WHAT COULD SOLVE THE PUNJAB PROBLEM?
Much more worrying for India, immediately’s Punjab has lots of the options that spawned the Sikh militancy, writes C Christine Honest, a professor at Georgetown College’s safety research program, with one exception: It “is roiled in pervasive opioid habit”.
Punjab’s financial system has additionally not stored up with Indian progress, and younger persons are struggling to search out well-paying jobs. An absence of position fashions and viable leaders – each political and religious – have contributed to the issues.
And that’s led to an undercurrent of anger that manifests itself in mass demonstrations – most just lately within the farmers protests of 2020 and 2021, which noticed the Sikh diaspora mobilising behind the motion, and, as a Overseas Coverage piece factors out, “spawned a brand new era of militant pro-Khalistan leaders”.
What might clear up the Punjab downside for India?
Step one could be some clear management from Modi’s authorities that seeks to chill tensions and cease assaults on marginalised teams. Sikhs see how the minority Muslim group is targeted and discriminated against and concern they could possibly be subsequent.
State and federal governments ought to enhance situations for younger individuals – a troublesome process, given the poor financial fundamentals of Punjab, the place in 2021, 54 per cent of the state’s tax income was spent on repaying its debt. Funding in training, notably of younger women and girls, and growing well being care infrastructure to handle the rising drug disaster would even be good first steps.
None of that is straightforward. However failure to handle these fundamental points will price current and future governments dearly.
The anger amongst younger Sikhs inside and exterior the nation will continue to grow, and so will the resentment between communities. India has seen these days earlier than. It may well’t afford to take action once more.