HISAR: The Sikh forum chief, Lt. Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora (retired) said here on Sunday that the removal of the Congress I government at the Centre was a prerequisite for the restoration of normalcy in Punjab. He was speaking on “national unity and the Punjab problem” at a seminar organized by the Pragat Shel Vichar Manch at the Veterinary College auditorium on the Haryana Agricultural University campus here.

Gen. Aurora said the present government at the Centre had bred nepotism, prejudice and fear among the masses in Punjab. People had lost faith in the Government which was the root cause of the trouble in Punjab. Therefore the removal of the Rajiv Gandhi government was essential for solving the Punjab issue.

The national unity had been weakened during the last 15 years, he observed, and blamed electoral politics for it. Electorate according to him was motivated by their selfish interests rather than the national goals. Communalism and sectarianism could be traced to the politics of elections. Politics meant service, but it had become a career. He said the country needs “karmyogis” who could work for the people at large.

Earlier Gen. Aurora told newsmen that the Janata Government in Karnataka had no hand in the Bidar violence. Its failure lay only in its failure to gauge the seriousness of the situation. However, the police role at the local level was partisan. He blamed the Bidar superintendent of police for the suffering of the Sikh students but praised the attitude of the Karnataka Chief Minister, Mr. S. R. Bommai the director general of police and the chief secretary.

In reply to a question, Gen. Aurora said the Bidar riots were certainly preplanned as was evident from looting of the Sikhs properties. They were a repetition of the 1984 riots at a small scale. The hero of the Bangladesh liberation was expressing his concern over the country. He said a policeman thought that he had a right to be rude with anyone. One was considered guilty the moment there was a case against him. The police had become an instrument of terror and even according to Mr. J.F. Rebeiro, it was corrupt, he said.

The well-known Hindi writer Dr. Mahip Singh, speaking at the seminar gave a systematic account of the beginning of the Punjab problem, which according to him, had its origin in the formation of linguistic states. He said the Hindus and Sikhs in Punjab got alienated from each other in the 50’s when Hindus there gave out Hindi as their mother tongue.

He blamed the Akali Dal and’ the Jan Sangh for the linguistic divide and said only the Communists tried to synthesize the feelings of the two communities. The communists maintained that the Punjab problem was linguistic and not communal. However, despite what was happening in Punjab. the Hindus had Sikhs and not severed their links.

He said the alienation of the two communities from each other had led to a sense of insecurity among the people. The center could undo it, but it failed to discharge its duty in this respect. Several states in India experienced separatist movements having their roots in a sense of insecurity. He gave the examples of Nagaland, Assam Mizoram and Tamil Nadu and observed that separatist movements there fizzled out because the Centre was able to win the confidence of the people.

The Vice Chancellor of Haryana Agriculture University who presided over the seminar, underlined the importance of strong character in running the country. He said the present ills of the country could be ascribed to this weakness.

Article extracted from this publication >> October 14, 1988