AMRITSAR, India: Representatives of several Sikh organizations including Punjab Autonomy Front, Unified Akali Dal, S.G.P.C., Punjab Finance Minister and Speaker of the Punjab Assembly met a visiting Canadian Delegation to apprise them of the situation in Punjab.

The Punjab Autonomy Front led by Justice Ajit Singh Bains and representatives of U.A.D. presented a detailed memorandum containing the back ground of the situation. The Canadian delegation made anxious enquiries on different aspects of the problem and took detailed notes on their talks. They did not reveal their own mind at these meeting, the delegation was keen on

Visiting Amritsar but government of India first refused permission and the M.P.s had to return disappointed from Chandigarh to Delhi. Later an Air Force plane suddenly took them to Amritsar when they were ready to leave for Agra.

The government gave security considerations as reason for the denial to grant permission. But actually Delhi government did not want the Canadian delegation to be exposed to the excessive dose of Sikh view of the problem as many in Amritsar were getting ready to receive the Canadian delegation: Most Sikh representatives stated that in political set up India was far from being democratic and tolerant of minorities and that the recent extradition treaty signed by the Indian and Canadian governments would be misused by the Indian authorities to penalize the Sikhs with whom Center government may have political differences. M.P.s assured the Sikhs at the meeting that under the Canadian system individuals could not be framed in false cases. Reacting to violence in Punjab, the Canadian M.P.s wanted to know the reasons why innocent people were being killed, The M.P.s were assured by the Sikhs that most of the crime was exaggeratedly reported by the government controlled media and the innocent killings were minimal which the representatives of Sikhs deplored and said that such things were not in consonance with in Sikh ideology and added that certain people reacting to the excesses committed on them or members of their families. State terrorism they said in short is with primarily at the root of individual violence in Punjab.

The problem could not be solved by grant of liberal autonomy in the State and not otherwise, they added: The government of India on the other hand was taking away the existing rights of the people of Punjab granted under the present constitution which was deplorable.

Article extracted from this publication >>  April 3, 1987