The Khalistan movement as most of you must know is a Sikh separatists movement which began with the partition of India. The movement’s intention is the creation of a separate nation which all Sikhs can refer to as their homeland. The movement proposes Khalistan to made up of the Punjab regions from both India and Pakistan. They also wish to include certain parts from the Indian states of Rajasthan, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, and Himachal Pradesh.
For most of the time since its beginning, the movement has remained suppressed. This was either due to political strictness or due to lack of support. However, in 2018, there seems to be a revival in the movement. There also seems to be a dramatic increase in the number of its supporters.
Some political individuals claim the rise is because of foreign support to the movement in India. Claims indicate towards backing from the ISI of Pakistan. And also Khalistan supporters in the Sikh concentrated regions of Canada, UK, and Italy.
And pro-Khalistan outfits are set to organize a rally at the Trafalgar Square in London on August 12, 2018. The UK Govt gave its nod to the rally and said that they will not oppose peaceful gatherings.
Here is what a UK Govt representative reportedly said:
“In the UK people have the right to gather together and to demonstrate their views. Provided they do so within the law.”
Expressing their disappointment on the matter, New Delhi’s Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement. Here what MEA representative Raveesh Kumar reportedly stated:
“We have said that it (pro-Khalistan rally) seeks to propagate violence, secessionism, and hatred. And we expect them (UK Govt) to take into account the larger perspective of the relationship when they take decisions on such matters.”
The organization by the name ‘We Stand With India’ has thought of a way to counter the Khalistan movement rally. As per reports, they have decided to organize an Indian independence day rally on the same day.
Since the UK has decided not to intervene in peaceful rallies, thousands of people are expected to gather at the Trafalgar Square. People supporting both the groups will gather at the same spot at the same time.
However, no major political party or leader from the British Govt have come forward in support of the Khalistan rally. In fact, the Chairman of British Sikh Association rubbished the rally. Here is what he reportedly said:
“If they have any merit in their argument, then they should go to Punjab and fight election on the agenda of Khalistan. There is no point embarrissing Sikhs at large and their Gurus by behaving in undemocratic manner in foreign country. With a demand for a refurendum which is not binding on anyone.”
All this poses a question that we all need to answer. Should we give in to the demand for division or fight for unison? ‘United we stand, divided we fall’, anyone?