New Delhi: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Saturday called for immediate action to control insurgency in Punjab. ‘Attempts are being made through external linkages to ‘revive insurgency’ in Punjab and if early action is not taken, it will be too late,” Rawat claimed, while addressing a gathering of senior Army officers, defence experts and former senior officials of government and police at a seminar.

He asserted insurgency can only be dealt by adopting an approach in which all agencies, the government, civil administration, military and police work in an ‘integrated manner’ but not by military force.

“Punjab has been peaceful but because of these external linkages, attempts again are being made to revive insurgency in the state. We have to be very careful. Let us not think that Punjab (situation) is over. We cannot close our eyes to what is happening in Punjab. And, if we do not take early action now, it will be too late,” PTI quoted Rawat as saying.

Punjab saw one of the worst phases of insurgencies in the 1980s during the pro-Khalistan movement which was eventually quelled by the government.

Former Uttar Pradesh DGP Prakash Singh in a panel discussion also highlighted the issue and said “attempts were being made to revive insurgency” in Punjab. He referred to a pro-Khalistan rally organised recently in the UK aiming for a ‘Referendum 2020’.

Earlier on August 12, hundreds of people had turned out at Trafalgar Square in London  in support of a pro-Khalistan rally as well as to counter the event with an Independence Day celebrations. Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) had said its rally was intended to raise awareness for a non-binding referendum in 2020, calling for Punjab to be granted independence.

(With agency inputs)