Punjab suffered huge losses in the decade-long militancy in the 1980s. However, the Khalistan movement appeared to have splintered and eventually faded away by the mid-1990s.
Punjab suffered heavy losses both in terms of social and financial means.
“Punjab has suffered a lot due to internal terrorism. There was a great loss both in terms of physical and financial. Punjab still has the hundreds of crores of rupees in debt. Along with the accused, many other innocent people lost their lives,” said Col (Retd) Kuldip Singh, state president, SEWA.
The recent terrorist attacks in Dinanagar and Pathankot areas of Punjab indicate help from an insider in carrying out the same.
“The two terror strikes at Dinanagar and Pathankot show a strong possibility of some inner hand from Punjab. Especially, terrorists in the Pathankot attack came a night before and they stayed here which means someone must have given them shelter,” he added.
Former vice-chairperson of National Commission for Minorities Bawa Singh said there is a very small chance of another Khalistan or terrorist movement originating in Punjab.
“I do not completely rule out the possibility, but even if it happens, it will be on a very small scale,” he added.
The Khalistan movement had garnered enough support from the Sikh Diaspora in Britain, the US and Canada.
Paramjit Singh Pamma, a Khalistani militant, walked free after remaining in detention for nearly two months after the Portugal Government turned down India’s plea to extradite him.
Before his arrest by the Portugal Police on December 18, 2015, Pamma was living in the UK after being granted political asylum in 2000.
However, experts feel his release would hardly affect the dwindling support for Khalistan.
“The release of Paramjit Singh Pamma won’t affect Punjab. The reason being the money which he used to give to the organisation here does not exist now. The organisation needs to be created once again and for that reason he needs to hire people and Pakistan may help him in this. If this will happen then there are chances of any Khalistan movement otherwise no such movement can come again,” said Col (Retd.) Kuldip Singh.
Khalistan-led militancy that peaked in late 1970s and 1980s claimed hundreds of lives.
The increased vigilance by security forces and the confidence building measures adopted by the Sikh community helped in rooting out the Khalistan movement.