February 16, 2017 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Chandigarh: Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar (Mann) chief has responded to The Tribune’s Editor in Chief Harish Khare’s column titled “A time to seek ‘closure’ of 1984…” dated February 12, 2017.
The text of letter reads as follows:
Letter by S. Simranjit Singh Mann to the Editor of The Tribune
Dear Mr. Khare,
I have read your piece dated 12th February 2017, which you write every Sunday and perhaps it goes under the name of Kafeeklatsch. Normally, yet always I have admired your write up in this Sunday column. But, what you have written last Sunday dated 12th February 2017, just about takes the cake for the insensitivity you hold for us Sikh’s. I do not think that even before 1984 leading to the infamous Operation Bluestar your past editor Prem Bhatia, or Girilal Jain of the Times of India and Arun Shorie of the Indian Express could have equaled you in besmirching the character of us Sikh’s in writing such a virulent and abusive piece in your column.
As you talk of the long past years since 1984 which make 33 years as you write and take up the cause of Jagdish Tytler, I don’t think there can be any time limit in addressing the slights, character assassination and the horrible deaths suffered by the Sikh’s at the hands of the majority Hindu state, which by its numbers in the parliament, judiciary, executive and the press just about steam rolls its decisions on the minorities, the Sikh’s generally whom I have always defended.
I resigned from the Indian Police Service in 1984 when Indira Gandhi aligned with the other Hindu majority parties like BJP, CPI-CPM and others, aided by the British and Soviet armies in tandem with the Indian Army bombarded the holiest shrine of the Sikh’s the Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) in Amritsar, out of existence. It was in 1782 that the Afghan marauder Ahmedshah Abdali blew up the Darbar Sahib by placing gun powder under it. The Sikh’s then and now have never forgiven him and followed him in battle after battle, suffering fatal injuries and stopped only when they had inflicted a fatal wound on him.
If you think I have derived any political advantage out of resigning from my post as an IPS officer and later dismissed from service by an order of Indira Gandhi I would be heartened to know what advantages I have taken for fighting peacefully for the self respect and dignity of the Sikh nation?
You say the Prime Minister has offered an apology in Parliament. But, was it an apology by the entire Parliament like what the Japanese did in their National Diet for the war crimes committed by their fighting forces in World War II or the apology rendered by the German Bundestag for their horrific genocide?
I was a Member of Parliament from 1999 to 2004. During this period I raised my voice to seek an apology from the Parliament for committing the genocide of the Sikh people. The Congress party sat on the opposition benches and I must say, that graciously, they agreed to do so but the treasury benches, the BJP and Badalites rudely and with insensitivity raised their voice that since they were not responsible for these wicked acts they would not collectively offer an apology. Later Mr. LK Advani the BJP leader wrote his memoirs entitled “My Country My Life” and wrote that he had egged Indira Gandhi to launch a military operation, which his leader Mr. AB Vajpayee, after the beastly action applauded Indira Gandhi and bestowed the title of Durga Mata on her. Then, is not an apology by a joint session of the two houses called for?
You write that you want to know what sort of justice the Sikh’s want. You are a learned journalist. We want a trial of the guilty on the pattern of the Nuremburg Trials after World War II or if that is not possible all the scalawags and criminals responsible for this genocide be sent and put up to trial at the International Criminal Court at the Hague. We hope we have told you in clear and “concrete” terms of what we Sikh people want.
In other words to let you know that your state is neither liberal lawful nor democratic. If it were, it would have signed and ratified the following UN treaties, protocols and covenants:
1. 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
2. 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.
3. 1954 Convention relating to Status of Stateless Persons.
4. 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.
5. 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
6. 1966 Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
7. 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees.
It is because there are still 30,000 Sikh Stateless refugees in Kashmir since 1947.
8. 1972 Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile System.
9. 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.
If this Convention had been followed, neither the Harminder Sahib, the Golden Temple would not have been reduced to rubble nor the Babri Masjid in 1992.
10. 1984 Convention against Torture and other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
11. 1984 Safeguard and guaranteeing protection of the Rights of those facing the death penalty.
12. 1995 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
13. 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
14. 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of anti-Personnel Mines and their Destruction (the Ottawa Convention on the abolition of landmines).
15. 2001 Rome Statute, by virtue of which the International Criminal Court has been set up at The Hague.
