New Delhi — The National Sikh Forum has demanded an inquiry into the riots in Delhi and other cities following the assassination of Indira Gandhi to find out why the administration broke down for 72 hours and who were the instigators.

This is absolutely necessary for identifying and dealing with the guilty with a view to instilling confidence in the 3.2 million Sikhs who reside outside Punjab, the forum has said in an open letter to the Prime Minister, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi.

In case the Government felt that holding of an in query would reopen the wounds it must take the findings of the Sikh commission as the basis for initiating action against the guilty. Three citizens committees had sub mitted detailed findings in this regard the forum said.

Narrating the physical and emotional trauma undergone by the Sikhs in the past detainees arrested in connection with the ‘Blue Star’’ operation. Since a large majority of them were held on fabricated cases, a screening committee should be set up to affect the release expeditiously, the forum demanded.

If the innocent detenus were freed it would be easier for the screening panel to go into other cases which would not be many. The forum also condemned the setting up of special courts in Rajas than and elsewhere and placing the onus of dis proving the charges on the accused.

Stating that the Sikh personnel in the armed forces had left their bar racks in an emotionally surcharged atmosphere and under religious provocation, the forum urged the Government to adopt Q compassionate attitude while taking action against them.

Referring to the Government moves for dis banding of two battalions of the Sikh Regiment the forum said that it would further vitiate the already disturbed situations. In case the Govern ment went ahead with it, the personnel of the two battalions could be in ducted into other battal ions in the regiment.

The forum said that the only authentic Anandpur Sahib resolution was the one passed at the open session of the 18th All India Akali Conference held at Ludhiana on October 28 and 29 1978. According to the forum, this resolution is nothing but a demand for a federal constitution as promised by Mr. Jasahar Lal Nehru.

The forum wanted the hydel power disputes to be referred to the Supreme Court for adjudication. One of the solutions for the territorial problem was to continue the demarcation that had remained in practice. Recommendations of any new panel would lead to fur there controversies, the forum felt.

It wanted Chandigarh to be transferred to Pun jab without linking it with Abohar and Fazilka. Other territorial disputes could be left to a commission. The forum was op posed to the consideration of population of any particular community for hnguistic demarcation and setting up of a corridor for the purpose.

The forum warned the Government that any talks with the Sikh leaders or a unilateral declaration by the Government on the issues without a probe into the riots or accepting the Sikh panel report would not be helpful. It was also necessary to free the Akali Sikh youths and leaders before such talks.

The open letter was signed by Lt. Gen. J.S. Arora (retired) and Mr. Amarinder Singh.

Article extracted from this publication >> March 15, 1985