ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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West Bengal-Prelude to 1987

among the Akalis. The Union government's present posture of shelving the political efforts to transfer Chandigarh to Punjab and emphasising instead the para-military operations to suppress Sikh terrorism has been justified on the argument that in any case even if Chandigarh was duly transferred to Punjab that would not result in the terrorists and the supporters of Khalistan giving up their activities. In the narrowest sense the argument may be valid, but actually it reflects the lack of understanding and vision which has marked the attitude of the Union government (as well as large sections of Hindu opinion all over the country) towards the Sikh question in Punjab. After Operation Bluestar and the mass killing of Sikhs in the wake of Indira Gandhi's assassination, large numbers of Sikhs all over the country, in Punjab and outside, have a genuine sense of injury and injustice though they have nothing to do with, and are opposed to, the terrorists and the Khalistanis. But for this general sense of alienation among the Sikh community, the terrorists could not have so effectively sustained their activities in the face of the government's police and paramilitary forces. The sense of alienation has been undoubtedly aggravated by what has been perceived as foot-dragging by the Central government in the implementation of the Punjab Accord, especially the transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab. For the Union government to publicly take the position now that it proposes to put aside the question of Chandigarh's transfer, for the time being at least, while it steps up its para-military operations against the terrorists is to once again exhibit its indifference to Sikh sentiment. The terrorists could have asked for nothing better.

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