So now look into your psyche and tell us whether we Sikh’s are crying foul as you say. In your life you have never borne pain. If we Sikh’s are continuously seeking justice and not forgetting the past as you as a Hindu would like us to do then tell me why you Hindus year after year blast the effigy of Rawan a legendary figure of your mythology on the day of Deushehra? Have the Jews forgotten the holocaust. Even now one sees the image of old decrepit Nazi German soldiers facing trials. I will tell you one thing Mr. Khare and get that straight that the Sikh’s will never forget or forgive what the Hindu state has done to us?
You call the Sikh Americans “busybodies who you say have given a dangerous twist to this whole ‘injustice’ business”. May I remind you that the American Jews have built a Holocaust Museum not only in the US but also in Israel for the German Nazi genocide committed on these then stateless peoples. The Sikh’s do not have a strong punch like the Jews but they have in America convinced the legislators of the California legislature to pass a resolution against India for having committed the genocide of the Sikh people. They are trying very hard to make the two legislatures in Washington DC to pass such a resolution. They will succeed.
You continue with your diatribe to state that at the Union there have been other non Congress governments in power and why they have not gone further to give justice to the Sikh’s. May I inform you that in Parliament there is a majority of 90% Hindu members. Would they be ready to give justice to the Sikh’s as like you a Hindu journalist write so acerbically in favour of the crime of genocide committed on the Sikh’s? Again what is the communal strength of the High Courts and the Supreme Court? In 1984 the massacres of the Sikh’s took place in front of these judicial bodies in Delhi, the High Court and the Supreme Court. Did any of them call the Union government suo moto to answer for this holocaust? A few years ago the Supreme Court called out the Union Home Ministry and the Delhi police to question why the rally of Ramdev was not allowed to be held. Ramdev the other day called out to his band of fanatic Hindus to chop off the heads of those who refused to chant Bharat Mata ki Jai. If a Muslim or a Sikh had given such a call your newspaper would have called it terrorism. Did you call Ramdev’s acts as terrorism? On the other hand, we Sikh’s get a daily dose of being called terrorists, extremist, radicals and hardliners not only by your newspaper but also the Indian Express, the Times of India and the Hindustan Times.
Premier Narinder Modi as Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2002 had over 2000 innocent Muslims massacred in cold blood. In addition he had their women folk stripped and raped by his goons. In the same capacity as Chief Minister Mr. Modi had 60,000 Sikh farmers deprived of their legally and legitimately held farmlands. They were ethnically cleansed. Have you ever thought of these crimes against humanity committed by your Premier? Will you ever use the foul language you use to describe us Sikh’s against a Hindu genocidaire?
As a learned journalist you know what a massacre or genocide is. But, to this day in your very Sunday column under debate, you and your brother Hindu journalists have always referred to these abominable crimes as riots. You are aware that riots take place when two groups or two communities exchange blows which can sometimes turn into fatalities. When in Delhi the Hindus murdered, raped, injured, maimed, blew up the houses of Sikh’s particularly, and were these riots or mass murders and massacres? Shamefully, the Congress Rajiv Gandhi government ordered these massacres and shamefully the army did not come out of its barracks to quell this genocide. Hindus twiddled their thumbs in the fashion Nero fiddled while Rome burnt.
Have you as a journalist sought justice for the Sikh’s? Once a Nazi always a Nazi. They said it is a question of mind over matter. The (Jews) did not mind and for us (Germans) they did not matter.
You then go on to say some journalists rake up the issue of the Sikh genocide to get publicity or gain brownie points. May I ask whether your earlier Chief Editor Mr. Dua or a columnist Kuldip Niar or Khushwant Singh etc raked up Sikh issues or the issue of their genocide to be nominated to the Rajya Sabha? You may not like it but I am sorry that your pride and hubris has let you down and you have been overcome with evil in describing inhuman crimes and genocide as publicity stunts. Mr. Editor you have hurt the Sikh’s to the core and the Bible says “Vengeance is mine Sayeth the Lord and I will recompense it”.
I will be grateful, if you could kindly print this letter of mine to you as a rejoinder in the esteemed columns of your newspaper The Tribune. I will further be grateful as this is a rejoinder to what you have written in favour of the Sikh massacres and their genocide.
Simranjit Singh Mann,
Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar).
Mr. Harish Khare,
Editor in Chief,
The Tribune, Chandigarh.