Its a new year–2020. For those unaware, it is also the year of ‘Referendum 2020’, a sinister ploy of the ISI to reintroduce militancy in Indian Punjab, and lead to its secession from India. The movement, which is a fantasy of a few woke Sikhs specifically in Canada, the US and the UK has been dismissed by many in a good-hearted laugh, as almost everyone is aware that the very thought of Punjab seceding from India makes up for a good joke. ‘Sikhs for Justice’ is known to be the main culprit for galvanising whatever little support this silly movement has been able to gather.
Zulfukar Ali Bhutto in 1972, after Pakistan’s embarrassing defeat to India, and the formation of independent Bangladesh in place of East Pakistan had remarked that another east Pakistan will be carved out again, with the only difference being that this time the two will be sharing a direct border (by implication, Punjab). When Khalistani terror peaked in the 1980s under Bhindranwale, there was sufficient evidence to prove that Pakistan was helping the secessionist movement both with the supplies of cash and kind.
Pakistan and the Khalistanis, however, are now faced with the possibility of an imminent breakup. Pakistan, for many years, has been trying to cozy up towards Sikhs. A result of the same was the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor this year. Sikhs have always been doubtful of Pakistan’s intentions, however, the Khalistanis have been in bed with the ISI irrespective of Pakistan’s ill-treatment of its minorities, apart from all the other inhumanities which they occupy themselves with. The situation has now evolved though.
The common Sikh is cursing the state of Pakistan, and the extremist Khalistanis have nothing but egg on their face. The attack on the revered Nankana Sahib Gurudwara, the birthplace of Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak Dev has changed equations. While Khalistanis were under the delusional impression that Pakistan would safeguard Sikhs and their many sacred shrines, quite the opposite is being witnessed. The bubble of shared heritage has now been busted. There have always been reports of violence against minorities in Pakistan, including Sikhs. The attack on Nankana Sahib, however, debunks myths of Islamist-Sikh bonhomie like never before.
This is perhaps for the very first time that a violent mob has attacked a shrine of Nanakana Sahib’s stature. This has, apart from enraging Sikhs worldwide, also brought to light the duplicity of Khalistanis and their sold-out cause. Being mere puppets to the ISI, the Khalistanis have not even been able to muster the courage to vehemently protest the events which unfurled at Nankana Sahib. As such, they have also had a massive loss of face among the small number of their sympathisers worldwide. It must be remembered that thus far, the Pakistani state and the Khalistanis have been complementing each other to ensure the detriment of India. For Pakistan, the Khalistani movement is a strategic tool to undermine Indian power.
Only days after the attack on Nankana Sahib, yesterday, a Sikh named Ravinder Singh was killed in Pakistan’s Peshawar in broad daylight. This further pulverized the image of Pakistan not only among Sikhs, but also Khalistanis. Such news of rampant killings of Sikhs and other minorities further consolidates India’s true position as a diverse democracy which respects all communities.
Usually, attacks on Sikh shrines enrage the community, which takes it as a call for war, especially when the shrines are of such importance. In 1984 Operation Blue Star and the attack on Harmandir Sahib had resulted in the killing of Indira Gandhi. Now, stone pelting and vandalism at Nankana Sahib although will not invoke such a strong retaliation, but will prove to be a pinching thorn between Pakistan and Khalistanis, and will soon result in the two parting ways.
Khalistanis have no real objective, but are merely anticipators of power, and beneficiaries of Pakistani money. For them a breakup with Pakistan will be much easier, because if they are seen sharing bed with the same Pakistani state which attacked Nankana, the repercussions from within the Sikh community would be unbearable for them. It would delegitimize their already delegitimate movement.
Given the circumstances, Referendum 2020 is bound to be a massive failure, not that it was ever considered a genuine possibility by sane minds. The recent incidents are bound to be registered in the books of history, for they caused the end of an infamous affair – that of Pakistan and Khalistanis.