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Dangerous Adventurism

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In the latest incident, a Sikh youth was murdered by ‘unknown’ persons in Peshawar, Pakistan. This comes upon the heels of the mob attack on the Nankana Sahib Gurudwara led by a person with an anti-minority agenda. Considering the very small number of Sikhs left in Pakistan, such assaults underline the extreme danger they are in from a majority that has for over seventy years been fed the poison of fundamentalist theology. Even those who speak of providing protection to the Sikhs, do so because they look upon the community as allies in the effort to drive the ‘Khalistan’ wedge between India’s communities. The decision to disallow visits by non-Sikhs to the Kartarpur Gurdwara for three crucial days is to create an impression that a ‘special’ bond exists between the community and the Pakistani establishment. In fact, the presence of a Khalistan provocateur in ‘managing’ the situation at Nankana Sahib was a message for the local Sikhs that safety lies in being part of that separatist cause.

That Pakistan believes holding a few gurdwaras and its small Sikh population hostage would provide it leverage against India would be funny if it did not have dangerous implications. All those who faced terrorism in Punjab during the Bhindranwale period remember how terrible a human tragedy it was. Pakistan counts it as one of its successes in the war against India and is hoping for a repeat under Imran Khan’s government, which is more of an Army stooge than any other. It does not realise how times have changed, with cultural and social safeguards having been built into the system against separatism through the democratic process. India’s ability and determination to counter terrorist attacks has also increased manifold, as recent events have shown.

It is tragic that a simple ‘green channel’ created in the CAA for persecuted minorities in ‘Islamic’ countries bordering India has been exploited by political parties to create insecurity among Indians, particularly the Muslims, when the focus should be on Pakistan’s nefarious designs. Even a cursory look at the popular narrative in that country reveals the commitment to an outdated and perverse world-view. The Indian public should be able to distinguish between leaders who put the nation first and those willing to compromise on principle for the sake of acquiring power. It is not a time in history when voting behaviour should send the wrong message to India’s adversaries on how united the nation is; Pakistan’s adventurism should be quelled in the bud if a lesson is to be learned from history.