Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Is Sikh militancy back?

At the recently concluded seminar comprising all state police chiefs, the officials of the intelligence bureau voiced their concerns about the growing threat of Sikh Militancy. The Minister of State for Home Affairs, Ajay Maken too made a statement before the media recently expressing the same concern.

While the government of India has directed the respective police forces to increase sustained vigilance along the borders, increasing mechanisms for intelligence gathering and mordenisation of the force, the primary Sikh militant group has moved base to Malaysia from where it has decided to launch attacks on Indian soil.

The Punjab police and the IB say that activities have already commenced by these forces and they have started to infiltrate and since the past three months, the police have managed to seize 30 kgs of RDX from various operatives who have been nabbed.

The transition of moving base from Pakistan to Malaysia was made nearly 6 months back. The ISI which backs these forces is very protective of them and thinks that re-launching these groups on India soil is their biggest possible trump card. The ISI had juggled their base between Nepal and even Germany, but realised that Malaysia was the best since these groups have a lot of sympathizers in this country. Moreover the ISI sponsored groups such as the Lashkar-e-Tayiba too has a very strong base in Malaysia thus making it easy for them to operate.

The intelligence available on these groups suggest that they have been maintaining a low profile since they are yet to establish all their cells in the country. However they wont remain quiet for a long time and are likely to strike big since they would want to announce their arrival. Apart from carrying out a series of attacks in Punjab, the main task that has been handed out to them is the Common Wealth Games. Although there are no specific inputs with regard to the CWG being the target of these groups, the police say that at the moment these groups are best equipped to carry out such an attack. Moreover the ISI too would be looking to use newer groups since there is an element of surprise that would be involved.

Groups to watch out for:

Babbar Khalsa International: The first unit of the BKI was founded in Canada in 1981 under the leadership of late Talwinder Singh Parmar and the objective is to form an independent Sikh state called Khalistan. The major incidents by this group involves the mid air explosion of the Air India Flight 182 in which 329 persons were killed. This group also carried out the assassination of Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh. This group is headed by Wadhwa Singh and his deputy Mehal Singh and both of them figure in the dossier to Pakistan.

International Sikh Youth Federation: This outfit was founded at the United Kingdom in the year 1984 immediately after operation Blue Star. Headed by the nephew of Bhindranwale, Lakhbhir Singh Rhode the primary objective is to set up a separate Sikh state. With direct linkeages to the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, this group has primarily been involved in fund raising in foreign countries and also providing logistic support.

Khalistan Commando Force: Founded by Manbir Singh Chaheru in 1986 this group too is fighting for a separate Sikh land. Headed presently by one of India’s top wanted criminals, Paramjeet Singh Panjwar this group has directly been involved in battling the Indian military after Operation Blue Star. This group was also involved in the assasination of General Arun Vaidya who led the Indian Forces in Operation Blue Star and also an attack on a train at Punjab in which 50 persons were killed.

Khalistan Zindabad Force: Headed by the deadly Ranjeet Singh Neeta this force came to the spotlight in the 1980s when it stepped up the ante to battle Indian troops after operation Blue Star. Comprising mostly Jammu based Sikhs, this group focuses mainly in the areas of Jammu and Delhi apart from providing support to other groups in Punjab. Both the IB and police reports specifically mention that it is this group which is most likely to carry out an attack during the CWG since it specializes in the Delhi areas. Known more for carrying out bomb blasts rather than Fidayeen styled attacks, the chief of this outfit is directly under the control of the ISI. With the help of the ISI, this group has already managed to smuggle in 15 kilograms of RDX through the Nepal border. However this route has been busted and the group has moved operations to Malaysia.

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