THE KHALISTAN MOVEMENT IN PUNJAB
Meredith Weiss 25 June 2002
Widespread Sikh demands for an independent state rather than just greater autonomy under a reformed federalist India are a relatively new phenomenon. The actions of the central state have been key to the shift from communal self-awareness and religious revival, to linguistic ethnonationalism, to secessionism. The commitment of the Indian state upon independence to forging state borders around linguistic groups encouraged pursuit of a state for Punjabi-speakers, a goal ultimately realized only in 1966. A combination of economic forces (particularly the frustration of those disadvantaged by the ‘green revolution’), unmet demands for greater devolution of power from the central to the state government, and religious revivalism among Sikhs, compounded by a series of harsh crackdowns by the central state and mounting antagonism between Sikhs and Hindus, led to demands for a sovereign Sikh state of Khalistan by the 1980s. These demands were articulated perhaps even more stridently abroad, among the Sikh diaspora, than in India. However, by the mid-1990s, Sikh militancy had tapered off and politics had begun to normalize anew.
India is home to approximately 16 million Sikhs. Sikhs constitute a majority in the Punjab (61 percent, with most of the rest Hindu), but just under 2 percent of India’s total population. What is now referred to as Punjab has shrunk in size since independence in 1947, not least since India lost almost 66 percent of the state to Pakistan at partition. In the colonial period, Sikhs constituted only 14 percent of Punjab’s population. Punjab today consists of 5,033,000 hectares and has a population of just over 20 million (70 percent rural, 30 percent urban) (Deol 2000). Rural Sikhs have been concentrated since partition in the eastern third of the previous region, where they have sustained intensive and reasonably productive agriculture. Its economy based on agriculture, Punjab is a prosperous state and represents the “granary” of India. The region is the birthplace of Sikhism and home to numerous historic Sikh shrines. Punjab has strategic significance since the region borders Pakistan and Kashmir.
The Punjab region was under Hindu rule for centuries, then under Islamic dominance for five hundred years. Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1779-1839) then established a short-lived Sikh empire. Sikh political power collapsed on 29 March 1849, when the British conquered Punjab after two Anglo-Sikh wars. During the colonial era, the population of Punjab was plural, with a Muslim majority in the west, a Hindu majority in the east, and Sikhs prevalent in the center. Under colonial rule, Punjabis were favorite military recruits and Sikhs were heavily over-represented in the armed forces (comprising around one-third of the force by World War I). Both Muslim and Sikh peasants benefited from a network of canals developed in western Punjab, and Punjabi peasants in particular enjoyed a protective patron-client relationship with British administrators (Tatla 1999:16).
Independence in 1947 and the partition of Pakistan from India brought a massive reorganization of Punjab’s territorial boundaries. Nine years later, Patiala as well as Punjab and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU) were incorporated into Punjab. These borders shifted again in September 1966, with the Punjab State Reorganization Bill. The southern, Hindi-speaking plain districts formed the new state of Haryana; the northern, Hindi-speaking hill districts merged with neighboring Himachal Pradesh; and the remaining Punjabi-speaking areas formed the new state of Punjab. Those who invoke Khalistan as a Sikh homeland tend not to be specific about to which incarnation of Punjab they refer (Oberoi 1987:30).
Sikhs differ in religion, but not in language, from other ethnic groups in northern India. However, even the Punjabi language is now closely identified with Sikhs, as wider use of Punjabi has declined since the spread of schools and colleges under colonial rule. The community has “succeeded in acquiring a high degree of internal social and political cohesion and subjective self-awareness,” as well as political significance within the Indian state (Deol 2000:2). Sikhs have no history of antagonism with Hindus (and Sikhism originally derived from Hinduism in the late medieval period); relations with Muslims have been less placid. Sikhs were generally loyal in a political sense toward India until 1984, despite their strong sense of constituting a separate community with its own history, language, religion, and territory. This duality became generally problematic only after the central government attacked the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Sikhs’ holiest shrine, in June 1984 (Tatla 1999:11).
