Amritpal Singh, the leader of the Khalistani movement, is reportedly evading the Punjab Police's attempts to apprehend him. According to the police, at least 78 persons have been taken into custody and some have been held for questioning. But what is Khalistan and why are they being targeted by the entire country? Let’s take a look.

Khalistan Movement and their motive

The Khalistan movement is a separatist Sikh movement that aims to establish a nation-state called Khlistn in the Punjab region in order to provide Sikhs with a homeland. With Lahore as its capital, the planned state would be made up of the territory that today makes up Punjab, Pakistan, and India, which was previously the location of the Khalsa Empire. The geographical ambitions of Khalistan have occasionally included Chandigarh, parts of North India, including the entirety of Indian Punjab, and some regions of the western states of India ever since the separatist movement gained strength in the 1980s. As the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War ended, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the prime minister of Pakistan, reportedly proposed to Jagjit Singh Chohan that all efforts be made to build Khalistan.

Founder of the Khalistan Movement

The Khalistan Movement, which aimed to establish an independent Sikh state in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent, was founded by Jagjit Singh Chohan. On April 12, 1980, Chohan founded the Council of Khalistan at Anandpur Sahib and assumed the role of its inaugural self-proclaimed leader. Chohan first won a seat in the Punjab Assembly from the Tanda as a Republican Party of India candidate in 1967. When Punjab's coalition government led by the Akali Dal came into power, he was appointed constable speaker. Chohan was appointed Finance Minister when Lachhman Singh Gill was elected Chief Minister. 

History of the Khalistan Movement

The British colonial tactics of the late 1800s and early 1900s, which tried to split Sikhs and Hindus, are the origins of Khalistan. To use against Hindu tyrants who rebelled against the British Raj, a considerable number of Sikhs were enlisted into the British army. Following Indian independence in 1947, tensions between the state of Punjab and the national government emerged, giving rise to complaints from a large number of Sikhs against the government.

The violent campaign of the Khalistan movement, which reached its height in the 1980s and 1990s, featured bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, and massacres of people. Over 22,000 people, both Sikhs and Hindus, including about 12,000 civilians, died as a result of the movement. When Canadian-based Khalistani separatists detonated a bomb on an Air India flight traveling from Toronto to New Delhi in 1985, all 329 passengers on board—including 82 children under the age of 13—were killed. This act gave the violence an international scope. The terrorist attack that killed the most people in Canadian history was that one.