OTTAWA, Ontario, Can: Four years ago today, nearly 20,000 Sikh men, women and children were slain in a wholesale massacre by the Government of India at the Golden Temple. That cultural and religious genocide has continued and, even today, innocent Sikhs, including women and children, are being imprisoned, tortured and killed. The voices of the world’s leaders who denounce human rights violations in Afghanistan and South Africa are completely mute as Indian police and military squads hunt down Sikhs in Punjab. We ask you today to pause in remembrance of our grief and anguish which does not stop.

The Golden Temple of the Sikhs is like the Vatican, Bethlehem, and the Wall of Atonement to Sikhs. It was hallowed by the preaching of our Teachers and is the spiritual’ homeland of Sikhs from all over the world. It is still being invaded and shelled by Indian troops. Parts of it have been reduced to rubble. Our archives and library were deliberately reduced to ashes along with historical artifacts and hand written volumes of sacred Sikh scriptures. An irreplaceable treasure, not simply of Sikh culture, but of the world’s heritage, has been irretrievably lost. On this day, we remember that senseless tragedy as well.

We hope that the ideals of Justice and Truth, which are the foundations of all religions, will come to our aid during these long days of persecution of the Sikh people; that those from other countries who have suffered under government oppression will soon speak out against these daily violations of human rights. We know that there is a well-orchestrated campaign to malign our good name, to cast suspicion upon us and to curb our freedom even here in Canada. That offensive, carried out by a foreign government on our soil, has been largely successful.

We want to thank that small group of courageous Canadians who, this year, have protested these injustices and demanded truthful answers and documented evidence for charges made against us. We thank those Members of Parliament, the press and thousands of other Canadians who have insisted that Sikhs should have a full and fair hearing. We thank the House of Commons Standing Committee on Multiculturalism for their integrity in pursuing the truth in the face of difficulties. We thank God for delivering us to the country where we can lawfully protest against persecution of our people in Punjab. On this anniversary of the June 5-7, 1984, attack on the Sikh people, we ask you to pause, sharing with us that grief, anguish, despair and hope that binds us in common humanity.

Article extracted from this publication >> June 17, 1988