India News Punjab

Punjab’s Farm Fire Incidents Crosses 30k Mark

Paddy straw burning in Punjab and Haryana has been identified as a major contributor to the alarming increase in air pollution in Delhi during October and November…reports Asian Lite News

The number of stubble burning incidents in Punjab has surpassed 30,000 within two months, with 2,544 new farm fires reported on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Delhi’s air quality deteriorated to “severe,” and neighbouring Haryana experienced a ‘very poor’ category.

In the same period last year and in 2022, Punjab recorded 67,020 and 45,464 stubble burning incidents, respectively. The recent surge in crop residue burning incidents is evident, with 639 cases on November 9, six on November 10, 104 on November 11, 987 on November 12, 1,624 on November 13, and 1,776 on November 14.

Paddy straw burning in Punjab and Haryana has been identified as a major contributor to the alarming increase in air pollution in Delhi during October and November. On Wednesday, Punjab reported a total of 30,661 farm fires, with Bathinda leading at 356 cases, followed by Moga (318), Barnala (264), Sangrur (262), Ferozepur (253), and Faridkot (225). In comparison, the state had reported 1,761 and 141 farm fires on the same day in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

Delhi’s 24-hour average Air Quality Index (AQI) reached 401 at 4 pm, marking a continuous deterioration from 397 on Tuesday, 358 on Monday, and significantly lower levels on Sunday (218) and Saturday (220).

Punjab declares red alert

Punjab Special Director General of Police (Law and Order) Arpit Shukla on Wednesday said a red alert has been sounded in all districts and legal action would be initiated if anyone was found burning stubble.

DGP Gaurav Yadav had appointed Shukla as the Police Nodal Officer to monitor action against stubble burning. 

He said that CPs/SSPs have been directed to engage farmers, citizens and various stakeholders to sensitise them about the ill-effects of the stubble burning, which is also a violation of law and action and action could be initiated against them. 

“All DSPs and SHOs have been asked to have discussions with Sarpanches and Kisan leaders to sensitise them about the ill effects of stubble burning, which not only affect the urban people but each and every individual,” said Shukla, who was on a tour to review the stubble burning cases in Hoshiarpur and SBS Nagar district. 

He also called a meeting of all gazetted rank officers and Station House Officers (SHOs) in Hoshiarpur and SBS Nagar to review the status of stubble burning in their areas. 

ALSO READ-Punjab Announces International Punjabi Language Olympiad


Punjab Announces International Punjabi Language Olympiad

The Olympiad promises to provide a unique and exciting platform for students to deepen their understanding of the Punjabi language…reports Asian Lite News

In a significant move aimed at preserving and promoting the rich cultural legacy of Punjab, the state government has declared the commencement of the International Punjabi Language Olympiad. This exciting event, set to unfold online on December 9th and 10th, stands as a unique opportunity for students to delve into their linguistic roots and explore the beauty of the Punjabi language.

The initiative arises in response to the changing global landscape, where Punjab’s diaspora has dispersed across the globe in pursuit of better opportunities. Harjot Singh Bains, the Education and Language Minister, highlighted the imperative need to bridge the gap between the younger generation and their mother tongue. In a letter to the Education Department, he emphasized that many youngsters born abroad lack a full awareness of the beauty and significance of the Punjabi language.

The International Punjabi Language Olympiad is designed to be an inclusive affair, inviting students up to grade IX from all corners of the world to participate. This means that young Punjabis residing in India, the USA, Australia, Europe, and beyond will have the chance to showcase their linguistic prowess and celebrate their cultural heritage. It marks a significant effort to unite the global Punjabi community through the common thread of language.

The state government’s announcement has ignited enthusiasm among educators, parents, and students, with many regarding this initiative as a pivotal step in ensuring the continued flourishing of the Punjabi language and culture among younger generations, regardless of their geographic location.

The Olympiad promises to provide a unique and exciting platform for students to deepen their understanding of the Punjabi language. Additionally, it offers a rare opportunity for participants to connect with peers from different parts of the world who share a common cultural bond.

