The month of June is ingrained in the minds of the Sikh community as it refreshes the painful memories of the tragedy of Operation Blue Star and how the Indian Army desecrated the holiest Sikh shrine of Akal Takht. But the tragedy also resurrected another legend in the line of brave Sikh warriors; Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. While browsing the social media of Sikh groups across the world, one gets a positive feeling of how the older generations have kept alive the memories of the Sikh struggle for identity and how the youth still remembers the sacrifices of 1984.

June 6, 1984, is historic from the view of the Khalistan move ment when one of its leading figures was martyred by Indian security forces in the battle for Akal Takht. Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale’s legend has not only lived on but has now become a source of strength for the Sikh community across the globe, including in India.

Operation Blue Star, with heavy support of armour and artillery, was launched in June 1984 to assassinate Bhindranwale and his valiant soldiers including former Sikh Maj Gen Shabeg Singh. Bhinranwale was martyred by the Indian Army on June 6, creating ripples across India and paving way for permanent fissures between the Sikh and Hindu community.

From the grandeur of Sikh rule in the subcontinent to bitter memories of Operation Blue Star and desecration of Akal Takht in 1984 (which resulted into a mutiny in the Indian military), Khalistan has remained a dream for the Sikhs of India as well as their strong diaspora around the entire globe.

In Canada, the US, UK, Europe, South East Asia and Australia, the Khalistan movement is getting a lot of traction. The Sikh Federation UK had presented their manifesto with three major objectives; an independent inquiry into the actions of the UK government in the lead up to and after the June and November 1984 Sikh genocide; a call for the UK government to recognise the events of June and November 1984 as a Sikh genocide; and a call for the UK government to recognise and support the application for self-determination to the Sikhs for an Independent Khalistan.

A US and Canada based organisation, Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) under Gurpatwant Singh Pannu, has been lobbying for an independent Khalistan, and for the RSS to be declared a terrorist organisation.

Canadian politician Jagmeet Singh had called for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots to be termed genocide. In 2017, the Ottawa State Assembly passed a resolution calling the killings, after the assassination of Indira Gandhi, a genocide. In 2014, two survivors of the riots testified before the UN. Mobs of angry men had killed thousands of Sikh men and allegedly raped the women, the figures of which are still disputed.

The Indian security establishment is finding it difficult to stem the tide of insurgencies in Kashmir, Khalistan and Naxal-dominated areas. An international referendum by the Sikh diaspora in 2022 could trigger a wave of independence movements across India and jolt the very foundation of the Indian Union.

Sikhs have also been demanding the repeal of an ambiguous clause in the Indian constitution of 1949 – Article 25(2)(b) which states that, “Reference to Hindus shall be construed as including a reference to persons professing the Sikh, Jaina or Buddhist religion, and the reference to Hindu religious institutions shall be construed accordingly.” This clause, according to the Sikh community, has denied them their identity as a separate religious community.

Sikh frustration within Indian polity and the Sikh diaspora becoming more proactive has raised alarm bells in the South bloc. The promulgation of the Sikh Congressional Caucus in the US in 2014 is viewed by India as part of the Khalistan movement. The Times of India then observed that, “The Indian effort to sensitise US lawmakers to New Delhi’s concerns began even before the launch of the caucus, but much to the Indian embassy’s surprise and dismay, pro-Khalistani Sikhs succeeded in getting the caucus off the ground. In the process, they are said to have side-lined mainstream nationalist Sikhs.”

Why has Pakistan not discussed the issue of Khalistan when Modi openly talks of Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan, this needs some insight. Unfortunately, there is little debate in the Pakistani media on issues related to India’s internal politics, especially the conflicts within the Indian Union.

A contrast between the Kartarpur Corridor and the Babri Mosque verdict is a contrast between Pakistani and Indian ethos, especially of their dealing with minorities. Pakistan’s stereotyped perception, built by Indian establishment and their surrogates in Western media, has been shattered; the international community should now focus on Hindutva Republic and mobocracy established by RSS goons. The Sikh community in Indian Punjab as well as across India came to rescue of Muslims when they were targeted by Hindutva mobs after promulgation of NRC and CAA in India.

With India strangulated in Occupied Kashmir and latest border disputes with China and Nepal and a perpetual state of hostility towards Pakistan, the Khalistan Movement can pick up pace in coming months. Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale is a beacon of light for Sikhs across the globe and his sacrifice for Sikh cause will remain a glowing chapter in the history of this valiant nation.