Joint effort needed to root out radical groups

Amid signs of rising militancy, the Punjab government’s crackdown on the followers of the elusive radical preacher and Khalistani supporter Amritpal Singh reflects the country’s resolve to take on forces challenging the sovereignty of India. The entire nation must speak in one voice to condemn the fissiparous elements desperately seeking to revive their activities in the sensitive border state.

India has suffered enough due to the Sikh militancy and cannot afford a throwback to the traumatic 1980s, a blood-soaked era of terrorism that left a deep scar on society and negated the gains of a prosperous state. As many as 114 people have been arrested so far in the crackdown that started last week, though Amritpal continues to evade the police dragnet. The situation is causing concern in the wake of a well-orchestrated plan by a section of the military establishment in Pakistan to revive the Khalistani movement and to make every possible effort to fan the embers of discontent.

Pakistani intelligence agency ISI, which has been the brain behind the growth of radical preacher Amritpal Singh, has now instigated overseas Khalistan supporters to organise protests and demonstrations.

The recent attack on the Indian High Commission in London and vandalism at the Indian consulate in San Francisco by Khalistan sympathisers must be seen as a desperate attempt by the ISI to build followership of Amritpal, the chief of the fringe outfit ‘Waris Punjab De.’

While drug lords were allegedly helping Amritpal Singh financially, the ISI is believed to be helping him with arms, ammunition and other logistics. The AAP government in Punjab should continue to work closely with the central government to tackle the radical Sikh groups.