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Reader comment on item: Niqabs and Burqas - The Veiled Threat Continues
in response to reader comment: Sikhs

Submitted by true believer (United States), Sep 30, 2009 at 03:43

Sikhs did not kill Mahatma Gandhi :) Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards; but then there was grave and genuine provocation. The most holy shrine of the Sikhs, the Golden Temple in Amritsar was stormed with the help of tanks and heavy artillery on a day when it was crowded with pilgrims. The operation code named BlueStar was supposed to flush out the militants who were holed up inside the shrine. But it ended up killing every moving and breathing creature inside including innocent women and children and caused major damage to the shrine. Instead a little patience and diplomacy might have acheived the same without the use of force or loss of lives;at that point Bhindranwale the leader of the extremists was ready to cooperate covertly with the Indian government. He just needed a face saving deal but Indira had already decided to flaunt her absolute authority. A few Sikh army units simply revolted, a notable incident was the killing of commandant at the Sikh LI regimental center. An entire Sikh LI battalion was disbanded after it revolted. The brutal violence against innocent Sikhs by the ruling INC that followed Indira's assasination turned some of the Sikhs militant.

The hurt feelings of the Sikh community was cleverly manipulated by Pakistanis who provided training, material the logistic support to the Sikh extremists. Thousands were killed in the insurgency and counter-insurgency. An Air India flight to Canada was also bombed. As kids we were not advised not to pick up anything lying on the road. The transistor bombs had made their mark ! The general public eyed turbanned gentlemen askance in local trains especially if they carried some baggage. Thankfully those black days are far behind us now. On assuming office Benazir Bhutto on handed over the ISI dossiers on those terrorists as a goodwill gesture and India followed up by taking swift and effective action back home. This broke the backbone of Sikh militancy in Punjab. Sadly the chief pertetrators of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi still remain unpunished. Some extremist organisations like the Babbar Khalsa are still active in parts of Canada and UK. Of late Pakistan is trying unsuccessfully to revive militancy among the Sikh community.

The Golden Temple was stormed again in 1986 and 1988 code-named operation Black Thunder I & II to flush out the Sikh extremists hiding inside. But now Indira Gandhi was not around and the Indian government took great care not to repeat its past mistakes. Minimum force was used and the media was allowed access where ever possible. Contrast that with the earlier operation BlueStar under Indira when there was total media blackout.

Sikhs form the backbone of the Indian defence forces and have proved their loyalty beyond doubt time and again. Here if you have an elderly Sikh couple nearby when you go on an overnight train journey you feel safe;you can count on them to help you in trouble. As I said earlier I don't have anything at all against Sikhs. But I find the idea of allowing daggers into schools while banning something as harmless as a headscarf (not the burkha) as simply unjust.


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