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Beheading the Sikhs:
Pak Taliban’s Historic Blunder
|by Dr. Rajinder Puri|
The Pakistan Taliban operating in the tribal area bordering Afghanistan captured two Sikhs, compelled them to convert to Islam, and on their refusal, beheaded them. After that they added salt to wound by sending the severed heads to the Joga Singh Gurudwara in Peshawar. By doing this the Pakistan Taliban might just have made the costliest error in its bloodstained history. It might just have taken the one step that could pose greater danger to its existence than anything that might have been attempted thus far by the US or NATO.
For decades it was commonly stated that fifty or so families in Punjab ruled Pakistan. What was not stated was that about 40 percent of these ruling families of the rural Punjab province of Pakistan were Jat Sikhs who voluntarily converted to Islam in order to retain their land holdings. These converted Jat Sikhs had no trouble gaining acceptance from their Muslim Jat cousins, farmers all. The converts are Muslims in name. What their commitment to any religion might be only time will reveal. Their commitment to land, wealth and power has been confirmed beyond doubt. They could now constitute a potential fifth column in Pakistan. It would be not a fifth column that could serve the Indian government. It would be the fifth column serving the Sikh Diaspora that contains several terrorist outfits with a presence in Europe, Canada and the US.
Now recall the aborted Khalistan demand. Before Khalistan was formally announced by Jagjit Singh Chauhan he sought my opinion. I told him it was worthless because it made no sense. I further said that the demand for a united Punjab cutting across India and Pakistan made greater sense given the norms of nationhood. I said that would create ‘United States of Asia’. A little after my interaction with him I recounted our dialogue and my views in the weekly column that I wrote then for the Sunday Observer published in Bombay. Predictably, the Khalistan demand floundered. But the Sikhs continue to remain dissatisfied, though not disruptive.
The partition of the Punjab during Independence left the Sikhs most orphaned among the state’s three main communities. The loss of identity among the Muslims in Punjab was compensated partially by the creation of Pakistan, of the Hindus by the creation of Bharat. The Sikhs felt that they got little or nothing.
After the subsequent mishandling by the union government Sikh separatism was bound to erupt. The Khalistan movement further depleted the community. Today Punjab is the sufferer. Witness the very large number of youth in Punjab who seek migration to make a future abroad. Is it not symptomatic?
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04/02/2013 08:43 AM
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