History of the Khalistan Movement
Precolonial and colonial period
Sikhs trace their ancestry to ten gurus. The first was Nanak (1469-1539); the last was Gobind, who founded the Khalsa Panth (Society of the Pure, marked by its dress code and initiation ritual) at the turn of the eighteenth century. The value system of Khalsa is egalitarian, with collective and spiritual authority vested in the holy book, Guru Granth (compiled by another of the ten gurus, Arjan). Sikh identity is based more on history, myths, and Punjab-based memories than on an abstract creed. The religious tradition of the Khalsa Panth, “subsumes social, cultural, political and territorial identities” (Tatla 1999:14). Most Sikhs came from the lower social classes of the Punjabi Jat peasantry. The significant factors in Sikh identity include allegiance to the ten gurus and identification with their teachings, the foundation of congregations and pilgrim centers, the convention of a communal meal, and the Guru Granth. The most visible markers of Sikh identity are the “five Ks,” the external symbols declared by Guru Gobind: unshorn hair, a comb, a steel bracelet, short breeches, and a sword. In addition, the suffix Singh (“Lion”) has been common especially among Sikh men since the eighteenth century and the Golden Temple at Amritsar has been the foremost center of Sikh pilgrimage since the same era. Territory has not been key to Sikh identity until recently, though it first became an issue at the time of independence, when the British showed a willingness to let Hindus and Muslims divide up Punjab and granted statehood along religious lines.
By the late nineteenth century, both Hindus and Sikhs elites had embarked upon competing religious revivals, making communal lines sharper and more antagonistic. The Arya Samaj (Aryan Society) movement developed among urban Hindus in northern India and the Singh Sabha movement (1870-1919) among Sikhs. The former was not overtly political – focusing largely on linking Hindu religious values with modern life – but it spread anti-Sikh propaganda in the late 1880s and later formed the basis for radical Hindu parties like the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Singh Sabha (the most important of a series of similar groups) focused on weeding out remnants of Hinduism from Sikhism. Young, educated Sikhs found themselves disillusioned with the Arya Samaj (which at first had seemed compatible with Sikhism) and wanted to re-evaluate Sikh identity. The movement took up issues such as mass education, reform of social customs, women’s rights, economic development, and theology, including through the establishment of educational institutions and newspapers. Despite differences of opinion about specific issues among Sikh reformers, their main thrust “was about clear demarcation of Sikh communal boundaries and the defence of the Sikh religion from attacks by other religions” (Deol 2000: 73). The question of Sikh identity had become a controversial legal and public issue by 1880s, especially in light of challenges to the Sikh faith by the Arya Samaj. In the meantime, new, vernacular print media (for instance, using the Gumukhi script in Punjabi printing presses) further elaborated group consciousness and ethnic boundaries.
Part of the aim of Sikh reformists was to retain control of religious practices and institutions. The Akali Dal formed in 1914 to take over control of Sikh shrines. Since the 1920s, the Akali Dal has presented itself as sole representative of the Khalsa Panth, arguing that the religious and political interests of Sikhs are inseparable, that one’s identity as Sikh transcends all other identities, and that Sikhs’ loyalty to the central state must be contingent upon the state’s recognition of the community as a collective group with historic “theopolitical status.”
A period of nonviolent noncooperation against colonial authorities by Sikhs peaked with the Jallianwallah Bagh massacre of 13 April 1919, when troops opened fire on a peaceful gathering. The incident prompted a restructuring of the management of the Golden Temple. Tensions between Akali activists seeking control of Sikh shrines and local government resulted in recurring conflicts and culminated in a massacre at the Nankana shrine. These struggles put strains on the generally amicable Anglo-Sikh relationship and helped consolidate the relationship between Akalis and Indian nationalists. Concerned with the escalating controversy over control of Sikh shrines, the colonial government instituted the Sikh Gurudwaras and Shrines Act of 1925, which conceded management and control of all Sikh religious institutions to the community.
The government handed over management of Sikh gurdwaras (temples) and shrines to the Akalicontrolled Shiromani Gurudwara Prabahandak Committee (SGPC), formed in December 1920 by orthodox Sikhs. The SGPC holds regular elections which are almost always won by the Akali Dal. The SGPC controls significant material, institutional, human, and moral resources. Akalis’ ties with the politically-important SGPC has allowed them to help shape Sikh identity through intermediate institutions, historic shrines, schools, and missions, including the promulgation of Sikh heroes, honorifics, holidays, symbols, and so forth rather than Indian “national” ones. The Akali Dal thus emerged as an important political party with the 1925 act (Tatla 1999:30-4; Telford 1992:973-4).
