THE crackdown by the Punjab Police on pro-Khalistan activist Amritpal Singh and his supporters is a welcome step aimed at ensuring that peace and public order are not disturbed in the border state. The AAP government, which has been repeatedly accused of going soft on secessionist troublemakers, has finally taken the bull by the horns. The action comes weeks after the rabble-rouser’s armed loyalists stormed Ajnala police station, demanding the release of one of his aides. The police had cut a sorry figure by tamely capitulating to the protesters. Having learnt the lesson the hard way, the authorities are now going all out to redeem themselves. There are reports that the state government launched a major swoop after Union Home Minister Amit Shah assured Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann of adequate deployment of Central Armed Police Forces in the state. Rising above party lines, close coordination and collaboration between the Centre and the state will be vital for keeping the situation under control.
Investigating agencies must thoroughly probe the suspected role of Pakistan’s ISI and various religious secessionist groups in providing funds to keep the pot boiling in Punjab. Some members of the diaspora, instead of confining themselves to matters concerning their adopted countries, are trying to create the dangerously misleading impression that the state’s residents are witnessing a reign of terror and repression. These are nothing but canards being spread to foment trouble in a state renowned for its hardy farmers and fearless soldiers.
Sunday’s attack on the Indian High Commission in London and vandalism at the Indian consulate in San Francisco by Khalistan sympathisers were attention-seeking acts of provocation that are becoming a common occurrence in the West. Unfortunately, countries such as the UK, Canada, the US and Australia are lacking firm commitment to stamp out this menace. The after-effects of Britain’s much-abused asylum policy, which opened the floodgates for migrants of all hues from terrorism-hit Punjab and J&K, are still very much visible. The onus is on the UK to not lend a platform to India-baiters; otherwise, it could have blood on its hands all over again — a throwback to the 1984 killing of Indian diplomat Ravindra Mhatre by Kashmiri terrorists on British soil.
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