On Thursday (February 23), hundreds of followers of Amritpal Singh, a radical preacher and pro-Khalistan leader, clashed violently with police outside Ajnala police station near Amritsar, demanding the release of one of their colleagues who had been taken into custody in an alleged kidnapping case. The Khalistan movement is a fight for a separate, sovereign Sikh state in present day Punjab (both India and Pakistan). Over the years, it has survived in various forms, in various places and amongst different populations. The movement was crushed in India following Operation Blue Star (1984) and Operation Black Thunder (1986 and 1988), but it continues to evoke sympathy and support among sections of the Sikh population, especially in the Sikh diaspora in countries such as Canada, the UK, and Australia.
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