Like the Akali Dal, the SGPC has tried to represent itself as working for all Punjabis rather than just Sikhs (i.e., it has assumed a more political than just religious stance). Shared language, traditions, and culture have resulted in strong bonds between Sikhs and a large number Punjabi Hindus despite communalism. After the 1925 act, however, “The primary political objective of the Akali Dal was to safeguard Sikh religious liberty by maintaining and promoting separately the political existence of the Sikhs and securing greater political leverage for Sikhs” (Deol 2000:82). As a dispersed group and permanent minority in Punjab, and one with strong historical, cultural, and even religious ties with Hindus, the Sikhs did not demand a separate state initially, but focused on questions of representation. Separate electorates for Sikhs were granted in 1921. The Akali Dal also urged Sikhs to participate in the nationalist campaign.
Nationalist fervor was never predominant in Punjab, despite some revolutionary groups, mostly because of preferential British policies and the fact that the consociational Unionist Party of Sikh, Muslim, and Hindu rural leaders formed the local government. This phase was undermined by Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s assertion of the aim to create a separate Muslim state. Sikhs were caught between Muslims’ vision of an Islamic state and the Congress Party’s Hindu-dominated India. Sikhs demanded an Azad Punjab (Free Punjab), not as a separate Sikh state, but as province in which no single community could dominate; the population would be 40 percent each Hindu and Muslim and 20 percent Sikh. The British deemed such a state impractical and Indian leaders rejected the plan. Then, in March 1946, declaring Sikhs a nation, the Akali Dal adopted a resolution calling for a Sikh state to protect Sikh economic, religious, and cultural rights. Akali leaders gave up these demands only upon promises from Congress leaders that Sikhs would have special status in independent India (Tatla 1999: 18-20; Deol 2000: 82-3). Partition and the internal migration it sparked (there had been approximately two million Sikhs on each side of the new border) left the Sikhs concentrated in a more compact geographical area rather than a small, dispersed minority. As such, Sikhs could better protect their language, culture, and religious traditions. Partition ultimately changed the Sikh claim on the Punjab as homeland and holyland from an “imaginative vision into a realistic project” (Tatla 1999:22). The Akali Dal continued to press for a unified Punjabi-speaking state after independence.
Upon independence, India adopted a unitary constitutional structure. The Congress Party government scrapped the colonial system of weighting representation for minorities and reservation of seats, except for scheduled tribes and castes, and ruled out the principle of selfdetermination for regions and nationalities for fear of territorial disintegration. It was the language issue that most endangered Indian unity at the time of independence. The controversy was primarily between Hindu and Urdu, with Gandhi’s suggestion of Hindustani as the national language narrowly defeated in a 1946 vote. To resolve the linguistic issue, all major regional languages were granted status in India’s constitution. However, Hindi, the language of the north Indian Hindu majority, is India’s official language, with English coexisting for official purposes. Moreover, a massive reorganization of states in the 1950s-60s aligned territorial boundaries with linguistic ones. Punjabi, Sindhi, and Urdu were the only three major languages not considered for statehood in this reorganization. This omission spurred the Akali Dal’s first major agitational movement, which began in August 1950.
Sikh nationalism in the postcolonial period
The Sikhs changed from a religious congregation in the sixteenth century, to an ethnic community in the eighteenth century, to a nation in the late twentieth century. Even in the 1960s, the Akalis were fighting for a culturally congruent region; they only extended their claim to statehood in the 1980s. The evolution of the Sikh community and the fact that the demand for a separate Sikh state has only recently come to be articulated is traceable to economic factors (especially the green revolution and the dislocation or alienation of the peasantry that has accompanied the commercialization of agriculture); tensions in Indian federal-state relations with increasing centralization of power and the Congress Party’s manipulation of regional elites to build up its electoral base; changes in social communications (the spread of literacy, development of a vernacular press, and addition of language to the otherwise religious symbols bonding the community); and the religious ideals of Sikh community (particularly the emphasis on being a community of warriors and martyrs) (Deol 2000; Tatla 1999). As Tatla explains, “Sikh ethnic conflict should be viewed as a ‘nationalist project’ thrown up by the modernization of a traditional Sikh society in contact and in conflict with certain imperatives of hegemonic features of Indian state nationalism” (Tatla 1999:13).
