‘Problems with Khalistan motion ought to have been handled politically’

Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, December 20

Elucidating upon the events in the 1970s and1980s that led up Operation Bluestar in Punjab, former senior police officers opined that all the issues in those days, should have must have been addressed politically not forcefully as there are no military answers to a political problem. 

Speaking out his recently published book, ‘The Khalistan Conspiracy: A Former R&AW Officer Unravels the Path to 1984’, at the Military Literature Festival here on Sunday, the author GBS Sidhu, said that in the late seventies when he was sent to Canada to look into the Khalistani problem, he found no evidence of any large scale movement except for a couple of persons peddling the cause.

Sidhu, a former Special Secretary in the Research and Analysis Wing, delved upon a series of interconnected events that led to the subsequent rise of the Khalistan movement and its aftermath. He spoke of the functioning of RAW on this issue, the developments and changes that took place within the agency such as creating new divisions and setting up new overseas stations and the political dimension to the whole episode.

He said that his book revolved around a two-phased, top-secret operation, initiated and managed by some senior Congress leaders operating from then prime minister Indira Gandhi’s residential office at 1 Akbar Road, New Delhi.

Labelling it as Operation Bhindranwale-Khalistan, he said that the first phase involved destabilising the then Badal-led government in Punjab by propping up Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale and creating a fear psychosis, which met little success, while the second phase was aimed at winning the state elections.

 Sidhu also recalled various aspects related to rising of militancy in Punjab and abroad, especially Canada and other European countries, where Sikhs had migrated to during the 1970s. He also highlighted about the efforts of the union government at that time to settle the issues revolving around militancy. 

Former Director General of Police, Punjab, GS Aujla, said that the issue was not addressed at the political level at that time and history has given a great lesson that political will was lacking to solve the issue during the period.

MPS Aulakh, a former Director General of Police, Punjab who has held prominent positions in the Intelligence Bureau, traced the series of events of that period that began with some incidents of violence in the early 1970s and the role of the establishment in dealing with the emerging situation.

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