To register for the International Punjabi Language Olympiad, interested students can visit the Punjab School Education Board website. The registration process has been streamlined and made accessible, ensuring that students from diverse backgrounds can actively participate and celebrate their linguistic heritage.

In a world where languages and cultures are in constant flux, it is heartening to witness a state government taking proactive steps to ensure that the Punjabi language remains vibrant and cherished by future generations. The International Punjabi Language Olympiad is not merely an exam; it is a celebration of a language that unites a global community. As December 9th and 10th approach, anticipation builds for the vibrant spirit of Punjabi culture to shine brightly on the global stage.

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Health India News Punjab

Hope, Perseverance, and Dedication: Dr. Malhi’s Story

Dr. Malhi’s recent achievement as the second Asian to earn a Doctorate of Medicine in Cardiovascular Radiology and Endovascular Interventions from AIIMS, New Delhi, underscores his remarkable dedication, tenacity, and brilliance….writes Manjari Singh

In the busy hallways of Amritsar’s Government Medical College, a young Amarinder Singh Malhi once walked, pursuing his dreams and navigating the challenges of an MBBS degree.

Fast forward to today, and he stands tall as a beacon of inspiration, not just to the students of that very college, but for medical aspirants across the nation.

Dr. Malhi’s recent distinction as the second Asian to receive a Doctorate of Medicine in Cardiovascular Radiology and Endovascular Interventions from the illustrious AIIMS, New Delhi, speaks volumes about his dedication, tenacity, and sheer brilliance.

This momentous achievement comes as no surprise to those who’ve tracked his academic trajectory.

Following his MBBS, Dr. Malhi furthered his studies at Dayanand Medical College, Ludhiana, earning a degree in MD Radiodiagnosis.

The next pinnacle awaited him at AIIMS, where he became only the second student to enroll in their DM course for cardiovascular radiology and endovascular interventions – a program that had its inception just in 2016.

Now, as an assistant professor at AIIMS Delhi in the department of radiodiagnosis and intervention radiology, he looks beyond his accolades, keen on shaping the future of India’s medical academia.

For Dr. Malhi, the journey has never been solely about personal accomplishments. His vision expands to the holistic development of the nation’s medical sector. Witnessing the brain drain phenomenon, where talented individuals seek opportunities abroad, he emphasizes the urgent need for fortification of the domestic medical education framework.

“I stayed back in India because I was conscious of my duty to the nation. But many students leave. For that to stop, medical and health educational infrastructure must be strengthened,” reflects Dr. Malhi.

His story is a testament to the potential of determination, passion, and commitment. It also serves as a clarion call to the policymakers and educationalists to invest more deeply in the nation’s health education, ensuring that the country retains its brightest minds.

The journey of Dr. Amarinder Singh Malhi is not just a story of individual success. It’s an emblem of hope, perseverance, and dedication to one’s homeland. The nation watches with bated breath to see what this exceptional physician achieves next and how he continues to inspire countless others to dream big and aim even higher.

ALSO READ: Inaugural India-UK 2+2 Foreign and Defence Dialogue held

India News Lite Blogs Punjab

Justice Ritu Bahri Becomes First Woman Acting Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court

She also initiated projects, such as the production of newspaper and fabric bags, to offer employment to female laborers, enabling them to face the “tough times” with dignity and economic stability…reports Asian Lite News

In a groundbreaking milestone for the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice Ritu Bahri has made history by becoming the first woman to assume the role of acting Chief Justice. This historic announcement came on the eve of the retirement of Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha, underscoring Justice Bahri’s position as a pioneering figure in the legal realm.

Born on October 11, 1962, in Jalandhar, Justice Ritu Bahri hails from a family deeply rooted in the legal profession. Her lineage is marked by legal luminaries, including her great-grandfather, the late Karam Chand Bahri, a renowned civil lawyer. Her grandfather, the late Som Dutt Bahri, not only followed in his footsteps but also served as a Punjab MLA from 1952 to 1957. Justice Bahri’s father, Justice Amrit Lal Bahri, retired as a judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 1994, affirming the family’s steadfast commitment to justice and the rule of law.

