John R. Walker’s article: “Sikhs Natural Target for Probe,” page A7, The Sun., June 25, is a reeking calumny of the entire Sikh people and their modern leadership.
Parts of this satire are also astonishingly out of joint; for instance, the suggested connection between the Khalistan protagonist British based Dr. Jagjit Singh Chauhan and “some U.S. and Canadian Sikh travel agents latched on to this cause to help Sikhs into Canada where they might claim political refugee status, with such success that immigration rules had to be changed in 1981 to halt the flow of radical Sikhs.” One can only express shock and revulsion at such reckless misrepresentations smearing the Sikh people and provoking hatred against them.
Further, Mr. Walker goes on to slander, by dubbing “unsaintly” and “sly,” a widely revered Sikh divine and leader, Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. He was martyred, from the point of traditions in Sikhism, along with his companions including Major General Shubeg Singh, divine Amrik Singh and thousands of other defenders and visitors of the supreme pontifical seat, the Akal Takhat of the Golden Temple, Amritsar. On June 6, 1984, a government sponsored terrorist attack “the operation Blue Star of the Indian army assault” destroyed this historic Sikh shrine, its library and records and its defenders, and thereby burried the minorities’ human rights under the mounds of its debris. “World peace,’ did anybody say?
Mr. Walker’s article momentarily concedes that the question of Sikh independence was an issue at the very time of the partition of India in 1947. He exults that ‘the wise Sikh leadership of that time’ had abandoned it. His analysis seems to be instigated by the Indian government because historical events since that time have confirmed that the political issue has remained strong and alive in even greater dimensions.
In 1966, for instance, after a tough Sikh agitation lasting 20 years, India finally enacted the Punjab Reorganization Act, demarcating the new, albeit truncated, Punjabi speaking Punjab state in which Sikhs now hold a majority. The creation of other Hindu populated linguistic states in India had no problem. But with Sikhs, they had to fight for 20 years before India conceded the same principle in their case. This was done; but even in this Sikhs were short changed. The Punjabi speaking areas were cunningly cut out of the new Punjab state and were joined to the neighboring Hindu majority states.
The point is that the ongoing struggle clearly illustrates that the primary issue of Sikh self-determination should have been addressed in 1947. But it was not, and the gullibility of the untrained Sikh representatives in 1947 has been widely blamed. However, the Sikh masses that then were and now are going all out for the realization of their natural and legitimate goal were never at fault.
The delay of 38 years fortunately has_ better equipped the Sikh people. They now have a world leadership and a world exposure of their national goal as a distinct and important people, which they are by any test; culturally, racially, historically and theoretically. Sikhs are before the world community today far better than they ever were in the past.
By foot dragging and complacency or chicanery India can only hope to aggravate the problem. It is not going to go away.
In the meanwhile India, by its anti-Sikh policies, is threatening the peace and security of other nations which cannot avoid the side effects of the conflict on this small planet.
In fact, India is exacting a heavy price from the free World by leaving unsettled the Sikh India political war of attrition. By pointing the accusing finger at other free countries where Sikh is citizens, India is unfairly embarrassing those free nations. Sikhs are all over the world.
India is putting an increasing strain on the internal peace and security of other countries in this situation and she must be held responsible for abusing the courtesies of the International community.
For how long will this go on? Still, one thing is sure; the likes of John R. Walker will have contributed nothing to the resolution of a grave international problem and the human tensions that flow from it.
Surindar Singh Jabal Vice-president
World Sikh Organization of Canada
Article extracted from this publication >> July 5, 1985