‘Bid to revive insurgency in Punjab’
Attempts are being made through “external linkages” to “revive insurgency” in Punjab, and if early action is not taken, it may be too late, Army chief Gen. Bipin Rawat said on Saturday.Speaking at a seminar on ‘Changing Contours of Internal Security in India: Trends and Responses,’ he said: “Punjab has been peaceful, but because of these external linkages, attempts are being made to revive insurgency.” “Let us not think that [the situation in] Punjab is over. We cannot close our eyes to what is happening in Punjab. And, if we do not take early action now, it will be too late,” he said.Punjab witnessed one of the worst phases of insurgencies in the 1980s during the pro-Khalistan movement, which was quelled by the government. At a panel discussion, former Uttar Pradesh DGP Prakash Singh highlighted the issue and said “attempts were being to revive insurgency” in Punjab. He referred to a pro-Khalistan rally organised recently in London for ‘Referendum 2020.’ Hundreds of people had turned out at Trafalgar Square in London on August 12 in support of a pro-Khalistan rally as well as to counter the event with an Independence Day celebrations. Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) had said its rally was intended to raise awareness for a non-binding referendum in 2020, calling for Punjab to be granted independence. The “We Stand With India” and “Love My India” events were organised by Indian diaspora groups as a reaction to the pro-Khalistan “London Declaration for a Referendum 2020”.“Internal security is one of the biggest problems in the country, but the question is why we have not been able to find a solution, because it has external linkages,” Gen. Rawat said.The event was organised by defence think-tank CLAWS (Centre for Land and Warfare Studies). Gen. Rawat is its patron.Asserting that insurgency could not be dealt with the military force alone, he advocated an approach in which all agencies, the government, the civil administration, the Army and the police worked in an “integrated manner.”“The resolution of Naga insurgency can be the forerunner to the Manipur insurgency. There are some linkages between the two. But if that resolution does not satisfy the Manipuris, the insurgency in that State will take a different turn,” Gen. Rawat said.As for Assam, attempts were again being made, through “external linkages,” to revive insurgency in the State, he said. And, also through external abetment, and acknowledged once even by the “northern neighbour”. So, there is no denying the fact that there are these factors, Gen. Rawat added.