Justice Bahri embarked on her illustrious legal journey when she pursued her law degree at Panjab University in 1985. Her career is marked by a string of accomplishments, reflecting her unwavering dedication to justice and societal welfare. Notable roles include serving as the Haryana Assistant Advocate-General in 1992, Deputy Advocate-General in 1999, and Senior Additional Advocate-General in December 2009. Her ascent in the legal field stands as a testament to her legal acumen and dedication to the law.

However, what truly distinguishes Justice Bahri is not just her legal expertise but also her profound compassion and commitment to humanitarian causes. During the challenging period of the Covid-19 pandemic, she exhibited remarkable leadership by providing homes to economically disadvantaged individuals and low-income groups. She also initiated projects, such as the production of newspaper and fabric bags, to offer employment to female laborers, enabling them to face the “tough times” with dignity and economic stability.

Justice Bahri recognized the critical importance of education and social equity. She bridged the educational divide between urban and rural school students by distributing books, toys, and snacks, ensuring that every child had access to educational resources and opportunities. Her dedication to justice extends to family matters as she championed the cause of shared parenting between estranged couples, advocating for the welfare of children caught in the midst of parental separation.

As Justice Bahri takes on the role of acting Chief Justice, her appointment represents not only the advancement of women in the legal profession but also her unyielding commitment to justice, equality, and humanitarian values. Her unique blend of legal expertise and social consciousness positions her as a formidable presence in the legal community and a source of inspiration, especially for aspiring female lawyers.

In an era when diversity and inclusivity take center stage in conversations, Justice Ritu Bahri’s appointment as the first woman acting Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court is a pivotal moment in the annals of legal history. Her legacy will undoubtedly leave an enduring mark on the pursuit of justice and equality in the region, and her journey stands as a shining example of what can be achieved through dedication, compassion, and an unwavering commitment to the law.

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India News Politics Punjab

Mann Challenges BJP, Akali Dal, and Congress for Punjab Debate

The Chief Minister said these leaders have ample of time to prepare for this debate, adding they can make as many notes as they want defend themselves…reports Asian Lite News

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Sunday challenged the Opposition for a debate on issues pertaining to the state on November 1.

The Chief Minister said the hands and souls of Opposition leaders — BJP’s Sunil Jakhar, Akali Dal’s Sukhbir Badal and Congress leaders Partap Singh Bajwa and Amarinder Singh Raja Warring — are drenched with blood of the state as they have betrayed Punjab and its people.

He said the people can never forgive them for their sins against Punjab.

Mann asked these leaders to prepare well for the proposed debate on Punjab Day where he will expose them badly for their misdeeds.

The Chief Minister said the debate will be centered around who and how Punjab has been looted till now, nepotism, favouritism, toll plazas, youth, agriculture, trade-shopkeepers, Gurbani, river waters and others.

He said they have deceived Punjab on all these issues for which they are answerable to the people of state.

Mann dared them to participate in this open debate before Punjabis and the media.

The Chief Minister said these leaders have ample of time to prepare for this debate, adding they can make as many notes as they want defend themselves.

However, Mann said as he will speak only the truth so he needs no paper for help and he will participate in debate without any paper.

He asked the leaders to do as much cramming as they want because ultimately he will uncover all their misdeeds during debate.

SAD Accuses Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann of SYL Canal Betrayal

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Sunday accused Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann of pushing Punjab to the same spot it was at four decades ago on the issue of the SYL canal which subsequently took state into a black era in which it suffered a lot.

It asked Mann to be ready for debate outside his home on October 10 instead of waiting till November 1 as SAD leadership will visit his home under leadership of party President Sukhbir Badal.

