VANCOUVER: B.C: S. Gian Singh Sandhu, President WSO (International) has in a communication to the Members of Parliament, MLA’s, U‘S. Senators, Congressmen and other International Human Rights Organisations, exhorted them to help end the atrocities being committed against Sikhs by the Indian rulers. The full text of his letter is as follows:

“On August 15, 1947, forty years ago, a new period in India’s history began: Nearly 200 years of British domination in India political leaders congratulated themselves on a job well done but they were not the real heroes.”

“Comprising only 2 percent of India’s population, the Sikhs sacrificed heavily for this cause of independence. Over 90 percent of those who lost their lives to gain self-rule from the British were Sikhs, Over 80 percent of all Persons arrested for peaceful demonstrations were also Sikhs. When the news came that their struggle had at last proven fruitful, Sikhs were overjoyed. They trusted that they might finally be able to enjoy “the glow of freedom” and special status promised to them in letters and speeches by Mr. Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi. Today, Sikhs all over the world are in grief and are facing untold suffering. The leaders who had promised dignity, justice and freedom to the courageous Sikhs have left a pile of broken promises and oppression which has increased in severity through the passage of time.

“Sikhs everywhere have tried various methods to inform the word of the oppression and religious persecution of minorities occurring in India. We have attempted peaceful demonstrations, press conferences, delegations to the U.N. and other relevant organizations. ‘Still, the desecration of our holiest places of worship, gang rapes, routine jailing without bail or even being charged, arrests without warrants and other blatant violations of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and other international covenants continue every day in India. These acts have been directly linked to the Government bodies like Amnesty International.

“In spite of all this, the response from the democratic countries has been pathetic. Trade agreements appear to buy out dignity, justice and human rights. Except for a very few members of parliament, paign of disinformation conducted by the Government of India controlled media and diplomats.

“Since May 1984, the free presses, International Red Cross, Amnesty International, human rights groups and other such humanitarian organizations have been banned by the Government of India from Punjab. There continues to be a ban on an in depth and independent investigation of the human rights abuses and oppression suffered by the Sikhs, In a recent statement (Ottawa Citizen, August 10, 1988), Amnesty International points out that:

“Indian police have killed scores of Sikh activists in staged encounters.”

“Dozens of prisoners, dying in police custody across the country after being tortured.”

“Official failure to clamp down on lawlessness by India’s national and state security forces.”

“Actions taken against them have transgressed international human rights standards,”

“No response from Prime Minister Gandhi though it was brought to his attention in June 1988.”

“The extensive variance in the cultural and religious diversity of the different regions of India makes it difficult for an outsider to comprehend the full complexity of the problem. The Prime Minister of India and his Cabinet cannot even speak to the majority of the peoples of India in their own language. The people of India continue to suffer religious and social violence from the dominant rulers although the government has always presented India as a secular democracy.””

“Common in this “secular democracy” is major conflicts such as those between the dominant government rulers and Bengalis in Assam, Moslems in Bombay, Telegus in Andhra Pradesh, Untouchables in Gujarat and Sikhs in Punjab. The oppression of the Sikhs is not less in many ways than the oppression of blacks in South Africa. Yet, western politicians remain mute and largely compliant as Sikhs are persecuted, tortured and indiscriminately killed by government officials, military and police. It is this tyranny which is largely responsible for the escalating violence in Punjab.

“The independence of India can only be meaningfully celebrated when the ordinary people, the minorities, the poor and the oppressed are independent. Less than that, indeed what exists now, makes the celebration of independence in India a mockery. We urge political leaders at least not to give further credence to this tyranny which masquerades as independence or a secular democracy,

“We hope that your Sikh constituents and other minorities of India can recognize with pride your future contributions to this struggle for genuine independence,

Article extracted from this publication >> August 19, 1988