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January 2019 Edition of Power Politics is updated.    Wishing You All a Happy New Year.       January 2019 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:January' 2018


Need for caution

K S Chawla

Operation Bluestar, Golden Temple. Both India and Pakistan have already agreed to open the Kartarpur Corridor at the Indo-Pak border on the Gurdaspur side. However security experts and the intelligence agencies have expressed their concerns over the possibilities of Pakistan’s ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) promoting terrorism in Punjab through this corridor.
The experts say the opening of the corridor will provide easy access to the radical Sikhs or what is known as Khalistani elements.

The Kartarpur Sahib shrine in Pakistan Pakistan’s ISI had been promoting and abetting militancy in Punjab since 1980 when this border state witnessed bloodshed and more than twenty five thousand innocent lives were lost. The 12 years of militancy (1980- 1992) resulted in the Operation Blue Star which caused huge damage to the holiest shrine of the Sikhs – Harmander Sahib and Akal Takhat – the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs was demolished in the militancy action and finally led to the assassination of Indira Gandhi then Prime Minister of India and massacre of more than three thousand Sikhs in Delhi and other parts of the country.

Indira Gandhi The militancy in Punjab was contained by Beant Singh, who was Chief Minister of Punjab in 1992, and the police force led by KPS Gill, then Director General of Punjab Police. Beant Singh also faced the fate of Indira Gandhi and was killed in a bomb blast by a human bomb on August 31, 1995 while he was coming out of the Punjab Civil Secretariat. Eighteen persons were killed along with him.

Beant Singh Punjab has witnessed comparative peace after 1995 and following democratically elected governments of the SAD-BJP alliance and the Congress have functioned almost in a normal situation.

Imran Khan and Navjot Singh Sidhu Demand for the opening of the Kartarpur corridor has been raised from time to time by various central governments and the Punjab government led by the Shiromini Akali Dal. Even Indira Gandhi had raised the issue of opening of the Kartarpur corridor in 1969 and talked of land swapping.
Recently, the demand for the opening of the corridor got momentum as the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev is going to be celebrated in November 2019. Imran Khan – cricketer turned politician became Prime Minister. He invited Navjot Singh Sidhu who is a minister in the Captain Amarinder Singh government in Punjab, and a close friend of Imran Khan for his oath taking ceremony. It was at the oath taking ceremony of Imran that Pakistan Army Chief General Bajwa told Sidhu that Pakistan would open the Kartarpur corridor to facilitate the Sikhs to visit the historic gurdwara at Kartarpur. It was at Kartarpur that Guru Nanak Dev – the first Sikh guru spent last eighteen years of his life and breathed his last. So this place has great importance for the Sikhs.

Amarinder Singh The NDA Government was initially reluctant to agree to the opening of the corridor. But when it saw its position was weak in the elections to the five assemblies, including in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, it agreed to the same to win over the Sikh voters. Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan states have a large number of Sikh votes. The Punjab Chief Minister C a p t a i n Amarinder Singh is not opposed to opening of the corridor. He has his security concerns. He strongly feels that ISI would do the mischief and create problems. He is clear in his mind that ISI cannot sit idle and would definitely try to disturb the peace of the Punjab. In view of his apprehension, he refused to go to

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh strongly feels that ISI would do the mischief and create problems. He is clear in his mind that ISI cannot sit idle and would definitely try to disturb the peace of the Punjab.

Qamar Bajwa Pakistan when an invitation was extended to him for the stone laying ceremony. Amarinder says, ‘I am happy that corridor is coming up. But Pakistan been disturbing peace in Punjab and Kashmir which we cannot allow. The bomb blast at the Nirankari Bhawan in Amritsar district in the month of November, in which three followers of the Nirankari sect were killed, was an act of ISI sponsored terrorism.’ In the recent past, the activities of the Kashmiri students studying in educational institutions in Punjab have been under scanner. One bomb was lobbed at Maqsudan police station in Jalandhar district by Kashmiri students. In different raids, the Punjab police arrested some Kashmiri students at Jalandhar and recovered arms and ammunition.

Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) has opened its office in Lahore to coordinate the 2020 referendum for Khalistan.

Blast at Nirankari Bhawan in Amritsar There are six thousand Kashmiri students studying in Punjab. Some students were found to be having affiliation with AGH (Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind) an organization of Kashmiri terrorists.
Amarinder Singh has genuine apprehensions as terrorism has become very Hi-Tech, according to intelligence sources. The terrorists are using the latest technologies and the social media to spread their word. They (terrorists) are using the WhatsApp messages in conveying their messages. Even in Amritsar district where grenade was lobbed at Nirankari Bhawan, Avtar, the main accused who has been arrested, received the WhatsApp message about the location of the grenade.
According to intelligence sources, the terrorists are also using the VOIP Internet Protocol. It is difficult to find the source of the information and the location of the operators.
Pakistan’s ISI is still harbouring the Punjab militants who had crossed over to Pakistan during the militancy period. Some of them are living in Lahore and other cities permanently and they are being provided shelter – Some of them include Ranjit Neeta of Khalistan Zindabad Force. He belongs to Jammu area, Wadhawa Singh of Babbar Khalsa International, Paramjit Singh Pakjwar of Khalistan Commando Force, Harjinder Singh of Dal Khalsa. Some of them have been provided land at Nankana Sahib attached to the gurdwaras. Nankana Sahib Gurdwaras have huge cultivable land.

Jagdish Gagneja Latest information also reveals that Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) has opened its office in Lahore to coordinate the 2020 referendum for Khalistan. This move of the SFJ has not received much response from the hardliners, like Akali Dal led by Simranjit Singh Mann and Dal Khalsa . They ask who will conduct the referendum – it will conducted by the host country or the UNO ?
Punjab has witnessed more than half a dozen incidents of target killings in Punjab, including the killing of Brigadier (retired) Jagdish Gagneja at Jalandhar.
He was head of the RSS in Punjab. Two incidents took place in Khanna town of Ludhiana district. One attack was made at RSS Shakha at Ludhiana. In Ludhiana town two persons were gunned down by bike borne sikh youth. They included Ravinder Gosain a RSS worker and a Christian Pastor. All the accused in the target killings in Punjab have been arrested.
The pro-Khalistan activities are being continued in overseas countries like Canada, USA, UK, Italy, Belgium, Germany and other European countries. They are getting funding from the local Sikhs. In Canada, the pro- Khalistani elements allegedly got big boost from the Trudeau government. A few days ago, the Canadian Government stated that it would curb the activities of the Khalistani elements. But the Canadian authorities had to withdraw the threat following protest by the local Sikhs. Canada has a sizeable population of the Sikhs and they form a big vote bank there.
One retired intelligence officer told this writer that the radicals organize huge march at Geneva UN Human Rights headquarters to observe ghalughara day in November to mark the Operation Blue Star and Delhi massacre of Sikhs following the assassination of the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi every year.