An attack in Punjab has left the nation shocked. However, what we need to bear in mind is that the writing was on the wall and after several failed attempts the terrorists managed to get the better of the security forces today.
The militants from Punjab with the assistance of Kashmir based militants, funded by the ISI, have made various attempts in the past as well. In the year 2011, there was a huge haul at Ambala which signaled an attempt to revive militancy in Punjab.
It is still unclear as to who carried out the attack today at Gurdaspur, but these are delicate times and if the issue is not handled well, then it could take Punjab back to what it used to be 2 decades back.
The Ambala haul:
In 2011, there was a major operation that was being planned by the Babbar Khalsa Militants. An explosive laden car was intercepted at Ambala and the investigations conducted clearly pointed towards the nexus with the ISI.
When the security forces cracked down on the Punjab militants, they took shelter in Pakistan. For the ISI, it was a win-win situation who took under these militants with open arms. They were aware that launching these militants in Punjab after a long span of time would create the required ruckus in Punjab.
The ISI has always told the Punjab militants about the similarities between them. The ISI in particular had directed the Lashkar-e-Tayeba to oversee the safety and well being of militants from Punjab.
Justifying the ideology:
There were a host of public speeches that were made in Pakistan after the ISI decided to shelter militants from Punjab. They spoke about the similarities between the Sikhs and the Muslims and even quoted several historic links between the two.
They said that it was only natural for the Muslims and the Sikh militants to come together and wage a battle.
The ISI created the Sikh Muslim Itehad Federation. This platform was meant to create a common ground to portray India as the common enemy. Through this platform various programmes were carried out which ranged from recruitment to ideology mentoring.
It was during one of these meetings that the group drew out a plan to carry out a series of attacks at New Delhi, Amritsar and also Ludhiana.
Recruitments through the various forums:
Recruitments were also carried out in the rural belts of Punjab. Uneducated youth were roped in to join the outfit. Some were sent to Pakistan to train while others were told to stay back and provide logistic support.
In addition to this the ISI also formed the Pakistan Sikh Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee which was headed by Lieutenant General Javed of the ISI.
The primary role of this committee was to invite Sikh youth from Punjab and then rope them in for their operations. Today, according to a dossier, there are around 180 youth in Pakistan who are under its banner.
The World Muslim Sikh Federation which comprised members of the Dal Khalsa, BKI, ISI and the Lashkar-e-Tayiba was also set up for the same purpose.
This forum was political in nature and was aimed at spreading the ideology on a world platform so that they could get out sympathisers for the cause.
The ISI also went about setting up the International Sikh Muslim Friendship Organisation which was headquartered in Germany. It also had offices in Italy and the United Kingdom.