SAD spokesman Arshdeep Singh Kler told the media here it was amusing to note that after reaching state from stage, Mann was again trying to reach stage from state as he has realized that people of the state have understood his betrayal of Punjab because of his decision to hand over state to Delhi leadership, including AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal, simply to exploit Punjab exchequer to expand the party in other states at the expense of his state.

He said the stand takeb by Mann on the SYL issue in the Supreme Court was a part of record in which Punjab counsel has accepted that government was willing to construct the canal but opposition from Opposition parties and difficulty in re-acquiring the land which has been given back to farmers by SAD government led by Parkash Singh Badal was a big hurdle in the matter.

Kler said the apex court order was officially welcomed by the AAP government and its spokesman spoke in favour of survey by the Centre. He said when the AAP government felt that it has been exposed completely now, the Chief Minister was trying to divert attention of people of the state by a tweet challenging Opposition parties.

He asked the Chief Minister why to wait for November 1 as SAD leaders under leadership of Sukhbir Badal will be visiting the Chief Minister’s residence where he should be ready for debate on Punjab issues.

ALSO READ-Punjab Congress Chief Firmly Opposes Land Survey

Canada India News Punjab

Punjabi Singer Gurdas Mann Cancels Tour Due to Diplomatic Strain

The production house, which is behind the tour, has said the move is the most responsible and necessary course of action for the time being…reports Asian Lite News

Punjabi legend Gurdas Mann’s Canada tour has been cancelled in light of the rising tensions between India and the north American country.

He was set to perform in Canada from October 22 to October 31. The cancellation of his tour comes amidst the strained diplomatic relationship between the two nations after the killing of Canadian Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

The production house, which is behind the tour, has said the move is the most responsible and necessary course of action for the time being.

The production house posted on Facebook announcing the cancellation of Gurdas Mann’s tour, “In light of the current diplomatic unrest between the two countries and after careful consideration and assessment of the unpredictable circumstances, it has been determined that the cancellation of the event is the most responsible and necessary course of action for the time being.”

All tickets would be refunded and new dates would be announced soon

India and Canada came to loggerheads after Canada accused India of murdering Nijjar in Canada. India rejected the allegation and sought specific information regarding the allegation which New Delhi claimed Ontario never provided.

However, Canada has claimed that it provided details many weeks ago. Tension has flared up to such a level that India suspended its visa services in Canada and Canada started shifting its diplomats from India as India accused them of interfering in internal affairs.

ALSO READ-Canada-India Tensions Flare Up Again, Thanks to Trudeau

India News Punjab

Over 12 Lakh Metric Tonnes of Paddy Procured, Benefit for Thousands of Farmers

A quantity of 2.01 LMT wheat from 481 depots and 4.87 LMT rice from 264 depots were offered from across the country under the auction…reports Asian Lite News

A quantity of 2.01 LMT wheat from 481 depots and 4.87 LMT rice from 264 depots were offered from across the country under the auction.

Around 12.21 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) of paddy has been procured in the states of Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Haryana, benefitting 99,675 farmers with MSP (minimum support price) value of Rs 2,689.77 crore.

This procurement was done till October 3, 2023 under the kharif marketing season 2023-24, official sources said.

Meanwhile 1.89 LMT of wheat and 0.05 LMT rice was sold to 2,255 bidders during the 15th e-auction conducted under the open market sale scheme (domestic) held on Wednesday (October 4). 

A quantity of 2.01 LMT wheat from 481 depots and 4.87 LMT rice from 264 depots were offered from across the country under the auction.

As a part of Centre’s initiative for market intervention to control the retail price of rice, wheat and atta, weekly e-auctions of both wheat and rice are being organised. 

In the e-auction, 2,447 empanelled buyers participated for both wheat and rice.

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India News Politics Punjab

Punjab Congress Chief Firmly Opposes Land Survey

Warring accused the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government of undermining Punjab’s case in the matter…reports Asian Lite News

Punjab Congress President, Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, responded strongly to the Supreme Court’s directive for a land survey in Punjab related to the construction of the SYL canal. He firmly stated, “Punjab has no surplus water to share, and there is no question of conducting a survey.”

