NEW DELHI: While several reports described them as cross-border militants — The Indian Express says they are the first known Lashkar-e-Taiba combat unit to have entered through the Punjab border — Monday’s armed standoff in India’s Gurdaspur border town has set off an alert over a possible Sikh upsurge.
The Hindu said on Tuesday that India’s external intelligence agency RAW had alerted the government of Sikh militant resurgence across the globe and highlighted a new bonding developing between Punjabi and Kashmiri separatists.
It said a little more than a month ago RAW sent a report to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), detailing the resurgence of “Sikh radical organisations” across the globe.
The report was sent on June 16 and it spoke about the activities of Sikh radical organisations in countries such as Germany, UK, France, US, Pakistan and Malaysia.
The Hindu quoted the report as saying that on June 6 in Germany, Sikh radical organisations such as Babbar Khalsa International (BKI-G) and Sikh Federation (SF-G) staged a protest in front of the Consulate General of India, Frankfurt.
“The event was attended by 8-10” people of Pakistani or AJK origin as well. “A few new Sikh families, which arrived from Portugal, were also seen participating in the protest.”
According to the RAW report, “a Kashmiri youth also spoke at length saying Kashmiris supported the demand for Khalistan…There was an increase in the number of protesters this year in comparison to last year,” said the report.
Similarly in U.K., according to the paper, radical groups under the banner of Sikh Federation held a remembrance march and freedom rally to commemorate the 31st anniversary of Operation Blue Star. Around 3,000 people attended the event. It was also attended by several British parliamentarians and also Raja Ahmad Khan, Chairman, All Parties Kashmir Coordination Committee.
One speaker called upon the Sikhs in Jammu and Kashmir to revive their efforts to secure self-determination in their respective homelands.
In the US, the RAW report suggested that a fiery woman speaker who has delivered anti-India speeches has come to notice. In San Francisco, around 60-70 people participated in anti-India protests while in other parts of California, around 6000-8000 people attended a similar meet. There have been concerns that the BKI and Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) — both banned in India — were trying to regroup with the help of Pakistan’s ISI, The Hindu said.
Published in Dawn, July 29th, 2015