards minorities.

The 1984 Operation Blue Star was one of the most fatal steps taken by the Indian government to suppress the political movement of a sovereign Sikh state within India.

The movement was at the acme at that time due to biased policies of the Indian government. The gross disparities in development, education, and wealth resulted in driving Sikh youth towards violence.

The situation ultimately led to a civil war-like situation, Harchand Singh Longowal being President of Shiromani Akali Dal in a futile effort tried to negotiate with the congress party to avert a civil war.

During the early 1980s, some Sikh leaders were calling for more than an autonomous provincial state. The Indian government led by Indira Gandhi opted for the biggest internal security operation of all times inside any religious place.

As a result, the Indian army attacked Harmandir Sahib, known as Golden Temple, and 41 other Gurudwaras in Punjab, initiating the gross human rights violations in Punjab.

Divided into two parts namely Operation Metal and Operation Woodrose, the Indian army used all components of sophisticated military might including tanks, armored vehicles, and helicopters in the operation.

Thousands of Sikhs were killed extra-judicially during the operation, but there had been no inquiries about the misuse of military might and providing justice to the families of victims.

This sheer denial to provide justice resulted in resentment and Indira Gandhi got killed at the hands of Sikh bodyguards. Operation Blue Star though remained apparently successful, created deep-rooted hatred among Sink youth towards the state of India.

Military action at Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) was a violation of the sanctity of the religious place that left everlasting negative impacts on young Sikh generations.

Ironically, the Indian state policies didn’t change much even after that cruel act of using military might to settle a political issue.

Sikh community is still facing the discrimination, bigoted legislation against Sikh farmers in 2019, not paying heed too long to their protest, killing of Sikh farmers by BJP leader, BJP’s opposition to Kartarpur corridor, and efforts to sabotage this project all are glaring examples of the bias towards the Sikh community.

Though BJP ultimately kneeled before the farmers’ protest, they tried to use every tactic to make the farmers’ protest unsuccessful. However, they failed.

This long history of oppression resulted in a strong reaction by the Sikh community, the Khalistan movement gained further momentum as the Sikh community realized that they cannot live freely in India.

Protests and Referendums across the world for Khalistan by Sikh for Justice organization speaks of the Sikh community faith that they have to get an autonomous state in any case.

Like the Kashmir issue, the oppression of other minorities in India also seeks the attention of the international community and human rights organizations.

The international community certainly has a moral obligation to support the Sikh community against the Indian state’s oppression.

 

*The writer is Islamabad based media analyst and quasi columnist and can be reached at irfanabbasi189@gmail.com

**The Diplomatic Insight does not take any position on issues and the views represented herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Diplomatic Insight and its staff.

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