BRAZEN KHALISTANIS CHALLENGE GOVT
Assasins of Indira Gandhi hailed as martyrs in a Sikh rally in Canada (Picture at left)
In what can be described as a brazen challenge to the rule of law, Pro-Khalistanis held a Baisakhi day rally at the same venue as Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. On Monday (April 14) a Sikh rally near Vancouver in Canada to mark Baisakhi, had raised the hackles of the Indian government. That's primarily because, at this gathering of no less than one lakh people, the assassins of Indira Gandhi were hailed as martyrs.
This heightened show of Sikh separatist sentiment prompted an incensed New Delhi to turn to Ottawa for help. But the call for attention from a foreign government seemed all too ironic, when on the same festive day -- Sikh defiance raged in India's own back yard. At thee rallying grounds of Palwandi Sabo in Punjab's Batinda district, imposing images of Khalistan movement founder Jarnal Singh Bhindanwale dominated the scenery. Provocative placards were conveniently ignored by state leaders, who were busy addressing their own gatherings at the same ground.
Leaders like state Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and opposition Chiefs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Former Punjab CM Amarinder Singh were present at the gathering. What also went unnoticed was the hardliner's high-decible attack on the Punjab government for allegedly going soft on this man Dera Sacha Sauda -- Sect leader Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
It was a grouse that was highlighted with a public honouring of the families of nine persons who had died in the anti-Dera riots during the last few months. Bhai Mohkam Singh -- Spokesperson, Khalsa Action Committee said, "In Punjab the Dera's are creating trouble and are robbing and killing people. We will fight against it." Parents of the nine person voiced pride and said, "We are proud to parents of men who tried to do targeted the Dera Sachcha Souda"
While it was a demonstration that didn't incite violence, it was clear attempt to open wounds that have barely healed. But it appears, the Punjab government prefers to remain in a blissful ignorance of these goings on. Sukhbir Singh Badal -- Working President of Akali Dal said, "I am not aware of any of this. We will look into it "
It's clear that the state's administration is following a policy of appeasement to prevent renewed tensions in the state. But this Baisakhi, it was a Sikh New Year resolution that these hardliners are determined to see out and it seems reviving Khalistani sentiment is their means that end.