The following two letters one to The New York Times and the other to India West are being reproduced at the express request of the writers.
Dear Mr. Editor, Your editorial “Defeat and Victory in Punjab” (p.A30 Oct: 1, 1985) is misleading.
It is neither the defeat nor the victory of the parties mentioned. It is posthumous defeat of MRS. GANDHI and her policies. By pursuing parochial policies, she imposed the 1982 agitation on the people of Punjab. By her intransigence, she refused to resolve it. It is well known that every time the solution was reached with the help of mediators or as a result of direct negotiations, she would back out hoping that the Akali Dal would run out of steam and the agitation would fail. What wishful thinking she had!
In August 1982 the agitation for revision of Centre State relationship within the framework of Indian union and other genuine demands was spearheaded by the Sikhs. The terms “militants” and were coined by Mrs. Gandhi to the Sikhs, to create a division the two communities for electoral to perpetuate her dynasty as proved purposes, between discredit “terrorists” subsequently. By her manipulative policies, misuse of taxpayers’ funds and Government’s power of patronage, she attempted to create a rift amongst the Sikhs and in this process midwifed the so-called “extremists”. During this course of action she dismissed her own congress party’s State Government, took over the administration and unleashed a repressive reign of terror which included “fake” police encounters. To protect themselves, the Sikhs started arming themselves in self-defense and from hereinafter they became, in Mrs. Gandhi’s language, “terrorists”. She targeted these people for liquidation. To save themselves they sought refuge wherever they could, including the Golden Temple Complex wherein the present Prime Minister’s Grandfather Mr. Nehru and the present President of Indian Republic Mr. Zail Singh, had also sought refuge from the British during the freedom movement.
Your editorial’s fourth paragraph states that “Sikh voters weary violence came out in force and gave the Akali Dal its first electoral victory.”
It is inaccurate to state “Sikh voters” because India at the present time does not have separate electorate (even though I wish they did). To say Akali Dal was rolled to victory by Sikh voters is a mere conjecture. After election reports from Punjab reveal that bundles and bundles of unused ballots from the State were returned to the election officials in Delhi. A large number of similar unused ballots found their way into the Akali Dal ballot boxes to prove the obvious results. The real truth is that the elections have been rigged, which is further proved by the fact that Akali Dal polled 64% of the seats for the State legislature whereas they could get only 54% of the seats for the National Parliament.
Amarjit S. Buttar
Sikh Association of America
Member, World Sikh
Article extracted from this publication >> October 25, 1985