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Dal Khalsa (International) is a pro-Khalistan organisation that is based in the city of Amritsarmarker (Punjabmarker). The primary aim of the Dal Khalsa is to achieve the independence of the Punjabi-speaking Sikh majority region of North West Indiamarker through peaceful means in order to establish a sovereign Sikh state, Khalistan.

Initial Years of the Dal Khalsa

The Dal Khalsa was founded on August 6, 1978, at a convention held at Gurdwara Akal-Garh, Sector 35, Chandigarhmarker, with the objective of establishing an independent Sikh state outside the Union of India. A number of Sikh Youth organisations had participated in the convention to discuss affairs of the Sikh Panth. The formation of the Dal Khalsa occurred shortly after an infamous clash between Sikhs belonging to the Akhand Kirtani Jatha and the followers of a Sikh sect known as the Nirankaris (whom other Sikhs regard as heretics). This clash had occurred at a Nirankari event at the Harmandir Sahibmarker in Amritsar on April 13 1978, in which 3 Nirankaris and 13 Sikhs were killed..

At its first annual conference held in Gurdaspurmarker during December, 1979, the Dal Khalsa passed a resolution demanding that Amritsarmarker be officially declared a "holy city". A demand that was supported by other Sikh organisations such as the Sikh Students Federation and one which was later taken up with the Indian government by the SGPC in 1980. However, the Indian government made no decision on the demand to declare Amritsar a "holy city" which prompted the Dal Khalsa and the Sikh Students Federation to organise a procession on May 31, 1981. The Hindu community was opposed to the demand of declaring Amritsar a "holy city" and held their own parallel procession in Amritsar on May 29, 1981.

For the first time the flag of Khalistan was hoisted on August 1, 1980, by activists of the Dal Khalsa at the spot in Amritsarmarker where 13 Sikhs had been killed during a clash with the Nirankaris on April 13, 1978. Shortly after activists of the Dal Khalsa again raised the flag of Khalistan at various places in the Punjab state during India's Independence day on August 15, 1980.

During 1981 the Dal Khalsa along with other Sikh organisations such as the Sikh Students Federation, SGPC and Shiromani Akali Dal demanded associate membership in the United Nations for the 'Sikh Nation'. Owing largely to the Dal Khalsa a resolution to this effect was passed at the "Sikh Educational Conference" held in Chandigarhmarker on March 15, 1981, which had been organised by the Chief Khalsa Diwan. During this event American based Khalistan protagonist, Ganga Singh Dhillon, delivered a speech on why the Sikhs are a nation and slogans of "Khalistan Zindabad" (Long live Khalistan) were raised at the event.

Activity resulting in a temporary ban on Dal Khalsa

A 10 year ban was put on the Dal Khalsa by the Indian government in 1982 following alleged militant activities carried out by the organization. These included several plane hijackings such as the 1981 hijacking of an Indian Airlines Jetliner (Boeing 737). The plane was hijacked on September 29, 1981, by five members of the Dal Khalsa as a form of protest against the arrest of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale who had been accused of being involved in the murder of Jalandharmarker based Hindu newspaper owner Jagat Narain. The hijackers were under the leadership of Gajinder Singh who a few years later was nominated as Chairman of the organization while on asylum in Pakistanmarker. The Dal Khalsa activists forced the plane to land in Lahoremarker, Pakistanmarker and demanded the release of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in addition to demanding the release of all persons who had been detained in connection with the Khalistan movement, a ransom of 5 lakh dollars and compensation of 100,000 Indian Rupees (Rs.) for the families of each Sikhs that had been killed on September 20, 1981, at Chowk Mehta after the arrest of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. A day after the hijacking Pakistani commandos arrested the Dal Khalsa activists. The hijackers were identified as Gajinder Singh, Satnam Singh of Paonta Sahibmarker, Jasbir Singh of Roparmarker, Tejinderpal Singh of Jalandharmarker(see his visiting card at the end of this page) and Karam Singh of Jammu. Though Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale had never openly or officially associated with the Dal Khalsa the organization was largely seen have had close links with him.

In January 1982, Harsimran Singh, chief organizer of the Dal Khalsa was arrested from Mohalimarker near Chandigarhmarker. The Dal Khalsa leaders believed that his arrest was possible due to a conspiracy by some member of the organization. Harsimran Singh was allegedly tortured by the police and was told that they had the permission of the Government to kill him in a fake encounter near the Indo-Pakistan border. Harsimran Singh was forced to read out a written statement if he wanted to save his life.

