Many of your concerned readers must be wondering why most of the Sikhs are unsatisfied with the recent RajivLongowal Accord. In my judgment, the reasons are as follows:
1) This accord touches only 5 out of 45 demands in the Magna Carta of Sikhs, i.e. the Anand Pur Resolution.
2) Even the covering of those 5 demands is practically on the same conditions as Indira Gandhi had offered Sikhs before attack on Golden Temple and killing of thousands of innocent men, women and children.
For example, she was willing to give Chandigarh to Panjab on the condition that Panjab gives equivalent area to Haryana. The present accord does the same. Similarly, the Sikhs wanted to refer the canal water issue to the Supreme Court so that they could have full justice on the entire issue, Indira Gandhi was willing to refer the matter to a Tribunal with limited powers only. The present accord refers the matter to a Tribunal only and its scope is even more limited than what Indira Gandhi offered.
3) The present accord in a way sanctifies the double standards of justice being applied to the Sikhs on one hand and the rest of the country on the other hand. The Articles 6:1 and 6.2 of the settlement state that “existing special courts will try only cases relating to the following types of offenses (A) waging war (B) hijacking. All other cases will be transferred to ordinary courts.”
First of all, let me state what these special courts are. I venture to say that the powers given to these special courts are more drastic and inhuman than perhaps powers given even to the courts in South Africa. Anybody to be tried by these special courts is tried in complete secrecy without disclosing to anybody the name of the trial judge, the place of trial and the name of the witnesses. In other words, the accused is practically denied all the facilities for his defense. On top of that, against the provision of all civilized laws, the burden of proof is so the accused to prove his innocence rather than on the prosecutor to prove the guilt. In a nutshell, under the powers of these special terrorist courts, a person could be tried and awarded death sentence without even his relatives knowing.
The term waging of war could cover even those persons who were charged for speaking or writing anything against the atrocities of Govt. of India.
Even all these oppressive and antidemocratic laws perhaps could be understood if these were being applied equally to everybody.
In 1978 when Panday brothers hijacked a plane in protest for the arrest of Indira Gandhi, no action was taken against them, rather when Indira Gandhi came back to power these people were made members of legislative assemblies. But the Sikhs who hijacked a plane (without any physical injury to anybody) in protest of sacrilege of their holiest shrine and cold blooded murder of hundreds of innocent worshippers, are to be tried under these special terrorist courts.
In November 1984, after the assassination of Indira Gandhi, thousands of innocent men, women and children were killed and gang raped in broad daylight and right in the capital of India. Inquiries by independent citizens and eminent Supreme Court judges clearly identified by name many politicians, policemen and Congress (I) workers who incited organized and participated in these mass murders, but the Govt. of India has not so far arrested even a single person out of them in spite of such irrefutable evidence.
In contrast to that when in May 1985, only 82 people were killed as a series of bomb blasts, thousands of innocent Sikhs were arrested on mere suspicions and vague clues. Many of these Sikhs are still rotting in jails and will be facing trials in the so called special (actually terrorist) courts in spite of RajivLongowal Accord.
So I will like to ask your readers whether any Accord or settlement can succeed in satisfying them which does not touch more than 5 of their original 45 demands and keeps their brothers in jail who have either committed no crime at all or merely expressed their right to freedom of speech or press but on the other hand let the murderers of their brothers and rapists of their sisters roam freely on the streets even one year after committing these heinous crimes.
Your sincerely, Daljit Singh Jawa
Article extracted from this publication >> October 11, 1985