New Delhi, Dec 16: Zulfikar Bhutto had once said that Pakistan will also have a Bangladesh carved out of India, but it would be on the Pakistan border. This was a reference that he made to Khalistan.
While Pakistan continues to push its Khalistan agenda, the fact of the matter is that it has not found many takers in India. Movements such as the Referendum 2020 by the banned outfit, Sikhs For Justice have not any traction in India.
However abroad, there continues to be support for the movement. The ongoing farmer protests have gained support from the global Khalistan movement. Thousands of protesters gathered outside the Indian High Commission in the United Kingdom and displayed Khalistan flags. Paramjeet Panna, closely associated with the ISI funded Sikhs For Justice and members of the Sikh Federation, UK, which is associated with the Khalistan movement were part of the protests.
The SJF threatened to shut down the Indian consulates in Europe and North America. On the other hand, Pakistan’s interior minister, Fawad Choudhary said injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We must speak up against injustice done to Punjabi farmers. Modi policies are a threat to the whole region.
The ISI has for the past two decades made attempts to revive the Khalistan movement in India. Intelligence reports amidst the farmer protests also indicated that Pakistan based Khalistan groups are being pushed by their handlers to exploit the farmers’ agitation in a bid to revive militancy in the state.
Since the early part of this decade, Pakistan has been funding the SJF launched Referendum 2020 movement. In 2018 a module was busted in Punjab. It was found that this group was promoting Referendum 2020 and had planned on mass targeting. They even had their eyes set on an IPL game in Mohali.
It was also found that they were getting support from Europe and Pakistan. The Facebook page Referendum 2020 meant to promote the movement was set up by an ISI agent who went by the alias Fateh Singh, the police also learnt.
Senior officials tell OneIndia that while the Khalistan movement has not gained the traction that Pakistan would have desired, the issue however continues to persist. The ISI will continue to fund the movement and will look for fragile situations and make use of it.
The manner in which attacks are being plotted have changed over a period of time. In the anti-CAA protests, we saw how ISI backed elements had infiltrated the protests and ensured that it had gone violent. The security agencies fear a similar scenario in the ongoing farmer protests as well.
In the past few months several outfits such as the Babbar Khalsa, Khalistan Liberation Force, Khalistan Zindabad Force, ISYF and Khalistan Commando Force have come under the scanner. A meeting at the Nankana Sahib in Pakistan between these elements and the ISI also came under the scanner.
Further it also came to light that the Babbar Khalsa and the Lashkar-e-Tayiba shared a common office outside the Nankana Sahib.
The ISI had also gone ahead and set up the Pakistan Sikh Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee. The formation of this committee increased the interaction between the pro-Khalistani forces. Pakistan also went a step ahead and liberalised the visas for these persons.
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In this context, it would also be important to mention that the Sikhs for Justice proposes to sponsor the pilgrimage of several Sikhs to Pakistan next year. The SJF, which is a pro-Khalistan organisation which works in Canada, Europe and UK had recently promoted the London Declaration of the Referendum 2020.