New York: More than 300 Sikhs staged an impressive but peaceful demonstration before the United Nations Headquarters on October 25. The demonstration was organized to protest against the violation of human rights and civil liberties by the Indian government. It was arranged to synchronize with Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi’s visit to participate in the 40th anniversary of the United Nations. Sikh demonstrators were joined by volunteers of the Azad Kashmir Liberation Front. The demonstrators carried placards and enlarged pictures of the brutal massacre of innocent Sikhs in November, 1984. Sikhs raised slogans demanding investigation into the holocaust by a commission of International jurists, punishment of the guilty and creation of a separate Sikh homeland called Khalistan. Azad Kashmir Liberation Front volunteers also carried placards proclaiming, ‘INDIA, GET OUT FROM KASHMIR,’ ‘KASHMIR FOR KASHMIRS; ‘FOREIGN TROOPS, OUT FROM KASHMIR’, ‘INDIA PRACTICES APARTHIED AT HOME.
and they raised slogans like ‘WHAT WE WANT?SELFDETERMINATION FOR KASHMIR,’ Talking to World Sikh News, Chaudhary Sultan Mohammad, an Azad Kashmir legislator from Mirpur, said that they want complete Independence for Kashmir. ‘Neither India nor Pakistan has any right to occupy Kashmir’, he said. He also extended full support to the Sikh struggle for independence and described the fate of minorities in India as miserable.
The demonstration was preceded by Ardas and singing of the Sikh National anthem. After marching in rectangles for over an hour, the demonstrators were addressed by a number of distinguished speakers. Gen. Bhullar, Secretary General of WSO, said that the world was not aware of the reality of what it believes to be a democratic form of government in India. ‘It was not real democracy but dynastic democracy’. He described elections in Punjab as a farce. ‘How can elections be fair where there are more soldiers and policemen than voters,’ he asked. ‘Elections under the shadow of bayonets are no elections,’ he asserted. He also criticized the Akali Ministry of Punjab for agreeing to the construction of SYL Canal. He wants the Punjab assembly to adopt the Anandpur Sahib Resolution in the House to make it a legitimate demand of the entire state. He also criticized the conversion of Mosques into Hindu temples by the power drunk rulers. He expressed the hope that the ‘day is not far when Sikhs will have their own independent state.
Dr. Gurcharan Singh of New York said that Sikh struggle was against injustice and tyranny. “Those who rob human rights and destroy civil liberties are the real enemies of India,’ he said. “They are the real disintegrators’; he remarked and blamed the Congress for the murder of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal. He demanded the institution of an International Commission of eminent jurists to investigate into Sikh massacre in India.
- Didar Singh Bains, President WSO (International) appealed for forging unity. ‘Our goal is to establish Khalistan and we must support and help the Sikh struggle in India’, he said. He called for justice and human rights for Sikhs in India and condemned the actions of Rajiv Gandhi. He described him as the puppet of the Russian government.
Ch. Sultan Mohammad, Baratlaw, a legislator from Azad Kashmir protested against Indian obduracy with regard to Kashmir’s right to self-determination. He also condemned the Indian Army attack on the Golden Temple and called it a Punjab tragedy. “Kashmir’s have suffered because of the passivity of Pakistan and aggressiveness of India’, he said. “India and Pakistan may sign hundred and one agreements, but we will not give up our struggle,’ he declared. He also said that ultimately they would discard the yoke of slavery howsoever strong India may be. ‘Sikhs and Kashmir’s have joined hands to fight Indian imperialist dictatorship of the majority community that was bent upon Crushing the minorities,’ he said. He also criticized the U.N. for betraying its own resolution calling for plebiscite in Kashmir. He concluded his speech by raising slogans of Sikh Kashmir Itehad Zindabad (Long live Sikh Kashmiri Unity).
Dr. Kuldip Kaur of New York called upon the members of the United Nations not to ‘look at us through the jaundiced eyes of India’. She said that the existence of Sikhs was threatened. She also pointed out that the pictures of the holocaust tell the real story.
Dr. Gurinder Singh Grewal of Tracy, California, pointing to the UN. building opposite said, “We deserve a representative in that institution whereas we are standing here on the road.’ He also reminded that the task of establishment a free country could not be accomplished by any single hand. ‘It required a team word’, he said.
Speaking on behalf of the WSO (Canada) S. Gurdev Singh said, “We must bring before the world whatever is happening in India. We must let the world know the truth.”
- Ganga Singh, President WSOUSA, declared that ‘Sikhs living in foreign countries have not forgotten their brothers back home.’ He also said that those who had suffered at the hands of the police and army could not be satisfied by the Barnala ministry. ‘A father who had lost his son will not be satisfied with a thousand Chandigarh’s. He will be satisfied only with a Sovereign Sikh State,’ he argued. ‘We have entered into a revolution and we shall not retreat even if we have to fight for a thousand years. We will never give up our struggle,’ he said. He called upon the Sikhs to strengthen WSO. ‘It is your organization and to fight tomorrow’s battles it is needed more today than in July ‘84’, he said. He also appealed to all the Sikhs to subscribe to the World Sikh News as ‘no nation can survive without an effective spokesman.”
- Baldev Singh of New York thanked all the Sikhs who had come to participate from far off places.
The effectiveness of the demonstration was considerably heightened by the enlarged colored pictures of atrocities against the Sikhs. The credit for it goes to Dr. Manohar Singh Grewal of Boston, Secretary WSO. He had also brought a special bus from Boston with a contingent of over 50 persons. He conducted the proceedings of the demonstration in an admirable and disciplined way.
Article extracted from this publication >> November 1, 1985