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Sikhs Angered By Indian Govt’s Claims Of ‘Khalistani’ Movement Having Pakistani Backing

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A report by the Commission for Countering Extremism (CCE), which is funded by the British government, has said that the Sikhs in India have expressed anger over the claim that the ‘Khalistani’ movement was backed by Pakistan.

The report has revealed that Sikhs resented the fact that their campaigns to highlight human rights abuses were termed ‘Khalistani terrorism’, along with accusations that they were being funded by Pakistan.  

The report, titled ‘The Changing Nature of Activism among Sikhs in the UK’, has been authored by a senior lecturer in Sikh Studies in the University of Birmingham and a journalist.

The report has also warned of tensions between Sikhs and Hindus rising in Britain as Sikhs were getting more assertive about their religious identity.

The report aimed to analyse why Sikhs in the West were making demands for an independent homeland for Sikhs called Khalistan. It also aimed to find out why the Indian government saw Sikh activism through the lens of terrorism and extremism.

The commission’s report has further stated that the Indian government ignored the fact that a considerable number of Sikhs moved to Britain and Canada in the 1980s to escape the Indian government’s persecution, and were hence attracted to this ethnonationalist idea of ‘Khalistan’.

The report attributed the existence of ethnonationalist sentiment among Sikhs to the events of 1984 in Amritsar and New Delhi, whereby thousands of Sikhs were murdered following Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination by his Sikh bodyguard.

The report has also revealed that there was resentment amongst the Sikh diaspora towards India because of Narendra Modi’s nationalist agenda and the rise of Hindutva.

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