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No chance of resurgence of Khalistan movement: author Ramesh Inder Singh

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By Sukant Deepak

Chandigarh, July 26 (IANS): Stressing that despite all the noise around the resurgence of the Khalistani movement, amplified by politicians ahead of the recent Punjab Assembly elections, author and former IAS officer Ramesh Inder Singh, whose book “Turmoil in Punjab , Before and After Bluestar: An Insider’s Story” (HarperCollins Publishers India) recently entered the stands, says that what was witnessed during the darkest period in Punjab’s history – the days of militancy cannot not really be attributed to the “Khalistani movement”.

“It always suits political forces to label a movement as accessionist. Even Bhinderwale never said he wanted Khalistan, but stressed that if the government decided to give it to him, he would have no problem. In fact, the killings of Nirankaris had started way back in 1978. The first non-Nirankari was not killed until after Bhinderwale was arrested. Separate state — some overseas-based had begun issuing fake passports and currency.

The author took office as Deputy Commissioner of Amritsar on June 4, 1984, just two days before Operation Bluestar, and later became Chief Secretary of Punjab.

Adding that the 500+ page book aims to present a comprehensive view of the situation and beyond, given that much has been written about Operation Bluestar and what followed next.

“My service code of conduct did not allow me to go public with these issues. In addition, there were also issues related to the Official Secrecy Act. So it is only now, after retirement, that I I can talk about it. After an RTI in 2014, I started working on the book,” the author told IANS during a book signing event at Bahrisons in Chandigarh.

If Operation Bluestar is the central subject of the book which he recounted step by step, it also deals with the analysis of the information, the course of the operation and the ways in which militancy was approached.

“It’s also about political parties and foreign interference. The second part of the book gives the reader a historical perspective on how and why radicalism erupted in Punjab. Sikhism is a religion that has its roots in Punjab, but at that time the state was a predominantly Hindu state. We know about the mass exodus of Hindus and their targeted killings, although more Sikhs died during this period. I wanted to trace the history of the congruent communities of Punjab, their possible parting of ways, and how that led to whatever happened in Punjab.”

Singh, who entered the Golden Temple during “Operation Black Thunder 1”, and along with others who negotiated with the opposing side, believes that Operation Bluestar was not only poorly designed, but also poorly executed.

“Now even the army realizes this. Several generals have spoken openly against it. Unfortunately, no serious attempt at negotiation has been made even when there was a possibility of dialogue,” says the author, who took three years to write the book, spending time in different libraries for research.