The radical changes entailed by the green revolution have been critical to the development of the Khalistan movement. Small farmers have been marginalized, alienated, and dislocated. The government combated shortages in particular areas by preventing the free sale of agricultural products; pricing issues and rising costs for agricultural inputs (including fertilizers, electricity, and river water) have reduced the margins for wheat and rice production, squeezing small farmers’ profits in particular. Official repression has propelled aggrieved peasants into armed struggle on ethno-regional lines. Educated youths, particularly from families of small-scale farmers, find their chances of employment limited by the lack of a significant industrial base in Punjab to take the place of agricultural work as well as by the migration of cheap labor from other provinces. Uneven development has also aggravated environmental disorders. Moreover, wealthier farmers want better terms of trade from the central government. Akalis have identified the central government, dominated by the Hindu bourgeoisie, as the culprit to give a target to these grievances.
The nature of the Indian state and the direction of Indian nationalism are also critical to the evolution of the contemporary Khalistan movement. Part of the conflict represents a constitutional crisis, which intensified upon the election of Indira Gandhi in 1971. Central government and state elites held differing attitudes toward economic development and agriculture, reflected, for instance, in the history of the Land Reform Act and in “conceptions of the overarching governmental and legal structure within which these problems ought to be solved” (Leaf 1985:480). Given prevailing taxation policies, the central government has a bias toward industrialization and commercial growth, or urban development, while state governments are more oriented toward agriculture. Indira Gandhi’s government sought to strengthen the central government vis-à-vis the states’, especially in terms of economic development strategies (while Punjab and most other states preferred decentralization), making these conflicts more intense (Leaf 1985). Conflicts over control of resources have played out notably with regard to river water. With the separation of Punjab and Haryana, Punjab felt it was paying the costs for canals without gaining benefits in return and that Haryana lacked rights to the rivers in question, especially at times of shortfalls in water supply and hydroelectric power generation.
Moreover, issues of religious authority and orthodoxy have arisen with modernization, rising prosperity, urbanization, and the commercialization of rural society, especially since the Akalis have made pragmatic alliances with Hindu political parties. As more orthodox groups came to challenge the Akalis, Congress exploited these divisions – and religion remains the dominant social bond among Sikhs, despite the institutions of the modern Indian nation-state. The central government offered at least token support to the Nirankari sect of Sikhs, who clashed violently in 1978 with Sikhs led by Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, for instance, and an Indian Airlines aircraft was hijacked in 1980 to protest the arrest of Bhindranwale in connection with the vigorously-pursued investigation of the murder of the head of the Nirankali movement. Questions of control over religious institutions have also been involved, as represented in the Sikh demand for an all-India Gurudwara Act rather than leaving control of Sikh shrines in the hands of state-level temple management committees or in the refusal of the central government (which holds a monopoly on broadcast rights) to grant a radio license for the Akalis to broadcast Sikh ceremonies from the Golden Temple. In addition, the Hindu resurgence today equates being Hindu with being Indian. Such a stance is considered exclusionary by non-Hindus, since “it equates assertions of the separateness of their religious traditions with treason” (Mahmood 1996: 244). Rising literacy rates and the availability of oral forms of communication (for instance, cassettes were key in the rise of the charismatic Bhindranwale) have furthered these processes. On the other hand, the movement has been slowed down by the strong institutional linkages between the traditional, bourgeois Sikh leadership and existing political and economic structures, as well as by the organizational weakness of Sikh guerilla groups (Tatla 1999; Deol 2000).
All along, practical and electoral considerations tempered Punjabi Sikhs’ drive for independence, such that no major Sikh leader (even Bhindranwale) demanded outright independence. Combining religious fervor and political realism, he Akali Dal’s usual strategy has been to share power at the provincial level and to promote Punjabi nationalism by offering to form a coalition government with Punjabi Hindus (Tatla 1999:30-34; Kohli 1997:336). As Indira Gandhi and the Congress Party tried harder through the 1970s to divide Sikh voters and consolidate the party’s grip on Punjab state politics, the Akali Dal had to up the ante by demanding greater control over Sikh affairs and edging closer to demanding a sovereign state (Kohli 1997:336).
