New Delhi, India — Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi has said he suspects that Sikhs abroad were behind the assassination of moderate Sikh leader Harchand Singh Longowal who signed a Punjab peace pact.
“It is not just the people who are immediately responsible for the assassination but those who are really behind him,” he told Pressa Latina, the Cuban news agency, in an interview published Sunday in an Indian newspaper. “And here we have suspicions about their linkages with Sikhs in other countries,” he said.
Gandhi also said he was not convinced that governments of countries where Sikhs operate are talking “hard enough action’ to curb their separatist and terrorist activities.
The Indian government often says that foreign based Sikhs with foreign links have been responsible for trouble in Punjab and elsewhere. India blames Pakistan for allegedly harboring and training Sikhs and says they often slip across the border from India’s rival. Pakistan denies the charges.
Security, meanwhile, has been tightened in the capital and in Punjab after the assassination last Tuesday of Longowal, president of the Akali Dal political party, by at least four gunmen.
Extra security and commando guards have been provided to at least 40 prominent people in the capital, including Agriculture Minister Buta Singh, a Sikh journalist Khushwant Singh, an outspoken critic of Sikhs and H. K. L. Bhagat, Gandhi’s minister for parliamentary affairs. Bhagat was named by civil liberties groups as an instigator of anti-Sikh carnage after Indira Gandhi’s assassination.
Article extracted from this publication >> August 30, 1985