The murder of a popular Punjabi singer, Sidhu Moose Wala, was likely intended to send a message to the network of “soft” Khalistan backers in Punjab. In order to avoid precisely the fate that he was subjected to, the singer on occasion may have adopted a less than censorious tone towards efforts at rekindling the separatist flames lit in the1980s from controllers across the border. Handlers of the Khalistan project within GHQ Rawalpindi may have wanted the singer to consent to some action that Moose Wala declined to carry out. With few exceptions, the people of the state have remained patriotic to their country, India. They refused to join in the efforts of those seeking to send Punjab into what Afghanistan became during the 1980s. This mayhem was again through the same agency, the relevant sections of GHQ Rawalpindi. From 1947, the Pakistan army has relied on irregular warfare and terrorism for its offensive toolkit, and these were foiled in Punjab because of the police, the army, in which recruits from the Punjab have always had a prominent role, and the people of Punjab. This Sikh community was from which the whole of the Punjab Police bodyguard of DGP Gill was recruited, unlike in the case of some of his predecessors, who relied almost entirely on those of other communities to protect them. Moose Wala would have declined to be an active part of what was a plan to send the state back into the cauldron of violence. His killing could have been a warning to others that they would need to blindly obey whatever orders GHQ Rawalpindi relayed through its Canadian, UK and US cutouts or they would end their lives in a burst of gunfire.
In another state that GHQ Rawalpindi is focusing on, Kashmir, the Kashmiri Pandits are known for their peaceful nature. The time may have come to consider whether some need to be authorised to have guns in their houses for protection. Given that Pandits are highly unlikely to resort to such weapons unless in self-defence, there is a case for ensuring that self-protection through adequate means plays a role in keeping Kashmiri Pandits in affected parts of Kashmir safe. This can happen only once it becomes clear to terror groups that this community may be peaceful, but is not defenceless, especially the young in their midst, of both sexes. Women can be counted upon to be as determined as men (if not more) in defending their families from attack by cowards who strike in the belief that their intended victims are unarmed.
Who was the trusted individual who persuaded Moose Wala to go to a rendezvous in a vehicle other than the bullet proof car he usually travelled in, that too with diminished security? Such fifth columnists need to be identified and neutralised. Some time ago, a senior officer of the Indian Army was gunned down while travelling with his wife. Had there been the slightest hint that there could be trouble waiting, he would not have taken the risk he did of bringing along his spouse. Who was the person who reassured the general about his and her safety, or the individual who tipped off extremists about the route he would be taking? Making the enemy pay through actions such as the Balakot strike is needed, but so too is the fixing of responsibility for those who earlier had allowed a cohort of uniformed personnel to travel for long distances in an ordinary bus without the needed level of security. Of course, given the opacity of government, it may be that such elements have been identified and action taken against them. If so, the public needs to know, so as to feel reassured. For there should never be insecurity about security in the population of the country. Confidence in the ability to provide a secure environment is why Prime Minister Narendra Modi is preferred to others. In Punjab, the police are under the control of the state government. Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann in Punjab needs to keep the state from once again entering the disastrous years of violence caused by groups in different countries that fall within the operational control of GHQ Rawalpindi. Should the AAP state government fail the test of provinding security in Punjab, the impact of such a performance will be felt not just in the Punjab but even in Delhi, another state where the AAP swept the board clean of its opponents. In ensuring security, both the state as well as the central government need to work closely together, as ought to be the norm in all matters of concern to the public.