Having given up their guns around two decades ago, the political bodies of former Sikh militants, the Dal Khalsa and Shiromani Akali Dal (Panch Pardani), have now been merged into a single entity, the name of which has not been disclosed so far.
The two parties have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), with the main aim to achieve a separate Sikh home land (popularly known as Khalistan), but have vowed not to participate in elections. They are, however, undecided on the SGPC elections.
“Underlining the growing unrest among Sikh youth because of the incompetent and incapable religio-political leadership and degradation in Sikh politics, both groups have decided in principle to close ranks to provide new platform for their fellow brethren,” reads a joint statement issued by Harcharanjit Singh Dhami, president of the Dal Khalsa, and Kulbeer Singh Barapind, president of the Panch Pardani.
With this, their unsuccessful experiment with electoral politics seems to have come to an end. Most of the leaders in both parties were involved with Sikh militant organisations in the aftermath of Operation Blue Star, only to join electoral politics in the late 90s. The Dal Khalsa was founded in 1978 but was banned in 1982 for militant activities. It was revived in the late 90s by former militant Kanwar Pal Singh. It had contested SGPC elections in 2004 and the assembly elections in 2007.
The Panch Pardhani was formed in 2007 by militants who broke away from SAD (Amritsar). Its president Kulbeer Singh was arrested for alleged involvement in terror activities soon after he was elected as an SGPC member in 2010.