WASHINGTON: D.C: The Council of Khalistan in a press statement welcomed the bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Dan Burton (R. In.) August 2, (HR 343) urging Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi of India, and all responsible leaders of the Sikh community, “to renew their efforts to achieve a political solution” (to the Punjab crisis) “that will permit the settlement of accumulated grievances, the restoration of law and order, and the return of home rule in the Punjab, while guaranteeing religious freedom and respect for the human rights of all the people of India.”

The cosponsors of the bipartisan bill include: Reps. Dan Burton, Tony Coelho, and Robert Lagomarsino. John Porter. Vic Fazio,

Walter Lipinski, Norman Shumway, Helen Bentley, Nicholas Mavroules, Robert Dornan, Christopher Shays, Wally Herger, Robert Badham, Richard Lehman and Elizabeth Patterson.

Rep. Vic Fazio (D-Ca.) issued a statement in the House, June 30, in which he called attention to “the continuing Government sponsored violence in Punjab,” and urged his colleagues to consider “the extreme methods now being employed in violation of the basic fundamental rights of the Sikh minority in India.” ‘

Last February, Rep. Bernard Dwyer (DN.J), also urged the Indian government to renounce violence and find a democratic solution in Punjab. “We have heard for a long time that the separatists are extremists. Perhaps it is time to test that theory with a test of the popular will,” said Dwyer.

Rep. Robert Lagomarsino, (R-Ca.) said on March 29, “Its extraordinary terrorism laws give the Indian government powers formally reserved for only the most repressive of police states.”

Dr. Gurmit Singh Aulakh, President of the Council of Khalistan also appealed to the U.N. Secretary General, Javier Perez de Cuellar, July 8, to raise the issue of the Sikhs at the United Nations and urged a U.N. supervised referendum on the subject of self-determination for the Punjab.

The bill introduced this week uses the same language as an amendment introduced in the House by Rep. Dan Burton in December 1987, which passed the House unanimously.

The introduction of this bill represents a breakthrough for the Sikh nation since it draws attention, once again, to the continuing gross violations of human rights perpetrated by the Indian government against the Sikhs ‘of Punjab, and calls for the “return of home rule in the Punjab.”

The Council of Khalistan hopes that the Indian government will live up to the urgings contained in it by the U.S. Congress, and regard the passage of the bill as an important step towards the restoration of the human rights and freedoms of the Sikh nation.

It also expresses its deep gratitude to all supporters of the bill and notes that about forty five U.S. Congressmen and Senators have spoken out to date in defense of the Sikhs in Punjab.

LUDHIANA: Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi is likely to visit Punjab next month according to Punjab Governor S. S. Ray. Gandhi is likely to lay foundation of 4 paper mill at Gobindwal district Amritsar and will also dedicate the third stage of Roper Thermal Plant to the farmers of Punjab. Mr. Ray said that the exact date of P.M’s visit has not yet been finalized.

Article extracted from this publication >> August 19, 1988