India's "Good Cop, Bad Cop" Scheme Won't Succeed In Stopping Khalistan


India's latest attempt at curtailing the rising popularity of the Sikhs For Justice's Referendum 2020 campaign for an independent Khalistan is a typical "good cop, bad cop" scheme of trying to co-opt community members away from the cause through superficial concessions ahead of a forthcoming crackdown.

India finally realized the need for a multifaceted approach to curtail the rising popularity of the Sikhs For Justice's (SFJ) Referendum 2020 campaign for an independent Khalistan after its threats over the past year failed to succeed in stopping the Sikhs of Indian Punjab from throwing their support behind this initiative, but the targeted audience of New Delhi's latest "good cop, bad cop" scheme shouldn't be fooled into thinking that the state is sincere in the superficial concessions that it's granting them. India recently removed the names of 312 Sikh foreign nationals from its long-speculated but hitherto denied "black list" and encouraged them to return to their homeland in order to reconnect with their roots, which was undertaken in parallel with releasing eight Sikh prisoners and commuting the death sentence of the one who was alleged to be "the main conspirator in the 1995 assassination of former Punjab CM Beant Singh". As India's "Tribune News Service" noted, this is obviously a "BJP bid to create a niche in Sikh politics", albeit one that's destined to fail for reasons that will now be explained.

These comparatively "soft" moves contrast with the hard ones that were recently threatened against the Sikh community, such as the authority given to eight states over the summer to use the so-called "Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act" (UAPA) for suppressing the SFJ's supporters throughout the country, which might ultimately culminate in the imposition of the feared "Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act" (AFSPA) in part or all of Indian Punjab ahead of next year's planned plebiscite. Unlike what the state expected, these threatening moves backfired by emboldening more Sikhs to embrace the Khalistani cause. Around the same time, India's "Israeli"-like unilateral annexation of Kashmir occurred, which served as an impetus for uniting Kashmiri and Khalistani supporters across the world through the newly created "Kashmir2Khalistan" movement that recently staged a massive protest in Houston during the "Howdy, Modi" rally. Not even India's globally notorious state-backed troll farms were able to stop this unprecedented unification of the country's two most important self-determination movements, which is why the state desperately sought to enact superficial concessions instead.

The delisting of practically all blacklisted Sikhs and the release of several influential ones from custody is designed to assuage the community's growing grievances and distract them from the fact that they're soon to be subsumed within the "Hindu Rashtra" (Hindu fundamentalist state) that the BJP is building. It should be pointed out that the Indian Constitution doesn't recognize Sikhism as separate from Hinduism despite it being the world's fifth-largest religion, so the community is in dire danger of losing its identity by being forced to comply with practices contrary to their customs if the ruling party's plans succeed. On top of that, Indian Punjab is already ravaged by drug addiction as it is, which is only poised to get worse as "US drugmakers push painkillers" on the country after the government recently loosened its prescription opioid laws. Unlike the violent genocidal attempts against them in 1984 through "Operation Blue Star", "Operation Woodrose", and the nationwide pogroms at the end of that year, as well as the state-backed death squads that roamed the region all throughout the 1990s, the current genocidal attempt against the Sikhs is more silent yet nevertheless equally sinister, though the authorities are trying to distract them from this through their latest outreaches.

As the title of this analysis made clear, that scheme won't succeed because the targeted audience is aware of the existential threat that they're facing and won't be wooed en masse into abandoning the Khalistani cause just because some influential figures are now allowed to roam free. There will certainly be some collaborators who have an interest in working closely with the state in order to further their personal agendas, just as there will undoubtedly be some well-intentioned folks who are deceived by this ploy, but it'll by and large end up being a failure because a critical mass of support for the Referendum 2020 campaign has already been reached and that's why the state undertook this "soft" course of action in the first place. Unlike how India's "perception managers" are trying to portray it, this isn't the beginning of "new era of relations" between the Sikhs and the state, but the calm before the storm since the previously threatened hard measures aren't taken off the table and will probably still be imposed ahead of next year's planned plebiscite. In fact, all that's happening right now is that the state is trying to divide the Sikhs in order to facilitate a forthcoming crackdown, so the wise among them should brace themselves because the worst is most likely yet to come.


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