Congressman Stephen J. Solarz of New York, who is also the chairman of the house subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, visited the Golden Temple in Amritsar in January. He was the leader of the first foreign delegation to visit the state of Punjab in which the entry of all foreigners is prohibited. The congressman is also a well-known friend of India, who is often to be seen at India day parades in New York.

It would only be after a careful consideration that the Indian authorities would let someone enter the state to which they did not allow members of the Amnesty International as well as other fact finding delegations of policy makers of various countries, including one lead by Congressman Norman: D. Shumway..

Solarz was received in Amritsar by J.F. Ribeiro, who as the police Chief was responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent Sikh youths. He had them killed in staged police encounters and ran a government sponsored mafia to kill innocent people and blame the Sikh freedom fighters for those crimes.

Solarz says that he had not gone “as a one man enquiry” to study human rights violations in the Punjab. Yet he was given, by the representatives of Akali Dal in Amritsar, well documented reports by retired judges which enumerated the gross violation of human rights and the preventive detention “black laws” enacted especially for the Sikhs and not the rest of India.

The Akali representatives also told Solarz that they wanted the repeal of those black laws,, a grant of general amnesty for all the political prisoners held in and out of Punjab, withdrawal of all cases, and punishment of those guilty of November 1984 massacre of the Sikhs.

Very reasonable and basic demands which would have been satisfied by any legitimate government years ago. But we should recognize that all these situations arouse out of the inhuman assault on a religious place. The Harimandir Sahib by Mrs. Indira Gandhi. The Congressman also examined the bullet marks left by the guns of Indian army in its bloody assault on the Golden Temple in June 1984.

Yet in all of his press conferences the honorable representative chose to say that he was not in a position to confirm the human rights violations in the Punjab as documented by the Amnesty International!

Even though he did not meet the freedom fighters who represent the true aspirations of the Sikhs, he did meet the so called moderate Akali representatives. But he did not refer to the demands they raised and also desecration of the Holy Harimandir Sahib. All he said was that the solution of Punjab was a political one. What makes Solarz close his eyes and shut his ears when so many of his colleagues like Congressman Shumway, Wally Herger and others have gone on record about the human rights violations in Punjab ‘one wonders.

Indeed the solution to Punjab is a political one but perhaps not in the way in which Solarz and other friends of the Gandhi dynasty think. The solution will be with the creation of sovereign Sikh state in which they will be finally free and be able fo live in freedom.

Article extracted from this publication >>  February 10, 1989