NEW YORK, NY: Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi gave some important indications about his government’s policy on the Sikhs and on Punjab.

At a press conference for the ethnic media during his recent visit to the United Nations, a television report, Gita Bajaj of Eye on Asia, asked Gandhi why there had been no report or action on the genocide of the Sikhs following the assassination of Mrs. Indira Gandhi in November, 1984.

Gandhi in his reply said, “There was a report; it was placed on the table of the House in the Parliament; action has been taken on that report; there have been cases filed”.

Reporters got irritated at this attitude of the Prime Minister. A reported asked, “Why has there been no conviction?” Another also immediately stated that there had been no convictions.

A rather petulant and defensive Gandhi said, “The court has to convict: the court has dismissed the cases”. Another reporter asked “But why is Justice taking so long? Another added, “Do you really believe that no one was guilty?”

Gandhi in a change of tactics said, “Why don’t you read the report”. The reporter replied that he had read the report. “Have you read the action that we have taken? Have you gone through the cases?” Gandhi asked belligerently. “We have gone through the cases and none of usis satisfied about it”, the reporter retorted.

Saying that the Supreme Court was looking into “certain aspects of the report the Prime Minister quite cynically said “Justice in India is slow; no one can deny that”.

Addressing a group of Indians in New York, the Prime Minister said, “The other problem that does not seem to go away is that of Punjab, although there are perceptions that things are the same and nothing is happening, in Punjab I don’t think it is true”.

Gandhi said the impression that ‘ the government was taking “sort of ad hoc action” was not true. “We are taking an action in a proper sequence in a measured manner and ina planned manner”, On the whole the things had gone _ well in Punjab, he said.

Article extracted from this publication >> June 24, 1988