The Himachal Pradesh Government recently issued an order prohibiting the entry of vehicles carrying flags with images of Khalistani terrorist Bhindranwale. The issue came into the light when locals from the towns of Mandi and Jawalamukhi complained about vehicles from Punjab carrying flags celebrating the terrorist.
When this news broke, several Khalistanis took the opportunity to spread misinformation on social media (SM). They called it the ‘disrespect of Nishan Sahib’, condemned the removal of the Bhindranwale flag, and called it ‘hooliganism’. Social media influencer Amaan Bali, who was often seen slyly spreading fake and incendiary news during the ‘farmers’ protest, referred to Bhindranwale as “Sant Ji” in his tweet.
As expected, the Khalistan elements have provoked the people of Punjab who are now stopping Himachal number plate vehicles. Even Punjab Police is tacitly supporting them by not stopping them.
In the video, one can clearly see how Khalistani supporters are not just stopping the vehicles but also boasting that they are doing it to avenge the so-called disrespect caused to their ‘Saint’.
However, the Himachal Pradesh police dismissed the allegations regarding disrespecting the Nishan Sahib while adding that they are treating devotees and tourists with the utmost respect. Additionally, they have appealed to the local residents to report any suspicious activities to them, instead of taking the law into their hands.
Himachal Pradesh (HP) CM, Jai Ram Thakur in an attempt to ease tensions, issued a statement saying “We have high regard for the Nishan Sahib and anyone is welcome to use it but flags with pictures of Bhindranwale will not be tolerated.” He also added that the matter has been taken up with Punjab.
CM Thakur has directed the Chief Secretary to hold talks with the Punjab government. The state government is very serious in this matter and also expects the Punjab government to take the matter seriously and take suitable action as per the law.
SGPC supports Bhindrawale Flags
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has written a letter to the Himachal CM opposing the prohibition of Bhindranwale’s photo on flags. The letter states that Sikhs across the world consider him as their ‘leader’ and pointed out he has already been declared ‘Qaumi Yodha’ (community warrior) by the Akal Takht.
The letter further states: “In a democratic country, the citizens have all rights to display, carry and endorse the photos of their respective leaders or idols, and no such statement or decision should be made from the constitutional post. To maintain the peace and communal harmony in the country, as a CM of the state, it is your duty to ensure the protection of religious sentiments of all the communities”.
It is high time the Sikh community and the rest of the nation pondered over how a terrorist who desecrated the holiest of Sikh shrines, personally oversaw the murder of around 100 civilians, and sparked a deadly separatist insurgency that claimed around 22,000 lives and led to assassinations of a PM, CM and Army Chief, has been resurrected as a ‘community hero’ by the body that controls Sikh religious institutions?
Why are all the major political parties of Punjab tacitly supporting or turning a blind eye to such mainstreaming of a terrorist? It is exactly this sort of manipulation of religious identities and institutions and unprincipled politics that brought radical Sikh forces to the forefront and led Punjab into darkness in the period from late-1970s to mid-1990s.
Who was Bhindranwale?
Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was a Khalistani secessionist and a terrorist with his final objective being the dismemberment of Bharat. He was the fourteenth Jathedar of the Sikh religious body Damdami Taksal who was initially supported and nurtured by the Congress party. Later, however, he raised the demand for a separate Sikh nation. He created an army of terrorists, which killed thousands of innocent Hindus and Sikhs.
In 1983, he along with his terrorists took up residence in the Sikh holy shrine Golden Temple at Amritsar. In June 1984, PM Indira Gandhi ordered operation Blue Star to flush out these terrorists from Harmandir Sahib in the Golden Temple Complex. The operation was carried out by the Indian Army, which resulted in several hundreds of deaths including that of Bhindranwale.
No saint can direct his disciples to murder innocent people. He disrespected Sikhism like none before, if he was a true Sikh, he would have never entered Harminder Sahib with arms and ammunition. Bhindranwale supporters have no answer to the questions as to why and from where a ‘saint’ amassed such lethal and advanced weapons?
Bhindranwale had distorted knowledge of the Sikh scriptures, Sikh history, and politics. He used to speak the language of the common man which helped him gain a following. He manipulated the people to gain power and gradually started eliminating everyone who did not agree with him. He ordered the killing of many innocent Hindus and Sikhs on a whim.
Khalistani use Bhindrawale Flags to infuse terror into the society
Bhindranwale, who considered himself a ‘warrior’ and a ‘protector of Sikhs’, only killed innocents and was finally taken down by the Army. After Bhindranwale’s death, some with the motive to use the terror created by him to fulfill their political desires, decided to lionize him.
Even today, Khalistani supporters use posters and flags of Bhindranwale with the aim to mislead and gather followers among Sikhs in his name, while at the same time scaring Hindus and followers of other religions. The SGPC has been hijacked by radical elements who are using this terrorist to consolidate their hold over the gurudwaras and reigniting divisive forces. However, making a terrorist a symbol of their religion will only be a disservice to the religion itself, and gradually draw people away from them.