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Monday, April 24, 2006

Babbar Khalsa

Courtesy: wikipedia the free encyclopedia

The Babbar Khalsa (Punjabi: ਬੱਬਰ ਖਾਲਸਾ, babbara khālasā) is a group considered to be among the oldest and most prominent of Sikh organisations calling for the formation of an independent Sikh state. The envisioned state, called Khalistan (meaning Land of the Pure) by its proponents, would comprise Indian territory in the Punjab, and Punjabi-speaking areas of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. Like other Sikh separatist organisations, the Babbar Khalsa was most active in the 1970s and 1980s, although sporadic acts of violence are still attributed to it. It is sponsored by expatriate Sikhs, particularly in the United Kingdom and Canada as well as Sikh groups within India. The Babbar Khalsa is listed as a terrorist organisation by the United Kingdom, the EU, and Canada. The United States has designated the Babbar Khalsa responsible for the bombing of Air India Flight 182; although the alleged members deemed responsible were all acquited in a Canadian trial in 2005.

Origins of the Babbar Khalsa

The Babbar Khalsa traces its origin to the Babbar Akali Movement of 1920, which agitated against British colonial rule in India. The conception of Babbar Khalsa in its modern day form is widely believed to have been brought about as a result of the Nirankari-Akhand Kirtani Jatha clash on Vaisakhi in 1978, where thirteen Sikhs and three Nirankaris died. The Nirankaris were a sect who claimed to be Sikhs yet, in the opinion of some others, broke many fundamental laws of Sikhism. On 24 April 1980, Gurbachan Singh, the "Baba" of the Nirankaris, was killed. Responsibility for this killing was claimed by the Babbar Khalsa.

Sukhdev Singh Babbar and Talwinder Singh Parmar were the most prominent founding members of this organisation, with Talwinder Singh Parmar founding the Babbar Khalsa International in 1981 and Sukhdev Singh Babbar handling matters within India. Talwinder Singh Parmar later split off forming his own faction (Babbar Khalsa Parmar) when he fell out with the BKI leadership.

The split and Practical end

The schism greatly weakened the Babbar Khalsa, ultimately leading to the death of Sukhdev Singh Babbar (9 August 1992) and Talwinder Singh Parmar (15 October 1992). Parmar's death remains controversial, and today he is accepted to have been shot in a gun battle with Indian police, with Canada's CBC network reporting that Parmar had been in police custody for some time prior to his death.

According to Punjab Police, the last words uttered by Sukhdev Singh Babbar were: "The Sukhdev Singh you have come to get has left, this body is an empty vessel, you may do with this as you wish." The death of Sukhdev Singh, described by India Today as “the most prominent militant leader since 1978” who had “an aura of invincibility”, severely weakened the Babbar Khalsa.

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