As an American Sikh and as one involved in the struggle for the restoration of basic human rights of the Sikh community in India, I am somewhat disappointed at the readiness of U.S. media to accept whatever labels are handed over to them by the Indian propaganda machinery. The words “terrorists” or “extremists” either precede or follow the word “Sikh” as if there were no third category of the Sikhs.

The Sikh community rendered great sacrifices during India’s struggle for independence. And after independence brought about the ‘green revolution’ to make India self-sufficient in food.

Why would such a loyal community turn against Government of their own country? No one ever said that the Solidarity Trade Union or the Polish people were basically terrorists and that is why they were opposed to their government.

Why can’t we pause for a moment and consider the possibility that the Sikhs are revolting because they have been wronged and betrayed by the Indian Government and the Hindu community?

Just before the Indian army’s invasion of our most sacred shrine, the Golden Temple, the Indian Government said there were only a “handful” of terrorists who were using the Temple (gurdwara) as a base. They completely destroyed the shrine and killed about 10,000 men, women and children. And when a people unite against an oppressor, history doesn’t label them as ‘terrorists’ or ‘extremists’. It is called a revolution. This is what is happening now in East Punjab.

Are Sikhs the only people opposing India’s Hindu regime? A quick perusal of the Indian history will afford a negative answer. The people of Kashmir were the first to revolt and even now there is a United Nations resolution on their right to self-determination which India has refused to honor. The Indian Government is pursuing a policy of genocide to crush the Sikhs and the Muslims economically so that Hindu supremacy can be established once for all.

Nobody can speak freely in India. And the Government of India took this policy to extremity when they demanded that the National Press Club, Washington, must not allow me to express my views when the Indian Prime Minister was visiting the U.S.

The Reagan administration is eager to improve relations with India. As an American Sikh, I advocate peace, harmony and goodwill with all nations and political entities. Since independence India has not condemned the Soviet actions from Hungary to Afghanistan. It has not supported U.S. congress to proceed cautiously. The U.S. must demand the restoration of human rights to the Indian minorities as it has done so in respect of many other countries. In the meantime, the Sikh nation will continue its struggle to achieve its inalienable right to self-determination.

Will the Sikhs leave India? It is too late to ask this question. India has already left the Sikhs!

Article extracted from this publication >>  August 2, 1985