In his official statement, Warring expressed respect for the Honorable Supreme Court of India but vehemently opposed the order for the Central government to conduct a survey for the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal in Punjab. He highlighted the historical significance of Punjab’s water, emphasizing that it has been significantly depleted over the years, even its underground water resources are on the brink of exhaustion, and, therefore, there is no possibility of sharing water with other states.

Warring accused the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government of undermining Punjab’s case in the matter. He alleged that AAP had vested interests in the issue, citing statements made by AAP leaders about delivering water to Haryana during their political campaigns. He criticized AAP for attempting to gain political ground in northern India through the SYL canal issue and accused the Punjab government of presenting a weak case in the Supreme Court.

Highlighting the emotional significance of the SYL canal issue for the people of Punjab, Warring cautioned against playing with the emotions of Punjabis. He warned that escalating this issue could harken back to a dark period in Punjab’s history when the situation was considerably more tense.

Addressing the survey order, Warring pointed out that the Haryana government had already conducted a survey and completed construction on its side because of their water needs. However, he reiterated that Punjab has no surplus water to allocate, making any survey in Punjab unnecessary.

ALSO READ-SC Rebukes Punjab Government Over Delay in SYL Canal Construction

India News Politics Punjab

SC Rebukes Punjab Government Over Delay in SYL Canal Construction

The apex court, in its order, has directed the Centre to look into the mediation process over the dispute and also carry out a survey on Punjab side to see the extent of construction made by the state…reports Asian Lite News

The Supreme Court on Wednesday came down heavily on the Punjab government for its delayed approach towards the construction of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal.

An apex court bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, C.T. Ravikumar, and Sudhanshu Dhulia heard the case regarding the ongoing dispute between Haryana and Punjab over the construction of SYL canal.

Punjab government’s counsel expressed his predicament, citing pressures from the opposition parties and the land aquired by the farmers.

The apex court, in its order, has directed the Centre to look into the mediation process over the dispute and also carry out a survey on Punjab side to see the extent of construction made by the state.

In March, the court had directed the Centre to play a more active role in the resolution as the main arbitrator in the case.

Earlier on July 2020, the apex court had also asked the Chief Ministers of the two states to resolve the issue amicably.

The conflict dates back to a water-sharing agreement of 1981 after Haryana was carved out of Punjab in 1966.

The SYL canal once constructed will facilitate watersharing between the two states from the Ravi and Beas rivers. Punjab was opposed water sharing citing riparian principles.

It was agreed upon that both the states would construct their portions in the SYL canal.

In 2004, the Punjab government passed the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act (PTAA) cancelling the SYL agreement.

In 2016, the apex court struck down this unilateral law by the Punjab government.

The matter is listed for further hearing on January 2024.

ALSO READ-Supreme Court Rejects Ex-IPS Officer Sanjiv Bhatt’s Petitions, Imposes Fine

-Top News PAKISTAN Punjab

Pakistan is repeating its modus operandi in Punjab

There is an upswing in this activity since 2022, evidently under external instigation as the call for a ‘referendum’ on Khalistan was given by elements known to be in cohort with Pak ISI, writes D.C. Pathak

Slowly but steadily the Pak-supported Khalistan movement is raising its head among the Sikh diaspora in the four countries — Canada, Australia, the US and the UK — where it is significant number-wise.

There is an upswing in this activity since 2022, evidently under external instigation as the call for a ‘referendum’ on Khalistan was given by elements known to be in cohort with Pak ISI. 

Khalistanis abroad are taking to violence in a manner that was designed to produce consequences in India – particularly in Punjab.

Vandalism against India’s diplomatic Missions abroad, defacing of temples and glorifying past incidents pertaining to Khalistan terror in India, have been resorted to in a planned way for this purpose.