• 1950s – 1970s
Language became a symbol of group identity for Sikhs and central organizing issue for the Akali Dal. The party argued for the creation of a Punjabi-speaking state, presented as a linguistic issue. Deol claims, “However, the fundamental issue was not so much a linguistic one as a question of the rights and claims of a minority community. .... Thus, the language controversy became a symptom of a deeper quest for recognition and power by a minority community in a multi-ethnic state. … The main driving force of the Punjabi suba [state] movement was that the Sikh leadership saw a separate political status for the Sikhs as being essential for preserving an independent Sikh entity” (Deol 2000: 94, 98). At the time, Sikhs comprised 35 percent and Hindus 61 percent of Punjab’s population, leaving Sikhs worried about their survival as a separate entity and their political leverage. The aggressive campaigns of the Arya Samaj in favor of Hindi and against Punjabi among Hindus in Punjab exacerbated the situation.
In 1952, with India’s first general elections, the Akali Dal issued a memorandum pressing for the establishment of a culturally congruent Punjabi-speaking suba. Since the drive for a Punjabi state was articulated largely through Sikh religious organizations, religious motivations were important. However, the basis of the state was supposed to be linguistic. The States Reorganization Commission (formed in 1953) rejected the memorandum because it did not recognize Punjabi as significantly different from Hindi and because the movement lacked the general support of people in the region. Sikhs were more upset by the former justification – the rejection of a separate status for the language – than of their demand for a state (Deol 2000:95).
The rejection of Akali demands prompted the party to launch the Punjabi Suba Slogan Agitation of 1955. The campaign used political demonstrations and nonviolent tactics. 26,000 Sikhs were arrested in these campaigns (Deol 2000:96). After a series of compromises with the central government in 1960-61, including the merger of the heavily-Sikh PEPSU into Punjab, and a change of party leadership (from Master Tara Singh to Sant Fateh Singh) in 1962, the Akali Dal launched its second campaign for a Punjabi-speaking state. The latter campaign shifted from a demand for a state with a 56 percent Sikh majority to a secular demand for a Punjab based on language and culture, without regard for the population percentage of Sikhs. This secular strategy was to placate the Indian government, which remained suspicious of religious demands after partition. Nonetheless, in 1965, the party adopted a resolution calling Punjab the homeland of Sikhs and India their motherland (Telford 1992:970).
The central government eventually agreed to the reorganization of Punjab in 1966, after the death of Prime Minister Jawarhalal Nehru, who had consistently rejected the Akalis’ demand as communal. The reorganization created a Punjabi suba in reward for Sikhs’ efforts in the Indo- Pakistan War that had broken out the previous year. With the September 1966 Punjab State Reorgnization Bill, for the first time, Sikhs formed the majority of the population of Punjab (54 percent Sikh and 44 percent Hindu). The Hindi-speaking south broke off to form the state of Haryana, and the Hindi-speaking northern region merged with neighboring Himachal Pradesh.
The Akali Dal insisted upon the need for Sikh political unity if the religion were to survive (Deol 2000: 98). Nonetheless, in the 1960s and 1970s, the Akali Dal could not form a government on its own (though it formed coalition governments from 1967 onward) as its electoral base was too narrow. Sikhs were divided among the Akali Dal, Congress, and small communist parties due to caste and other cleavages. So for example, in 1977, the Akali Dal formed a coalition government with the Janata Party. The Akalis had to present themselves as comparatively moderate and secular, since too nationalistic a stance would bring down their government in Punjab, and because they could not too aggressively attack a central government also dominated by the Janata Party (Telford 1992:971-3). Moreover, between 1967 and 1980, as the Congress-led central government “changed decisively from the Nehruvian policy of accommodation to an active manipulation of provincial governments,” three Akali coalition governments were dismissed by the center, even as the Akali Dal sought more concessions for provincial powers (Tatla 1999:22-24). For instance, Emergency Rule was instituted for nineteen months beginning in June 1975 in consequence of legal challenges to Indira Gandhi’s reelection in 1971 – although the imposition was justified as being to halt corruption and cope with economic problems. Some measures under emergency rule were beneficial and helped to combat political corruption but other policies were less benign, such as an attempt at mass sterilization. The vulnerable position of party moderates gave space for more nationalistic Akalis. Tatla explains, “Akali leaders’ changing perception, from religious nationalism to ‘Punjab nationalism’, was as much to do with changes of leadership from urbanite Sikhs as with socioeconomic changes in the Punjab.” This was particularly the case when combined with the incorporation of more Sikhs from the lower classes or economic sectors, which “demanded a more liberal vision than a traditional religious nationalism” (Tatla 1999:24-25).
