By Ganga Singh Dhillon
The Americans were still wiping their tears at the senseless killing of 69year old invalid Leon Klinghoffer by PLO members. The United States Navy was still looking for Klinghoffer’s body in the depths of the Mediterranean.
And folks, meanwhile back at the Ranch (the United Nations), the alleged “largest democracy” of the world—India was urging for an invitation to Yasser Arafat to address the General Assembly.
Mayor Edward I. Koch cancelled his proposed visit to India as a protest. Instead of apologizing to the mayor or showing any understanding for the sentiments of American people, India retaliated with its traditional arrogance. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi refused to come to a reception hosted by the mayor in his honor on October 23.
Why did India sponsor a resolution to invite Arafat? Arafat’s presence at United Nations would have embarrassed the American Government. Reagan could not go and speak from a podium which had been used by PLO Chief Arafat. He would have to cancel. American Public opinion would then turn against United Nations and lead to withdrawal from this important international forum.
All this will benefit Soviet Union. Intense behind the scenes negotiations and almost begging by American diplomats prevented this from happening. Not that India showed any mercy but because other cosponsors of the resolution refused to back Indian bid to embarrass Reagan and slap the American people in the face.
Why are we talking about it? The reason is that we, the Sikhs, are also a victim of Indian repression and the double standards that some in this great country—the United States apply towards India.
India has posted six army divisions in our home land Punjab. It has mobilized 600,000 ex-servicemen. It has 150,000 paramilitary forces there. For the last 18 months, foreign visitors and media has not been allowed in Punjab. American Congress has not been able to send fact finding missions because India will not give visas.
Indians have very good reasons to hide what is happening in Punjab. It is a mass slaughter of its most potent religious minority the Sikhs.
Sikhs are the biggest producers of food in India and made that starving country self-sufficient in food. Sikhs have served in the frontlines of Indian army and have given their lives for the country. At the time of partition of India in 1947, Sikhs have an opportunity to join Pakistan or become independent. But Sikhs joined India Why are they fighting India now? They are not crazy. They have been wronged for 35 years and persecuted for even a longer period.
India is not a democratic country. It is a close ally of Soviet Union which has provided it $12 billion worth of armament at throw away prices. It has a treaty of friendship and cooperation with Soviets. Cuba, Libya, Iraq, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Syria have similar treaties with Soviets. India has very close ties with all these anti-western countries.
Shouldn’t a country be known by the company it keeps? It is about time.
And folks, this isn’t the first time it has happened.
In his eagerness to please Indians, Ronald Reagan took an unprecedented step which was against his own moral principles. He pardoned a convicted terrorist on June 11, 1985 (Executive Grant of Clemency, June 11, 1985) the day Indian Prime Minister Rajiy Gandhi was to arrive on a state visit to United States.
The beneficiary was Adil Shahryar a close friend of Gandhi. He was sentenced in May 1982 by a Miami court for 35 years. His parole was not due until 1991. He was found guilty of attempt to defraud American Express for $243,750; to place an explosive device on a ship; making an explosive device; and setting an incendiary bomb (India Abroad, July 5, 1785).
Sanat should have been grateful to Reagan and the American people? Well, Indian leaders have discovered that arrogance gets better results from the West. So, instead of thanking the Americans, Gandhi slapped the Americans in the face and degraded American system of justice. The respected New Yorkbased ethnic publication India Abroad (July 5) said: “In an unusual action by a dignitary visiting another country, Gandhi told reporters in Washington, D.C., when asked about Shahryar, “We do believe that he has been wrongly imprisoned.” The statement was distastefully against all diplomatic protocols.
Gandhi’s close friend was also accused of stealing an automobile by a former Indian Diplomat Dharam Yashdev (India Abroad, July 5, 1985). But Indian police refused to pursue the report because no one wanted to lose his job by going after the friend of the Indian Prime Minister. (Sorry foIks, we have to quote ethnic publications. U.S. media is so protective of India and its oppressive leaders that such major news is not printed here. If Reagan had pardoned the close friend of a “disctator” in some remote banana republic in Asia or Africa, you would have read about it in the New York Times or the Washington Post.)