Punjab elections: Will the CIA report on Badal affect the SAD's prospects?
The Shiromani Akali Dal which is facing an uphill battle in the Punjab assembly elections has another problem to contend with. The Congress has been quoting a CIA report which states that as Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal sided with the Sikh extremists against the state government in the 1980s.
Documents available on CREST, the CIA's records archive, state that Badal sided with Sikh insurgents against the state government. The report based on a research paper submitted by the CIA is titled, 'India's most important Sikhs' filed under 'India and the Sikh Challenge.
The report states that Badal worked to advance his personal fortunes by heading his own Akali Dal dissident party and siding with Sikh extremists against the state government. 'Twice chief minister of Punjab, he continues to try to position himself as a future candidate for that post,' the report adds.
The CIA report also talks about how it thought the then prime minister Indira Gandhi justified her decision to send the army inside the Golden Temple in 1984. Operation Blue Star, which took place between June 1 and 6 in 1984, was ordered by her in order to establish control over the Golden Temple, Sikhism's holiest shrine in Amritsar, and flush out militant religious leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his armed followers.
The CIA report also states that Rajiv Gandhi had said that he would renew efforts to address moderate Sikh demands after the 1987 elections. He might also choose to release Sikh detainees and offer agricultural subsidies to supplement the accord provisions, the report also stated.