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How ISI is using troubled Sikh-Nirankari relations to foment trouble in Punjab

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Amritsar, Nov 21: The police are probing the possible motive behind the Amritsar attack. It is clear now that the attack was primarily aimed at reviving terrorism in Punjab. However the ISI has adopted various methods to create unrest within Punjab. In recent times, one has witnessed the killing of Hindu leaders in Punjab, aimed at creating communal tensions in the state.

The latest attack too could have been carried out to drive a wedge between the Nirankari and Sikhs in Punjab who have had a troubled past. While the police are investigating this angle, the spokesperson of the Dal Khalsa, Kanwar Pal Singh Bittu said that the probe should not be perceived from the prism of the Sikh-Nirankari clash of 1978.

How ISI is using troubled Sikh-Nirankari relations to foment trouble in Punjab

On April 13, a violent incident occurred between the Sant Nirankari Mission and traditional Sikhs at Amritsar, Punjab, India. Sixteen people-thirteen traditional Sikhs and three Nirankari followers-were killed in the ensuing violence.

Amritsar attack: Several Sikh activists under scanner being questioned

Clashes occurred when some Akhand Kirtani Jatha and Damdami Taksal members led by Fauja Singh protested against and tried to stop a convention of Sant Nirankari Mission followers. Fauja attempted to behead the Nirankari chief but was killed by his bodyguard. This incident is considered to be a starting point in the events leading to Operation Blue Star and the 1980s insurgency in Punjab, according to a Wikipedia entry.

The Nirankari movement was started within Sikhism in the 19th century. Their belief in a living guru as opposed to the scriptural Guru Granth Sahib resulted in their differences with the traditional Sikhs.

The attack on the Nirankari Mission is being seen as a strategy to create tension between the members of the sect and the Sikhs.

Officials suspect that the ISI and its men could have targeted the religious congregation on Sunday, with an intention of causing communal tension. The ISI had in recent times also staged the killing of Hindu leaders in Punjab to create communal tensions and divide the society. The NIA is currently probing that case.

Officials explain that the ISI may have attempted to take advantage of the fact that the mainstream Sikhs always looked at the Nirankari Mission as a heretic cult.

The Nirankaris are the followers of Baba Buta Singh, who founded the Sant Nirankari mission, which is an independent spiritual mission in 1929. The Nirankari Mission is looked upon by many mainstream Sikhs as a heretic cult and is not affiliated with any religion. It is aimed at uniting the people with God.

It may be recalled that in 1980, the then chief of the sect, Gurbachan Singh was assassinated by a Sikh extremist at the Foundation's headquarters in Delhi. He was succeeded by his son, Hardev Singh. He died last year in a car crash in Toronoto.

Punjab: Police on alert after intel input on JeM terrorists in state, moving towards Delhi

Following his death, Singh's wife Savinder Kaur became the head and also the first woman to head the Nirankari Mission. The mission has been involved in a series of violent clashes with the radical Sikhs. The Akal Takht had released a decree directing the Khalsa Panth to cut off all worldly relations with those Sikhs who were part of the Nirankari organisation.

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