LONDON; Thatcher Government for the first time admitted that Sikh problems “may have a legitimate basis which must be solved through the ballot-box.” But said that it would not tolerate abuse of the liberties granted to them as British citizens for promoting a “violent and anti-democratic threat to India.”
In a statement on Friday in the House of Commons on the activities of Sikh militants operating from the British soil the Government has asked all Sikhs in Britain not to support an organization whose main purpose is to offer help and support to the militants in India.
The statement made by the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Mr. William Waldergrave in response to a discussion raised by Mr. Terry Dicks on the Sikh problem in India, admitted that “the militant number perhaps a few hundred at most, but their organizations are active in the Sikh community whose main purpose is to offer help and support to the militants in India.”
‘Those organizations seem to be able to draw on the moral and financial support of many Sikhs in Britain who may not share that objective, Mr. Waldergrave said.
During the half an hour discussion which took place on Friday last, Mr. Waldergrave appealed to the House “against the background of tragedy and violence, it behaves us all not to do anything to encourage the spilling ‘over of those bitter nesses in Britain. On the contrary we should argue for moderation and for a democratic means of solving the problems which may have a legitimate basis but which must be solved through the ballot box if this House is to remain true to its tradition. Nothing that we say or do today should give the least encouragement or quarter to those who follow the route of violence” he said.
We continue actively to look for ways of working still more closely together. That co-operation is something to which the “Indian Government understandably attach great importance, and it has assumed a central place in the political relations between the two countries.”
Mr. Waldergrave refused to accept Mr. Terry Dicks’ contention that the Indian Government has done nothing to investigate the Amnesty International claims of killings in fake encounters in Amritsar in the month of August last year.
Article extracted from this publication >> December 2, 1988