Why Khalistan Movement Is Merely Social Media Noise By A Few, For A Few, Backed By None

Why Khalistan Movement Is Merely Social Media Noise By A Few, For A Few, Backed By None

by Tushar Gupta - Monday, March 27, 2023 10:56 AM IST
Why Khalistan Movement Is Merely Social Media Noise By A Few, For A Few, Backed By None Pro-Khalistan activists stage a demonstration. (Representative image) (ANI)
  • The social media noise has gone on for far too long, and needs to be curbed.

    It would be ideal for India to flex its geopolitical muscle and ensure all such movements cease to exist in Australia, America and the United Kingdom.

The pursuit of a Khalistan, proposed as a political solution to the imaginary persecution of minorities in India is a piped dream, propagated by a few and backed by far fewer with almost no support on the ground.

For some unemployable young Sikhs, enjoying the perks and luxuries attained by their ancestors who were first-generation migrants to the West, this is merely a social media stunt, one that got a lot of traction during the farmers’ protest, and when Amritpal Singh, now a fugitive, took to the streets in Punjab. 

Back in 2020-21, many of these self-proclaimed policymakers of Khalistan were active on a newly launched social media platform.

Most were oblivious to the economic and social realities on the ground and were stuck in the 1980s, given they had migrated when they were too young. Ironically, some were proud Canadian and British citizens. One of them was Amritpal Singh, who after the mysterious death of Deep Sidhu took over the rogue organisation ‘Waris Punjab De’. 

Singh’s ideological stance was a mix of comedy and contradictions.

On one hand, he wanted the Indian state to back the farmers in Punjab on the issues of minimum support price (MSP) and procurement, but he also wanted the Sikhs to distance themselves from Hindus in the name of culture, religion, and a separate land that he believed the community was entitled to.

While the economics of the idea of Khalistan was always way above the paygrade of these social media mobsters, it was their political and defence proposals that usually got the eyeballs and laughter.

On the political model of Khalistan, the likes of Amritpal and many other forgettable anonymous faces, used to advocate a state from where Hindus had to leave and where all Sikhs would be welcomed.

While none of these social media mobsters ever claimed that they would move back from their posh lives to the state they were were shrieking for, they wanted every other community out and wanted to include areas in Himachal, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Surprisingly, Lahore was not a part of the plan.

Put simply, Khalistan was supposed to be landlocked nation surrounded by China, India and Pakistan. 

For defence, they were counting on the mutiny that would inevitably happen on the D-Day within the armed forces.

In one of his narrations, Amritpal Singh stated that the Sikhs officers, both in military and police, must retain the weapons issued to them by the state, and when the time comes, use it for the battle of Khalistan.

On being asked about the backlash from the state, Amritpal Singh further added that 1.25 crore Punjabis could not be stopped by a couple of million officers in the state. Today, Amritpal Singh is on the run from those very officers. 

The mutiny never happened, not even in the wildest dreams of all Khalistani supporters. The ground support never matured because it was not there in the first place.

The communities, in the state of Punjab, are too intertwined, socially and more importantly, economically, for any such separation to happen. The farmers of Punjab have been made rich by the generous and inflated MSPs, paid to them by the Indian state.

The social media faces, mostly anonymous, and not more than a score, are left protesting before the consulates, only to face arrests later.

Amritpal Singh, who promised to lead the fight, was quick to escape, and as per some reports, changed his appearance, shaved his beard, and is making a dash for Nepal. So much for religion and ideology. 

Realistically speaking, the Khalistani movement is nothing more than social media noise, amplified by the media out of concern for the utter violence and arsoning being suggested by anonymous faces.

Cheerleading the likes of Amritpal Singh, are young Sikhs, mostly politically and economically illiterate with too much time, money, and SUVs to spare. And while they are no threat to the Indian state, a lesson is nevertheless warranted.

For starters, separatists abroad should be robbed of their OCI credentials and visas. Let them not set foot in India. 

For the over-enthusiastic supporters of Khalistan in India, the solution is quite simple.

Cancellation of the passports of all family members, no government jobs, a permanent criminal record that shows up everywhere, be it while accessing credit via formal sources, or getting a job.

While the usual suspects may want to make this about the freedom of speech and expression, no state, be it China or America, allows for sedition to be normalised. Punitive costs, in some cases, are far-fetched, but when it comes to issues like these, are indispensable. 

On Khalistan, there is no intellectual deliberation here, not when the leader of the group is surrounded by armed men, using the holy book as a shield while attacking a police station.

The social media noise has gone on for far too long, and needs to be curbed. It would be ideal for India to flex its geopolitical muscle and ensure all such movements cease to exist in Australia, America, and the United Kingdom.

While Canada may want to play hardball, given the domestic politics, the message from India should be loud and clear; no more Brampton shenanigans. 

Amritpal Singh should be the final chapter in this long-running unnecessary shallow political drama.

The promoters of the movement in Canada understand that Khalistan is a piped dream, and the Indian state is far stronger than it was three decades ago, but quite like their counterparts in Kashmir, who used the issue for seven decades to suit themselves, they want to keep the Khalistan movement alive to benefit themselves.

Amritpal Singh, was their pawn, and with his aides reduced to sitting ducks, the charade is for everyone to see. 

Punjab has bigger problems to address and has no time to dwell over past mistakes.

Tushar is a senior-sub-editor at Swarajya. He tweets at @Tushar15_
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