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Sikh extremist was the result of caste based class struggle
Satbir Singh Bedi | 01 Aug 2013

Various reasons have been given for the rise of Sikh extremism. One of the main reason given is communalism. However, while the demand of the Sikh extremists for Khalistan certainly appeared to be communal, actually Sikh extremism was the result of class struggle based on casteism.

 
Just as in West Punjab (now Pakistani Punjab), the
agriculturists were mostly Muslims who suffered at the
hands of Hindu and Sikh money lenders, in East Punjab
(Punjab which is now part of India), the
agriculturists were mostly Sikhs who belonged to Jat
and Saini Castes while the moneylenders were mostly
Hindu Khatris.  Now agriculturists had a grouse
against money lending Khatris that they had fleeced
the former mercilessly during the pre-Partition day
and also treated them shabbily.
 
Just as Jats and Sainis who formed majority of the
Sikh population had an enmity towards Hindu Khatris,
the former were also against the rise of the Scheduled
Caste population which comprised mostly of Hindus.  In
pre-partition days, these Scheduled Castes were mostly
neglected and they were not even allowed to have good
names.  However, with the country becoming
independent, these Scheduled Castes also became quite
rich by gaining various Government top class posts
through reservations and by going to England, Canada,
USA etc.  They also started to seek equality with the
Jats and Sainis.  So, the Sikh community mostly
consisting of Jats and Sainis was against money
lending Khatri class and prospering Scheduled Castes,
both of which classes comprised Hindus.  Hence, this
class struggle between various classes based on
casteism became a communal struggle and the Sikh
extremists mostly comprising Jats and Sainis raised a
banner of revolt against the Hindus and in fact,
raised the demand for Khalistan.  They  were
instigated in this regard by the Pakistani
Government's ISI.  
 
Merciless killing of Hindus began who were dragged out
from buses and put to death. Then the late PM of
India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi launched Operation Blue Star
attacking the sanctum sanatorium, Gurudwara Harmandir
Sahib of Sikhs. While a number of Sikh militants were
killed in this operation, the operation was not
carried out wisely and even Khatri Sikhs and other
non-agriculturist Sikhs became angry with Indira Gandhi.
A conspiracy was hatched by some misguided Sikh
bodyguards of Indira Gandhi and she was killed in
1984.  However, this resulted in massacre of the Sikh
masses in Delhi and elsewhere.  These Sikhs were
mostly non-Jats but it created a unity among Jats and
Non-Jat Sikhs.  
 
Thereafter almost a decade of reign of terror by Sikh
militants on the one hand and by the Punjab police on
the other hand took place.  Ultimately, the movement
failed because of the close relations between Hindus
and Sikhs; at least according to me.  Some other
people may give the credit for this to Mr. Beant
Singh, the then CM of Punjab and Police Chief, KPS
Gill who dealt with the militants sternly and nearly
finished them.