The Anandpur Sahib Resolution drafted in October 1973 showed the shift among Akalis as the party tried to appease its Sikh constituency and appeal to Sikh nationalists. The resolution outlines the guiding policies and programs of the Akali Dal. The core political demand of the resolution is “to preserve and keep alive the concept of distinct and independent identity of the Panth and to create an environment in which national sentiments and aspirations of the Sikh Panth will find full expression, satisfaction and growth” (quoted in Tatla 1999:27). The document offers seven key objectives to reach this political goal:
• transfer of the federally-administered city of Chandigarh to Punjab rather than leaving it shared with Haryana; • readjustment of the boundaries of Punjab to incorporate certain Sikh-populated, Punjabi-speaking areas contiguous to the state; • provision of a measure of provincial autonomy for all Indian states vis-à-vis the center; • land reform (so as to benefit the weaker in the population), nationalization of key industries, and central government investment in establishing heavy industry in Punjab; • promulgation of an all-India gurudwara act to bring all Sikh shrines and temples under the control of the SGPC; • protection for Sikh minorities outside Punjab; and • non-reduction of the recruitment quota for Sikhs in the armed forces.
Although controversial, the Anandpur Sahib Resolution was endorsed by a significant number of Sikh intelligentsia, servicemen, and politicians. The Akali Dal denied that the resolution envisaged autonomous Sikh state of Khalistan, but just a system under which Sikhs could live without interference in their religious way of life (Deol 2000: 101-2). The Resolution’s demands were actively pursued, however, only as Hindu-Sikh and center-Punjab relations deteriorated in the early 1980s.
• 1980s – 1990s
Faced with declining provincial power under the centralizing government of Indira Gandhi, Akalis mobilized the Sikh peasantry in a major campaign for Punjab’s autonomy in 1980. The initiative centered around a combination of economic, cultural, constitutional, and religious demands. Between August 1980 and September 1981, the Akali Dal held seven peaceful agitations. The party decided in February 1981 to strive for the implementation of the Anandpur Sahib Resolution. The resultant Dharam Yudh Morcha (Righteous Struggle) of 1981-84 presented four key demands: recasting the Indian constitution to increase states’ autonomy, the return of Chandigarh to Punjab, state control over river waters, and an all-India gurudwaras act. “However, its major concern was a radical renegotiation of powers for the centre and the states, and an explicit recognition of India as a multinational state” (Tatla 1999:27). In September 1981, as the SGPC adopted the slogan, “Sikhs are a nation,” the Akalis submitted a list of forty-five demands to the central government. The demands reflected the Anandpur Sahib Resolution’s core objectives along with two new ones: halting the reallocation of river water from Punjab to non-riparian states and a reduction in government control over hydroelectric installations; and recognition of Sikh personal law. These demands were reduced to fifteen as negotiations began in late 1981.
The Akali Dal’s adoption of more narrow demands like the constitutional recognition of Sikhs as separate “nation” and declaration of Amritsar as a “holy city” followed the raising of the Khalistan slogan by non-Akali Sikhs in 1981 and a sudden decline in Sikh-Hindu relations after the murder of Punjabi Hindu press baron Lala Jagat Narain in 1981 (discussed below). The mainstream Akali leadership still preferred negotiation to confrontation, if only to retain the support of key Sikh industrialists, businessmen, professionals, and landowners who could not afford to cut themselves adrift from India through attachment to a regional separatist movement, but was not entirely “moderate” given the more radically separatist preferences of some factions in the party and the persistence of confrontation between the Akali Dal and the Indian state (Major 1987:46-48).
The central government responded to the rising Sikh movement with a campaign of manipulation and repression, justifying their actions in terms of saving India from dissolution. Moreover, Congress wanted to break up the Akali Dal because of its success as an opposition party and alliance with the Janata Party upon Congress’s defeat in 1977, to end Akali domination of the SGPC, to end Akali domination of SGPC, and because the Akali Dal was opposed to the extension of police power (Deol 2000: 103-4). The Congress Party took steps to foment disunity among Sikhs and took punitive and repressive measures against movement leaders, affecting &nda