NEW DELHI: The second Delhi dialogue on the Punjab question convened by the Punjab group has called for an all-party roundtable conference at the earliest. It has urged the political parties to take the initiative in forming multilevel grievance redressal committees in Punjab.

The dialogue was chaired by Air Marshal Arjun Singh (retd) and Mr. LK Gujral and was attended by over 40 academics, professionals and public figures as well as representatives of the Congress, Akali Dal (Longowal), Akali Dal (Badal), the Communist Party of India, Lok Dal (B), the BJP and the Janata Party. Representatives of the SGPC and of the Bharatiya Kisan Union were also present.

A press statement said the situation in Punjab had been one of drift while the bloodletting continues with attendant bitterness, cynicism and injury to the national wellbeing. “This statement is dangerous and must be broken soon.”

The consensus at the dialogue ‘was that the overwhelming majority of the people of Punjab, including Sikhs in all parts of the country are not for Khalistan and are firmly opposed to the mindless violence and state repression.

Nor are they communally divided. Only a tiny minority has been trying to exploit these issues. However a sense of alienation and emotional hurt survives among large sections of the people on account of the government’s failure to hold anybody accountable for the 1984 riots in Delhi.

President’s rule has not ensured peace or assisted settlement in Punjab. Golden Temple and other gurdwaras must be handed back to their lawful custodians and fresh steps should be taken to implement the Longowal Rajiv accord in letter anmd spirit.

The Punjab problem is not a Sikh issue. It is a national issue that involves concerns and affects every Indian and the common national good” the press statement said.

Article extracted from this publication >> September 16, 1988