Dear Editor:


Impersonation by four Indian security men as gun toting Sikh terrorists, in Thursday’s (Jan. 15) mock air hijacking of a domestic Indian Airline’s flight 491, pretty much explains India’s purposeful Strategy to promote the mental linkage of Sikhs with terrorism.

Strikingly like an exercise in war games which normally seeks to add cold realism to these exercises by splitting military forces into “us” and “them”, the enemy this drill to test India’s security response to a real air piracy, too, seeks to portray the good guys (Indians) and the bad guys (Sikhs). But what makes matters worse is that whereas everyone knows that the war games are make-believe, this rehearsal on the other hand, seen in the context of the turmoil in Punjab, seems to disinherit the Sikhs by making them appear as a public enemy.

Knowing well that any tragedy in Punjab or any mishap tied in with the Sikhs will get translated into a communal riot in the streets of India, the Indian government appears either absurdly naive or it is willing and prepared to risk a communal backlash.

Impersonations are nothing new. For example, Sikhs have been complaining, all along, that some of the killings are the work of others done in their name. After all anyone can masquerade as a Sikh by simply growing a beard and wearing a turban. Suspicions that a hidden hand of Cain one or the other ultra-rightist Hindu group or Pakistani agents in disguise are unsettling Punjab are dismissed as “Oh, yeah! Says who?

There is no letup in its campaign by India to portray the Sikhs. as actinia or anti-Hindu, turning more and more of the Sikhs to realize that India, for them, is becoming increasingly inhospitable. The pity of it all is that the Sikhs are being made to look like strangers in their own home.


B.S. Mahil Quebec, Canada

Article extracted from this publication >>  February 6, 1987