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Unfolding of Events & Support for Khalistan

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Part 7

EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES FOR EXTRAORDINARY TIMES

Owing to extreme pressure from the Hindu-led India and assault on the Sikh community members, Bhindranwale and supporters had to resort to extraordinary measures. While principles of the Sikh religion call for a peaceful approach to issues, extraordinary circumstances needed the community to take actions, in a manner that would save them.

In May 1984, the editor of media house Hind Samachar, was assassinated for publishing tarnishing articles against Sikhs. The media house being extremely partial had to realize the importance of their duties and how the freedom of speech and expression was being exploited. As a result, several editors, news hawkers and agents were exterminated.

When Hindu rallies called for the massacre of Sikhs, the Sikh fighters urged the community to be bolder and kill 32 Hindus for every Sikh that was tortured or killed. Such were the drastic measures Bhindranwale and his followers had to resort to protect the identity of the community.

Terror spread throughout the country with the number of violent incidents increasing every month. What started with 9 in September 1983 increased to 36 in October and finally in May 1984, there were more than 50 cases of violence. The total number of deaths was 410 in violent incidents and riots, and 1,180 people were injured. The number of killings had been rising all over the state, with more than a dozen a day at times. On 2 June in the last 24 hours before the announcement of the operation 23 people were killed.

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By April 1984, it appeared as if Bhindranwale would be successful in driving Hindus away from Punjab, to Haryana and other states, due to the terror of violent attacks and riots and the anger within the Sikh community for having been alienated and mis-treated. Messages Bhindranwale and Shabeg Singh to their followers were also intercepted by Indian Intelligence.

On 2 June Operation Blue Star had been initiated to flush out the Sikh forces from the Golden Temple.

SUPPORT FOR KHALISTAN

Due to the increased incidents of religious violence, exchange of population had already started in Punjab. Sikhs from all over the country began moving to Punjab hoping for a higher sense of safety. At the same time, Punjabi Hindus were also moving away from Punjab. By May 1984, the establishment of an independent Khalistan was imminent. Pakistan supported the Sikhs at the time by providing arms and money, and if Khalistan declared independence, Pakistan had also assured support and dispatch of its Army into Indian Punjab to help the Sikh community.

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