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Pro-Khalistan Slogans Raised at Golden Temple on Blue Star Anniversary: Report

© AP Photo / Altaf QadriIndia Operation Blue Star
India Operation Blue Star - Sputnik India, 1920, 06.06.2024
There are concerns about pro-Khalistan sentiment in the state of Punjab after the Lok Sabha election victory of two independent candidates known form their secessionist leanings.
Pro-Khalistan slogans were shouted at the holy Sikh shrine of Golden Temple in Amritsar on the 40th anniversary of Operation Blue Star on Thursday, Indian news agency ANI reported.

According to videos doing the rounds of social media, several Sikhs were also seen carrying posters of slain Sikh separatist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who was gunned down during Indian Army's Operation Blue Star ordered by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in June 1984.

The report suggested that a local politician from Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) party was among the people who raised pro-Khalistan slogans.
Police have tightened the security in the area due to emergency. Senior Superintendent SS Randhawa Singh was quoted as saying in media that cops were keeping an eye out for any "untoward incident".

Meanwhile, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), a major regional party in Punjab, took to social media to condemn Operation Blue Star, describing it as "peak of oppression" by the then Congress government.

The incident comes against the backdrop of concerns around the recent Lok Sabha election results in Punjab. Amritpal Singh, a pro-Khalistan preacher currently in jail, won as an independent candidate from the Khadoor Sahib parliamentary constituency. A massive manhunt was launched by Indian police last year to nab Singh, who led the organisation 'Warris Punjab De' propagating separatism sentiment.
At the same time, Sarabjeet Singh Khalsa, who is the son of assassin of ex-PM Indira Gandhi, also won as an independent from the Faridkot parliamentary seat.

What was Operation Blue Star?

Operation Blue Star inside the Golden Temple, or Harmandir Sahib, perhaps the holiest of Sikh places of worship in the world, was ordered to flush out Bhindrawale and his armed supporters who had been camping in the premises since 1982.
The eight day-long military operation took place at the peak of pro-Khalistan insurgency in Punjab in the 1980s, with many of the radicals viewing Bhindrawale as their tallest leader. Even today, a section of diaspora Sikhs, known for their pro-Khalistan leanings, in countries like Canada and the US venerate Bhindrawale.
At the time, the action inside the Golden Temple angered many Sikhs, and led to the murder of Prime Minister Gandhi in October 1984 by her Sikh bodyguards. The assassination sparked deadly anti-Sikh riots in Delhi and other parts of northern India.
Demonstrators gather in support of Khalistan, an advocated independent Sikh homeland, during a Sikh rally outside the Consulate General of India, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on September 25, 2023, following the murder of Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.  - Sputnik India, 1920, 08.05.2024
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