Sometime during April 1982, two cow heads were severed and placed outside two Hindu temples in Amritsarmarker by unknown culprits though the police later blamed it on the Dal Khalsa. The incident sparked off a small riot in which a large Hindu crowd gathered at the Harmandir Sahibmarker and began pelting stones at the most sacred place of the Sikhs. Jaswant Singh Thekedar, who at the time was an activist of the Dal Khalsa, was accused of being involved in the incident and was declared a 'Proclaimed Offender' carrying a reward of Rs. 50,000 on him. He fled to the UK via Nepal in 1983 and was expelled from the Dal Khalsa in 1986 for what were said to be 'anti-party' activities by him.

The Dal Khalsa and National Council of Khalistan were banned by the Indian government in May, 1982 after which the Dal Khalsa went underground. Two years later, the Dal Khalsa announced its "Government in Exile" in June, 1984.

Gajinder Singh, one of the plane hijackers of the Indian Airlines Jetliner (Boeing 737) in 1981, accepted the post of Chairman of the Dal Khalsa in 1986.

Revival of the Dal Khalsa

After remaining largely dormant and underground for over a decade the Dal Khalsa was revived in 1998 after the ban on the organisation had lapsed. The revived Dal Khalsa continues to commit to its original objective of establishing an independent Khalistan. The main office of the Dal Khalsa is presently based in Amritsar at "Freedom House", Sarhadi Complex, Railway Road. The Dal Khalsa has since also established units in the United Statesmarker and the United Kingdom in addition to branches across the Punjab state, India. The revived Dal Khalsa has pledged to put aside armed resistance and further the cause of Khalistan by peaceful and democratic means.

Dal Khalsa takes on a larger agenda

On September 30, 2005, the co-founder of the Dal Khalsa, Gajinder Singh stepped down as Chairman of the organisation. Satnam Singh Paonta, himself one of the original Dal Khalsa founders, was chosen as the new President on October 2 (2005) at a convention held in Chandigarhmarker. In addition to Satnam Singh Paonta being chosen as the new leader of the Dal Khalsa, the organization welcomed Jaspal Singh Dhillon, head of the Human Rights and Democracy Forum into the party fold as its new vice President.

The new senior leadership of the Dal Khalsa had pledged that it will continue to deploy peaceful methods to achieve an independent Khalistan but will also take up other socio-political issues faced by the people of Punjab such as education for rural children and tackling the menace of drug abuse. However, the primary objective of the Dal Khalsa would remain the same and that it will not divert from its original and main goal of establishing an independent and sovereign Khalistan.

In June 2005, the Dal Khalsa became a constituent member of the Punjab Rights Forum.

Dal Khalsa at the launch of PNSD at the British Parliament

In May 2006 the Vice-President of the Dal Khalsa, Jaspal Singh Dhillon, paid a visit to Londonmarker, UK where he had been invited to attend and deliver a speech on Self-determination for Khalistan at the inaugural launch and conference of a new lobby group called Parliamentarians for National Self-Determination (PNSD) which was held on May 11 at the British Parliamentmarker in Westminstermarker. The Dal Khalsa has sought to work closely with Parliamentarians for National Self-Determination in which the Sikh Nation is one of the founder members.

Recent Activity

In 2006 some members of the Dal Khalsa unit in the USA split from their parent organisation and formed a break-away group known as the Dal Khalsa of America .

In February 2007 the Dal Khalsa broke from its earlier stance regarding the Punjab state legislature by supporting two candidates in the Punjab polls, most notably SGPC member Karnail Singh Panjoli. During the Punjab legislative assembly elections the Dal Khalsa also supported candidates from the Shiromani Akali Dal led by Simranjit Singh Mann.

During the election period in the Punjab state the Dal Khalsa's acting vice President, Jaspal Singh Dhillon, defected to the Parkash Singh Badal led Shiromani Akali Dal .

Blacklisted Sikh leader appointedTribune News Service

Amritsar, September 20The Dal Khalsa has appointed UK-based Sikh leader Manmohan Singh Khalsa vice-president of the outfit. His name figures in the blacklist prepared by the government of India due to his involvement in militant activities.

Newly elected president of the party H.S. Dhami on Friday said Manjinder Singh would replace Kanwar Pal Singh as general secretary, while the latter had been nominated secretary, political affairs.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2008/20080921/punjab1.htm#9

References

  1. The Mackenzie Institute, Toronto, Canada, "Other people's wars: A Review of Overseas Terrorism in Canada" 8 June 2003


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