Dear Mr. Frankel:
Your editorial ‘“Emerging in India: More Than Peace” (7/26/85), expresses a genuine wish for an amicable settlement of the crisis in Punjab. However, it persists in some misconceptions.
While you have mentioned that the movement for a genuine autonomy in the Sikh Homeland started in a nonviolent “civil disobedience” style, your reference to “the seething Sikh violence” does injustice to the reality.
As pointed out by Mr. Sathananthan, an eminent Indian (Hindu) editor of Transatlantic India Times (London): “extremists activities have emerged mainly after the police atrocities, especially at the Asiad.” (December 1983).
Another eminent Indian (Hindu) journalist, Mr. Kuldip Nayar, observed: “when the agitation began
it was led by reasonable men seeking a reasonable settlement of reasonable demands. And at least three times there were prospects of agreements (India Abroad, New York, June 22, 1984).
You have ignored the fact that this peaceful movement became the victim of “state terrorism.” Thousands of the young Sikhs have been murdered in fake encounters and tortured to death. Through a semi controlled press and fully controlled TV network, the government of India blamed every incident on the Sikhs.
You might well remember that the ruling regime labeled the Sikh demands for a genuine autonomy as “separatist,” ‘‘seditious,” and “antinational.” Most of these demands are now part of the new accord. Does this mean that the ruling regime has been telling lies to the people and “fooled’? the western media? Does this mean that after killing thousands of innocent Sikhs during the bloody assault on the Golden Temple Complex in June 1984, the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in October 1984, and the genocide of the Sikhs in November 1984, those so called “seditious” demands have _become “reasonable?” Who has been kidding whom? Who has been playing with the lives of innocent people? If this is the way to run a country, how would you categorize a moral and political bankruptcy?
Article extracted from this publication >> August 9, 1985