London: ‘Khalsa Voice,’’ described as a joint venture by four Indian businessmen two of whom are believed to be Sikhs, on Friday served a notice on Radio Luxembourg claiming 1 million pound damages for “‘pecuniary and exemplary damages for breach of contract.”

It is stated that ‘““Radio Khalsa”’ has signed a contract with Radio Luxembourg according to which the latter had agreed to “sell”? 15 minutes of its time on two Sundays on payment of a fee of 350 million pounds. The arrangement was that initially 15 minutes would be allotted to ‘‘Radio Khalsa’? On two Sundays where after, if all went well and depending upon the circumstances a further contract for 50 weeks would be signed.

Thus, the contract would have been for 2 weeks. But after the first broadcast on Sunday, the next one was cancelled.

Mr. Rodney Collis, news director for the station, would only say that the decision to cancel the programme followed complaints from the Indian High Commission “among other people.”

The guardian quoted Mr. Pyare Shivpuri, producer of the programmes, as saying that Delhi got in touch with Paris, using leverage of the recent “spy’’ scandal involving French diplomats’ in

Delhi and France got in touch with the duchy of Luxembourg which controls the station’s broadcasting license.

Mr. Shivpuri told ENS that the programme was to be purely nonpolitical based on the religious and cultural heritage of Sikhs and Punjabis. It is true, he said that a message from Jagjit Singh Chauhan was broadcast and he was called “president of Khalistan.” But according to British law, he argued, anyone can describe himself as anyone. It is a different matter if the person is charged for impersonation.

In any case, Mr. Shivpuri said, the programme was aimed at making Punjabis feel at home in foreign countries through the radio station which would have broadcast Punjabi songs and prayers from the Guru Granth Sahib. It was a purely cultural and commercial venture he said, and several wealthy Sikhs had agreed to advertise their respective concerns on air on payment of fee.

The cost of each broadcast was estimated at 1,000 million pounds350 million pounds to Radio Luxembourg and 650 million pounds towards the cost of producing the programme, hiring of studio and so on.

Radio Khalsa partners say they are determined to pursue the case, Radio Luxembourg is studying the notice for damages.


Article extracted from this publication >> March 22, 1985