Sikhs used to be terrorists, fundamentalists, agents of the ISI, but the new buzz word is ‘Sikh Ultras’. According to the Panjab Police, the Badal Dal, Amarinder Singh and the Tribune there are Sikh Ultras, mainly from Babar Khalsa, who want to revive the Sikh terrorism of the Seventies, Eighties and early Nineties.
There appears to be a Singh behind it all, loads of RDX and other evil stuff has been confiscated and some people have been arrested. Family and friends loudly protest their innocence and allege that the arrested persons have been tortured.
In the late nineties when I lived in Panjab stories about dangerous people who were smuggled in from across the Pakistan border by the ISI, carrying weapons, ammunition and explosives, kept popping up in the press. ‘After some time’ the arrested people were discretely set free, and the ‘confiscated’ weapons etc were redeployed in the next fake arrest of ‘dangerous Khalistanis’.
I do not live in Panjab anymore, and although I try to keep in close touch with events there, it is more difficult for me to judge the present stories. I have a working theory which fits in with impressions of the mood of people on the fringe of the Khalistani movement, and with past experience of Indian practices.
There are people on the fringe of the ‘established’ Khalistani movements in countries like Canada, the UK, USA and Malaysia who are angry that so many years after 1984 the culprits of the killings in Harmandar Sahib and in Delhi and other Congress ruled cities have not been prosecuted and that no real progress has been made towards establishing Khalistan.
They have no patience with the long term strategies of the established Khalistani organisations and are looking for action, in their home countries action against what are seen as anti panthic elements, but also direct action in Panjab itself.
When I visited Lahore in 1996 and 1997 I met ‘diaspora’ Sikhs who go to Pakistan and volunteer to go into the east Panjab and explode bombs or kill politicians. The persons I met never made it across the border, all they did was shuttle between Lahore and their Islamabad ISI contacts in the hope to progress their plans.
We all know that the Pakistani army and the ISI have never been under control of the Pakistani governments, not even of the military ones.
Looking at what is served up by the Panjabi press I think that that there might be at least one real incident with some kind of Khalistani connection, and that the rest are the usual scare stories and finds of the same weapons etc again and again.
The use of violence in India or elsewhere will not be of any benefit to the Sikh Qaum. Just like in the days of Indira Gandhi, Sikh violence will only give an excuse to politicians in India and elsewhere to implement anti-Sikh measures.