In an event that marked a point of sharp escalation on the graph of this violence, the Indian Consulate in San Francisco, US was set on fire in July 2023 by a group of Khalistan separatists belonging to the newly established ‘Sikhs for Justice’. This organisation put up posters calling for the ‘killing’ of India’s top diplomats posted in Canada, the US, the UK and Australia – this was in response to the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a wanted terrorist killed in British Columbia, Canada by masked gunmen in June 2023.

Khalistan separatists in Brampton, Canada took out a 5-km-long parade on June 4, 2023, in which a float displayed the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by Khalistan loyalists.

The ‘Sikhs for Justice’ conducted a ‘referendum’ for a separate Khalistan, in Canada, the US, the UK and Australia in 2022. In Canada, one crore Sikhs out of a total of eight crores took part in it which was not insignificant. In Australia, the event was organised at Federation Square Melbourne in January 2023 and it led to a clash between Khalistanis and pro-India supporters.

In an early incident of communal violence, Khalistan and India supporters — numbering 400-500 — clashed in Mississauga Ontario, Canada on the eve of Diwali in October 2022. While Canada witnessed several incidents of defacing of temples, events also occurred in January 2023 in Australia in which three major temples were defiled by way of painting of anti-India slogans on their walls. In February 2023, the Indian Consulate in Brisbane, Australia was targeted by pro-Khalistan separatists who installed a Khalistan flag on its premises.

On March 19, 2023, a group of Khalistan activists in an auditions act, vandalised the Indian High Commission in London, took out the Indian flag, and tried to install a Khalistan flag there.

What is clearly a cause for serious concern is that these subversive activities abroad have been accompanied by some violent actions in India as well.

Indian Intelligence found that there was infiltration of Khalistan protagonists in the farmer’s agitation of 2020 and Amritpal Singh, a known advocate of Khalistan and promoter of the Bhindranwale cult, came to India from Dubai and visited sites of protesting farmers.

n January 26, 2021, farmers instigated by Khalistan elements entered Red Fort in Delhi and hoisted the Nishan Sahib flag there. The ‘Sikhs for Justice’ announced a reward of Rs 2.5 crores for unfurling the Khalistan flag at the Indian Parliament.

In February 2023, Amritpal Singh along with thousands of his supporters some of them armed and also carrying Guru Granth Sahib, raided Ajnala Police Station near Amritsar and secured the release of Lovepreet Singh Toofan, an aide of Amritpal Singh who had been earlier arrested for violence.

Amritpal Singh who had in the meanwhile visited village Rode in Moga district – the birthplace of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale – as part of his plan to imitate Bhindranwale and spread the ideas of the founder of the Khalistan movement, was arrested in April 2023.

It may be recalled that Canada had in 1980 provided sanctuary to dreaded Khalistan terrorists like Jagjeet Singh Chauhan and Talwinder Singh Parmar. Designated terrorist Arshdeep Singh Gill of Khalistan Tiger Force is also sheltered in Canada.

The threat of Khalistan terror has in a major way originated and sustained by Canada since Prime Minister Trudeau had been politically dependent on the support of the Sikh separatists there. India has now taken a serious view of Canada pursuing this unfriendly line towards this country because of ‘vote bank politics.

On March 2023, Indian High Commission had to cancel an event in British Columbia, Canada as some 200 Khalistanis – some with swords – gathered before the venue to protest against the arrest of Amritpal Singh in India.

Over these last two years, the activities of Khalistan separatists have gathered pace both in countries like Canada, Australia, the US and the UK as well as in India, clearly indicating the desperation of Pakistan about reviving the terror profile of the Eighties in the border state of Punjab.

The prolonged spell of Khalistan terror in Punjab in the 1980s was broken by a highly successful Operation Black Thunder in 1988 after which the violence had tapered off there. This had compelled Pakistan to launch a new phase of militant separatism in Kashmir in the name of Jehad – in replacement of the slogans of Plebiscite and Aazadi – in what came to be known as the K2 plan of the ISI.

