New Delhi — In his interview with the B.B.C. Correspondent, India Defense Minister, Mr. Narsimah Rao, ruled out judicial probe into AntiSikh riots in Delhi and other towns of India. “Such an inquiry can lead to serious problems,” he said. He also ruled out dialogue with the Akalis so long they do not explicitly remove alleged separatist clauses from their controversial Anandpur Resolution. “Other demands can be easily sorted out if Anandpur resolution is suitably amended to uphold the principle of the unity of India,’’ he emphasized. He said that the first major task before the government was to rehabilitate Sikh victims of the riots and to persuade those who had migrated to Punjab from other states to return to their homes. Their presence in Punjab would be a constant reminder of the tragic events and can hinder efforts to restore normalcy,”’ he said. As a chairman of the high powered committee to make an indepth study of the Punjab problem, he disclosed that no concrete steps can be taken before the elections to ten state assemblies scheduled March, 1985. Elections in Punjab have been postponed indefinitely.
Narsimah Rao’s stand clearly indicates that the old policy of prevarication is again in operation. He has set out conditions that are not favored by the prevailing climate and are very difficult for the Sikhs to accept. Outrageous violence has continuously been perpetrated against Sikhs struggling for constitutional demands under a calculated conspiracy. Genesis of violence in Punjab can be traced to the ruling party. Sant Bhindranwale had repeatedly asked for judicial probe by a judge of the Supreme Court into each case of violence and had offered to undergo any punishment if indicted by the judge. The government consistently rejected his request. Instead it accelerated the tempo of its chorus, accusing the Sant for violence and through a powerful propaganda machinery projected him as the villain of peace.
After the worst ever organized and_ reportedly ruling party aided violence against the Sikhs, government has shifted from the theme of violence to the supposedly separatist clauses in the Anandpur resolution. Anandpur resolution visualizes autonomy that is inherent in Indian constitution and falls far short of the autonomy demanded by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr. T. Rama Rao. Yet he continues to be a nationalist and Sikhs separatist. Who is, Mr. Narsimah Rao, trying to deceive? Perhaps himself and his leader, Rajiv Gandhi. Sikhs have been shown their place, and they have come to recognize the reality. Sikhs cannot afford to remain suspects forever in the land of their birth, they can never be happy in a situation where Golden Temple would remain exposed to army attack. Solution to Sikh problem will have to take all this into consideration otherwise the conflict will keep on bedeviling the green fields of once smiling and prosperous Punjab.
Article extracted from this publication >> February 8, 1985