The declaration of emergency solely in the State of Punjab more than confirms that Sikhs are slaves in India. By amending article 359, which provides that the most basic right to life and liberty guaranteed by Article 21 cannot be suspended in any kind of emergency, the Sikhs have been told in unmistakable terms that they would forever be treated as second rate citizens and could be put in prison or even shot dead without following the procedure prescribed by law. Their position is worse than that of the blacks in South Africa as the killing of a Sikh is not even considered a criminal act in India. They have been downgraded to the level of ancient Greek slaves who were required to prostrate and hold their breath at the sight of their masters and could be killed at their whim.

The 59th amendment in the Constitution is a clear violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) which while recognizing the necessity for the suspension of certain fundamental rights in times of national emergency, expressly provides that the right to life cannot be suspended. In fact, all major international instruments contain provisions which make certain fundamental rights non-suspend able. The logic underlying the doctrine of non-suspend able rights is the direct extension of the democratic principle that recognizes the importance and distinct identity of an individual and upholds the sanctity of human life. The inalienable right to life and liberty, therefore, cannot be abrogated in any kind of emergency.

India professes to be a democratic country and is also a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and yet feels no compunction in employing fascist practices and Nazi techniques to persecute the religious minorities. The amendment is designed to confer Constitutional legitimacy on the widely practiced State terrorism. It has left no other course open for the Sikhs but to seek safety in a sovereign state of their own. Through this amendment, the government of India has itself rendered all other questions irrelevant.

For Sikhs, it is no longer a question of un-kept promises or plunders of the Punjab resources or even of the Anandpur Sahib Resolution. They are now confronted with the more fundamental question of their survival. Every Sikh in India faces the grim prospect of falling to the bullet of a trigger-happy policeman or a paramilitary trooper. As flies to the wanton boys, would now be Sikhs to the security forces, they would kill them for their sport and for this “patriotic” act receive more prestigious gallantry awards than were conferred on those who massacred their own countrymen and destroyed the most sacred Sikh shrine.

— The Akal Takht — in 1984.

In the rabidly communal climate of India, Sikhs have no destiny but to slavishly carry the Cross and serve as sacrificial lambs to appease the bloodlust of Ribeiro’s killer gangs. The glorification of Ribeiro, the “Mafia King”, as “super cop” is a calculated affront to the Sikh pride. To preserve their religious identity, the dire need of the moment is to shake off the shackles of slavery. They must seek out a home where trigger-happy “State hounds” would not shoot down their lusty youth just to test new guns, where the sanctity of their religious places would not be violated to register electoral gains, where their womenfolk would not be molested, where their homes and business establishments would not be plundered and burnt by the government hired hooligans.

The emergency has not been imposed on the Punjab to check violence as there already are in operation the most draconian laws. The step has been taken to perpetuate Hindu dominance over a Sikh majority state. The lives of fifteen million people have been put in jeopardy and it is a concern that freedom loving countries can ill afford to ignore. The Punjab problem is no longer an internal affair the free world must respond to their predicament and help them in liberating their occupied homeland if it is interested in arresting the growing fascist propensities of the Indian rulers.

Article extracted from this publication >> April 1, 1988