Pakistan is now active in recreating trouble in Punjab because India had made progress in controlling cross-border terrorism in Kashmir in the period following the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution. This replay of Pak ISI’s plan against India is being firmly countered by this country.

Pakistan is replicating the modus operandi that had been successfully used by it in Punjab in the 1980s – reflected in the three-fold strategy of pressing into the use of locally fabricated IEDs like a ‘cycle bomb’ to create an atmosphere of fear, spreading ‘Amritdhari’ movement through Gurdwaras and precipitating the communal divide in the state by instigating violence against Hindus – resulting in cases of massacre of Hindu passengers travelling by bus.

Attacks on our diplomatic missions and cases of vandalisation of temples abroad are aimed at injecting an atmosphere of communal divide in Punjab. This time around, however, Hindu-Sikh unity in Punjab against any return of terrorist violence there has proved to be the biggest obstacle in the path of the adversary.

Nonetheless, the spread of the ‘Amritdhari’ cult is going on particularly in the sensitive border districts of the state through selected Gurdwaras for the purpose of raising potential militants. Communal division if instigated in a sustained way – in a state where there is a history of religion being mixed with politics – can grow how so ever slowly.

The planned use of locally made IEDs would comparatively be an easier part in Punjab where arms and drugs are being dropped by the enemy through the deployment of drones and this can be set in motion at the opportune time.

The learning for policymakers and the national security set-up is that an all-out effort has to be made to nip the trouble in the bud, in Punjab.

Diplomatic, political and police measures have to be put in place to stop in time any further deterioration of the situation in Punjab.

India has already stepped up its diplomatic offensive to warn countries like Canada, Australia and even the UK not to allow militant anti-India activities of Khalistan separatists on the tenuous plea of freedom of expression and named Canada for inaction on account of considerations of ‘vote bank’ politics.

India has to counter the pro-Pak lobbies active internationally and supported by China in pursuance of the Sino-Pak axis that had become particularly strong after the take-over of Kashmir by the Centre here.

There is a possibility of Islamic militancy and Khalistan separatism working together.

The present state government in Punjab has to rise above any approach of political ambiguity while handling the emerging problem and become aware of the dire need for keeping politics above issues of national security. Unity of Punjabis rooted in the common belief in the values taught by Guru Nanak has to be preserved and promoted.

It is advisable to consider putting Punjab under a Governor with national security background to suitably guide the state and educate the state government on the developing situation. A civilian who had direct knowledge of the way terrorism had grown in Punjab in the ’80s and who was adept at dealing with the Army on a note of mutual respect, should fill the bill. Punjab needs mature handling in liaison with the national security set-up and calls for a smooth Centre-State relationship for advancing the larger interest of the state and the nation.

The developing scene of revival of Khalistan separatism in Punjab has to be seen in the context of the national security horizon of India which is presently marked by a rising trend of external threats becoming the main cause for endangering our internal security.

The return of the Taliban Emirate at Kabul gave a strategic advantage to Pakistan over India in Afghanistan, deepening of strategic partnership between Pakistan and China that worked primarily against India internationally and the emergence of social media as a weapon of ‘information warfare’ and an instrument for ‘radicalisation’ and recruitment of terrorists, are the major areas of security concern for India that required an effective new strategy and added to the challenges facing the Intelligence agencies.

China and Pakistan are working in collaboration to exploit whatever opportunities they had for fishing in the troubled waters here.

Apart from the faith-based terrorism Pak ISI could foment in India taking advantage of communal discords that this country remained prone to, the Sino-Pak axis could be working to create further problems in Kashmir, Punjab and the North East through clandestine funding, weapon supply and dropping of narcotics using drones. This is already happening on a significant scale adding a new dimension to the proxy war India was facing for years. It is in this context that Punjab needs urgent attention and steps directed at countering the threat of Khalistan militancy that was evidently raising its head there.

(The writer is a former Director of the Intelligence Bureau. Views expressed are personal)

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