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Seminar Report : Sikh Nation and the Indian Elections – an analysis

April 28, 2014 | By

Hoshiarpur, Punjab (April 28, 2014): Sikh Nationalist party Dal Khalsa, on April 27, said the elections are irrelevant because New Delhi has failed to take steps to meet longstanding Sikh demands, including the release of detainees, justice for victims of 1984 genocide, punishment to guilty police officers, fulfilling greater political aspirations.

At a seminar held to analyze the gain and losses of participation of the Sikhs in Indian elections since 1952 onwards, the participants mostly youth, hotly debated the pros and cons of the subject.

L to R: Kanwar Pal Singh (Speaking), Paramjeet Singh, Prabhjot Singh, H. S. Dhami, Harpal Singh Cheema and Manjinder SIngh Jandi

L to R: Kanwar Pal Singh (Speaking), Paramjeet Singh, Prabhjot Singh, H. S. Dhami, Harpal Singh Cheema and Manjinder SIngh Jandi

Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh, SYP spokesperson Prabhjot Singh and the SAD (Panch Pardani) working head Harpal Singh Cheema participated in the debate and took questions from the audience.

Scores of inquisitive youth who has come from various parts of Punjab wanted to know the rationale behind the recent decision to stay away from elections. The organizers in detail explained the historical and political reason behind the decision to the satisfaction of the inquirers. This led to an overwhelming support to the call amid show of hands the large gathering reaffirmed their decision for non-participation in elections.

While dwelling on the gains and losses, it was largely agreed that while Sikhs participated in the electoral politics strengthening the democracy of India, on the other hand, the community lost its pride and dignity, suffered huge losses of men, women and children killed by the state machinery and its unique status and character is constantly in question. At individual levels, there had been few gains to those Sikh leaders who sacrificed the community’s collective interests at the altar of personal pecuniary benefits. The organizer outlined that all burning issues stands unresolved and there is absolutely no hope for any redress.

To a question Prabhjot Singh said the hopes raised by AAP are only within Indian dispensation. We have the clear example of backtracking by AAP when the question of plebiscite in Kashmir came to the fore. Setting up SIT by Kejriwal government was a step only to correct wrong of the Indian state. However, the key subject of conflict resolution has not been touched by the AAP. Therefore we are clear as far as Sikh aspirations are concerned AAP is yet another illusion, a mirage which will not deliver at the end of the day.

Allying apprehensions about the boycott tool, Kanwar Pal Singh said it’s not a dreadful dragon but a democratic exercise to reject the electoral system. He said just as an option has been given to every voter to reject all candidates of his or her constituency by pressing NOTA button, similarly our call for boycott was a collective rejection of the Indian electoral system.

He said elections alone are not the only panacea for all ills that has plagued the society. Protection of rights, dignity and status requires much more. He emphasized that the Sikh rights can be protected only through a people’s movement.

Replying to volley of queries, he said that the votes asked for better facilities and governance are used by Indian state as a tool against Sikh struggle by presenting it in the International forums as a referendum in its favour.

Addressing the meet Dal Khalsa head H S Dhami urged the masses not to take part in the election process. The issue of Sikhs was not of good or bad governance which can be solved by replacing the rulers or faces but it was actually the matter of future of their people who have been promised the glow of freedom by Indian leadership.

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