Don’t let Pakistan de-stabilize Punjab and J&K

The Pakistani ISI had its sway over the two states in the 90s. The Sikhs were unhappy and the Muslims in the valley were very angry.

The happenings in Lakhimpur Kheri have opened old wounds and once again remind me of the situation in Punjab thirty years ago. In Pilibhit, in 1991 10 Sikhs were killed in cold blood when they were returning from a pilgrimage by the Uttar Pradesh Police and they were termed, extremists.

In 2016, in a landmark judgment, a court in Pilibhit sentenced 47 Police officials for life imprisonment for their crimes against humanity and setting up a fake encounter story to earn laurels. The incident was not treated as a fake encounter then and was one of the reasons for the spike in the insurgency in Punjab in the Nineties. The situation today in Lakhimpur Kheri is erringly similar to the happenings in Pilibhit.

What was the state of National Security in our country in the 90s? Kashmir and Punjab, two border states were in a boil. The Pakistani ISI had its sway over the two states. The Sikhs were unhappy and the Muslims in the valley were very angry at the Indian state. The Mujahideens in Afghanistan had forced the Russians to beat a hasty retreat from the country. Pakistan and ISI seemed invincible.

At that time India was also in political turmoil and instability. First, the V.P. Singh government followed by I.K. Gujral and Chandrashekhar governments all fell in quick succession. There was no one to take care of the situation in Punjab. Today the situation is the same as in the Nineties after the Pilibhit massacre. The violence in Lakhimpur Kheri has taken a communal tone and is now the State versus the Sikhs. The Yogi Adityanath Government in U.P. has not much to lose since Sikhs comprise only 3% of the population in Lakhimpur Kheri. However, the repercussions will be felt in Punjab.

Even though the situation is similar to the situation after the Pilhibhit massacre in the 90s, the conditions are markedly different. We now have a strong and steady Government in the Centre; Pakistan has been isolated and is in a very poor condition as compared to the situation in the nineties. Therefore it will try its best to foment trouble in Punjab and Kashmir.

The incidents in Lakhimpur Kheri are having a profound effect on the politics of Punjab. People from the Sikh community have turned the land in the area into one of the most fertile farming lands in the state. The happenings in this region have an immense bearing on the political scene in Punjab.

The central government should also open doors of negotiations with the striking farmers. Punjab is the breadbasket of India and any happenings in Punjab will also have a ripple effect on Kashmir since the forces which are fomenting trouble in Punjab is the same and desires to change the demographics of the state.

The latest killings of teachers and principals of the minority community give a very clear message – no outsiders will be allowed into Jammu and Kashmir. The residents of the Indian Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir need to be taken into confidence since the recent cold-blooded murders of civilians talk about a major security concern. It is a shocker as to how terrorists could roam around with arms in broad daylight in the heart of the city with such tight security in the UT.

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