Why do Pakistani Sikhs support Khalistan

ACCORD - Austrian Center for Country of Origin & Asylum Research and Documentation

October 1, 2020

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Various sources report on attacks and assassinations by Sikhs on Hindu nationalists in the Indian state of Punjab as well as on the deteriorating relationship between the religious groups of the Sikhs and the Hindus. The following excerpts from selected sources contain information on this topic (all sources accessed on October 1, 2020):

The South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), an online platform that collects and processes data and information on terrorism in South Asia, reports on armed attacks and assassinations on members of Hindu nationalist groups in Punjab, the attackers from the SATP as Khalistani terrorists referred to as:

South Asia Terrorism Portal: Punjab: Assessment-2020, 2020
https://www.satp.org/terrorism-assessment/india-punjab

"The continued targeting of right-wing Hindu nationalist leaders by Khalistani terrorists has the potential to lead to communal disharmony in the State. Two attacks have already been reported in 2020:

February 10, 2020: Honey Mahajan, the youth wing president of Shiv Sena (Hindustan), right wing Hindu nationalist party, Punjab unit, was shot at and injured by unidentified assailants in Gurdaspur. A bullet hit a fellow shopkeeper, identified as Ashok Kumar, who died on the spot. February 22, 2020: Unidentified assailants opened fire outside the Shiv Sena office on Chandigarh Road in Sector 39, Ludhiana. Shiv Sena (Hindustan) president Amit Arora and the party's state youth president Mani Sheera were sitting inside the office. March 9, 2020: A Shiv Sena leader in Punjab, Mahant Kashmir Giri, escaped unhurt after two unidentified motorcycle-borne assailants opened fire at him at his house in Khanna in Ludhiana District.

According to sources, as many as 23 Shiv Sena leaders in Ludhiana were provided 37 gunmen following the attack on Shiv Sena (Hindustan) president Amit Arora on February22. Police had started reviewing the security cover of the leaders following the February 10 attack on Honey Mahajan. " (SATP, 2020)

The Pakistani online news portal Global Village Space reported in an article on November 1, 2017 about attacks on members of the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Svayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in India.

Global Village Space: Why RSS members are being killed in Indian Punjab ?, November 1, 2017
https://www.globalvillagespace.com/why-rss-members-are-being-killed-in-indian-punjab/

"Four men on motorcycles shot a leader of a Hindu outfit in a busy Amritsar market on Monday, the police said. The unidentified men shot at Vipan Sharma 12 times, the police said […]. The latest killing is an addition to the prevalent murder spree of religious political leaders in the Indian northwest and points to the worsening relations between Sikhs and Hindus. The 45-year-old, the district chief of Hindu Sangharsh Sena, was rushed to the city’s Escorts Hospital but had died by the time he reached. [...] Vipan Sharm was killed exactly 13 days after the killing of a local leader, Rajesh Mishra, of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) in Ludhiana. This is the fifth such murder of Hindu outfit leaders, and the ninth overall of any religious leader, in the last two years in Punjab. [...] There has been a tumultuous relationship between the Sikh community and Hindutva groups in the Indian Punjabi belt. [...] Sikh-Hindu relations have been recently due to the rise of Hindutva. Several Hindutva groups have engaged in violent actions and hate speech against the Sikh community, often earning responses in kind. The ‘Dashmesh Regiment’ with its letterhead titled ‘Shri Akal Takhat Sahib Amritsar (Khalistan)’ claim responsibility of killing RSS Punjab leader Brigadier Jagdish Gagneja (retd) went viral among the media fraternity. The outfit took responsibility of killing Brig Gagneja and the attack on Shiv Sena leader Durga Prasad Gupta in Ludhiana. ” (Global Village Space, November 1, 2017)

For the attacks on RSS and Shiv-Sena officials in 2015 and 2016 see also:

India Today: How Punjab is threatened by revival of Khalistan movement, considered defeated in 1990s, June 19, 2017
https://www.indiatoday.in/magazine/nation/story/20170626-khalistan-punjab-terrorism-extremist-sikh-outfits-986585-2017-06-19

Apart from the above-mentioned attacks and assassinations on Hindu nationalists, no further information on threats or attacks on Hindus by Sikhs in the Indian state of Punjab could be found.

This does not necessarily mean that such events did not occur.

The search was carried out using ecoi.net, Factiva and Google for a combination of the following terms: Hindu, Sikh, India, Punjab, communal, tension, Khalistan, radicalism, extremism, attack

Information on the topics of legal security and protection is provided by the country information and guidelines for British asylum authorities on protection actors (security apparatus; arrest and detention; capacities of the security forces; rule of law and justice) from January 2019:

UK Home Office: Country Policy and Information Note India: Actors of protection, January 2019
https://www.ecoi.net/en/file/local/2002536/India-AofP-CPIN-v1.0__Jan_2019_.pdf

Background information on the Khalistan Movement is available from the following sources:

· South Asia Terrorism Portal: Punjab: Backgrounder, undated
https://www.satp.org/backgrounder/india-punjab

Shyamal, Kataria: The Rise and Fall of the Khalistan Movement: A chronology of events, July 3, 2020
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AslTa0SdR6dHef9PltSI3jJ4HOPieX1C/view