When a senior leader of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Prashant Bhushan spoke in support of Kashmiri separatists, party supremo Kejriwal was quick to term it as Bhushan’s “personal views”, but he has maintained a strategic silence on the issue of party leaders supporting Khalistani separatists.
Khalistan movement refers to a hardline Sikh demand for a separate country for Sikhs. This demand has never found popular support among common Sikhs as they feel that their interests are well protected within India. However, this movement has always found support from Pakistan.
Khalistan movement was at peak during Indira Gandhi regime with likes of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale leading an armed struggle. But it slowly fizzled out thanks to nationalist Sikhs in Army and politics, who could save India from another partition.
But the movement still finds some support among some areas in Punjab. Earlier this year, pro-Khalistani outfits had declared support to AAP during the Lok Sabha elections.
And it worked. The only seats AAP could win anywhere in the country were in Punjab.
But questions should be asked if AAP is playing a dangerous game by going soft on Khalistani separatists for electoral gains?
Although AAP chief Kejriwal has never made a categorical statement about the relationship between pro-Khalistani outfits and AAP, he could argue that he can’t stop anyone from supporting him.
Just like Congress supported AAP during Delhi government formation in December 2013 without AAP asking for it openly, Kejriwal could claim that pro-Khalistani outfits supported AAP in a similar manner.
But now Arvind Kejriwal can’t afford to remain silent on this issue.
— Tajinder Bagga (@tajinderbagga) December 13, 2014
A photograph released by Tajinder Singh Bagga of Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena (see the tweet above) shows Jarnail Singh, an AAP leader who was a candidate from West Delhi in the 2014 general elections, addressing a rally of Khalistan supporters.
As one can clearly see, the rally has posters demanding a separate Sikh homeland of Khalistan, and thus it is asking for the division of India. An unconstitutional and dangerous demand.
The rally took place on 5 June 2011 in London, as confirmed by Bagga to OpIndia.com and it raises serious issues about the relationship between pro-Khalistan movement and AAP.
Will AAP remain silent for electoral gains even if it means that the unity and sovereignty of the country is weakened?
Khalistani movement has been supported by Pakistan, which also supports Kashmiri separatist movement. Isn’t AAP playing into the hands of Pakistan by going soft on such issues?
In fact, it raises serious questions if Pakistan could be funding some of these activities. One is forced to link it with the fact that AAP doesn’t show Pakistan as a country in its donations list.
Check out this official online form for donation to AAP. It shows all countries in the drop-down list except Pakistan. It doesn’t mean that people from Pakistan can’t donate to AAP (nowhere on the website it asks those living in Pakistan to stay away).
It means that people residing in Pakistan will have to choose some other country while making the donation, which means that the donations from Pakistan will be a non-transparent process. This comes from a party that asks for transparency in all walks of public life. Why is AAP afraid of disclosing donations received from Indians living in Pakistan?
AAP should come clean on these issues that hint at the party going soft on Pakistan backed groups such as Kashmiri separatists by Prashant Bhushan and Khalistani separatists by Jarnail Singh.
In fact, this is not only going soft on Khalistanis but now it’s about sharing the stage with Khalistanis after this exposé by Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena.
An AAP leader is seen making demands to break up the country, and the party chief Arvind Kejriwal must speak up now.