FATHGARH SAHIB, Punjab, India: The Unified Akali Dal conference here on December 27 took a dramatic tum when Mr. Gurnam Singh, a member of the All India Sikh Students Federation, ascended the stage and in a 45 minute address to more than one and a half lakh people assembled there blasted the U.A.D. leaders sitting on the dais. He described them as a bunch of traitors who were anxious to compromise the honor of the Panth for the sake of their “Kursi” (Chairs) lust. He emphasized that the Indian government, with its systematic policy of repression and discrimination, had left no option for the Sikhs but to have their own sovereign country called Khalistan. Mr. Gurnam Singh was deputed to perform this role by the ALS.S.F. President, Bhai Gurjit Singh.

When he said those who favored Khalistan should raise hands, almost every person in the rally raised his hands except the U.A.D. leaders sitting on the dais. However, no U.A.D, leader dared to stop or contradict him. The credibility of the Akali leaders has touched the lowest point and people seem to be sick of their “Kursi” game. Every Akali leader is preoccupied with only one objectivity that is to form government in Punjab. Their talk of Panthic Unity does not stretch beyond forming government in Punjab. Their talk of Panthic Unity is confirmed to unity among the M.L.As. In fact, Congress (I) in Punjab appears to be more keen ‘on bringing the warring Akali leaders together so that a Barnala type puppet government of Akalis could be formed.

Barnala government was not dismissed; it may be recalled, because of deterioration in Jaw and order situation. It was dismissed to appease the Hindu voters in Haryana a strategy that failed to materialize, Once again the Central government is planning to use the Akalis against the fundamental interests and rights of the Sikhs in particular and of the state in general,

On the other hand the commitment and sacrifices of the youth are creating a massive support for them. Congress (I) rallies and Ribeiro shows to isolate the youth have failed to cut any ice. People, generally, are coming round to the view that the youth is only reacting to the atmosphere of violence generated by fake encounters and vicious harassment of innocent people by the security forces.

AIS.S.F. leaders have even challenged the Ray Ribeiro combine to hold referendum in the State on the specific issue of Khalistan. “Let the people of the state decide what they want”, say the Federation leaders.

Article extracted from this publication >> January 8, 1988