Published On: Mon, Oct 14th, 2019

Khalistan Movement History – Independence Movement and its Impact on History

Punjab in 1947 was split in two by the Mountbatten agreements, with one half going to Muslim Pakistan and the other going to Hindu India. From the Indian Punjab (also known as West Punjab), Haryana split off in 1966 and Himachal Pradesh did the same in 1971.

In the 1970s, Jagjit Singh Chauhan began a movement to have Punjab secede from India and create the independent Khalistan. The state would be for Sikhs much like Pakistan was created during the Mountbatten negotiations to protect Muslims.

Chauhan moved to Britain in 1979 remaining in contact with Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who advocated a violent secession from India. Bhindranwale and several armed followers took shelter within the precints of the Golden Temple of Amritsar, the holiest site in Sikhism. He was forced out in 1983 by the Babbar Khalsa who fortified the temple with machine guns.

On June 3, 1984, the Indian Army surrounded the Temple as part of Operation Blue Star, ordered by Indian Prime Minister Indira Ghandi. Bhindranwale was killed three days later in a fire-fight that damaged the temple, which angered Sikhs around the world.

Many Sikhs deserted the Indian army in protest. Ghandi herself was assasinated on October 31 of that year by two of her Sikh bodyguards, triggering massive anti-Sikh demonstrations across northern India.

Khalistan Movement History - Independence Movement and its Impact on History

Some members of the Indian National Congress including Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Kumar and H. K. L. Bhagat were brought to trial for their alleged role in triggering the riots that resulted in the deaths of 20,000 Sikhs. None were found guilty, and no one has ever been held responsible for the riots. In December 2007, the Central Bureau of Investigation was encouraged to reopen it’s case against Tytler

Babbar Khalsa was later responsible for the bombing of Air India Flight 182 on June 23, 1985 off the coast of Ireland, which killed 329 people, mostly Canadians. Just an hour before, a second bomb had exploded at the New Tokyo International Airport killing two baggage handlers. That bomb was also connected to Babbar Khalsa.

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