By Our Staff Correspondent

BERKELEY, Ca.: March 4, Addressing a gathering of students and some local residents at the Berkeley campus of University of California, Indian Ambassador, Mr. P.K. Kaul, assured the Sikh citizens of the U.S. that obstacles in the issuing of visa to enable them to visit their relatives in Punjab will be removed. Mr. Kaul’s speech was very aptly summed up in a comment by an Indian who was overheard saying that “the Ambassador was successful in concealing the truth”, while ‘replying to questions on the Punjab situation.

The function was arranged by the Center for South and Southeast Asia Studies of the University.

The Center had earlier arranged a very successful conference on Sikh Studies and the Ambassador had evidently come to negate the positive image of Sikhs that had clearly emerged during the two day conference. The audience, mostly students, who had enjoyed scholarly papers on Sikh history and religion, were plainly disappointed by Mr. Kaul’s evasive and superficial address.

Mr. Kaul, in his brief speech, discussed India’s economic, scientific and trade cooperation with the U.S. He made only a passing reference to Punjab problem while talking about the three accords that Rajiv Gandhi had signed with Punjab, Assam and Mizoram.

During the question/ answer session he was generally evasive in his replies to the questions mostly raised by the Sikhs who had gone there to draw his attention to the problems faced by the Sikhs in the Indian Consulates. Some Sikhs including Mrs. Gurbux Kaur Kahlon, Dr. Sulakhan Singh Dhillon and Mr. Balbir Singh Ragi asked very searching questions relating to the issue of visa to U.S.A. citizens of Sikh origin, implementation of Punjab Accord, so called Mishra Commission report on Delhi riots and other matters concerning Sikhs. The Ambassador, however, remained noncommittal and did not go beyond offering vague assurances.

Article extracted from this publication >>  March 13, 1987