November 7, 2010 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Welcoming Mr Obama to India, he said “their welcome would have been more sweet and fulfilling had the President visited Golden Temple, Amritsar –Vatican of the Sikh people”. Nevertheless, he said we were sure that the US president would take this opportunity to go beyond the Indian mainstream and delve into the status and plight of peoples, like the Sikhs, who were contesting the hegemony of the Indian state over the last many decades.
“During the course of your visit, you are scheduled to discuss global counter -terrorism measures. May be submit that in this part of the world, like in many others, blatant and gross abuse of human rights of minorities have been the root causes for violence against the state”, states the memorandum submitted to the US Embassy officials in New Delhi.
Partnership with India by the US was welcome for peace in the region, he said. However, both countries and more so the United States would have to focus on respect for human rights & rule of law, freedom and justice, said the leader of the Sikh party.
He rued that the Sikhs in India have suffered persecution and discrimination because of their religious beliefs, which differ from the mainly Hindu-Indian heartland.
Pointing towards the US administration’s agenda for peace in South Asia as its one of the prime concerns, Dhami said peace was possible if people within the countries were given equal rights and opportunities. He was quick to add that so far, the international community has failed the Sikh people. He described the US president as the sheet anchor of exploring and achieving alternative goals.
He urged him to recognize the Sikh struggle for right to self-determination, which in recent times, has transformed from armed struggle to non-violent struggle.
“Punjab, Kashmir and the North-East are separable limbs held together by brute force, draconian laws, political chicanery, and vested-interest oriented foreign policy of many countries including the US and an uninvolved United Nations ”.
In such a scenario, we were left with no choice but to appeal for your intervention, your sense of history to recognize the slavery of some peoples and political adroitness for fostering peace in this region.
He referred the report of the US Commission for International Religion Freedoms that placed India on the Watch List to drive his point home. According to the Commission, India requires, “close monitoring due to the nature and extent of violations of religious freedom engaged in or tolerated by the government”.
Urging the US to recognize the distinct political status of the Sikh people, he pointed out that the goal of political freedom was part of the Sikh consciousness, notwithstanding their present conditions –a consciousness reinforced every morning and evening in personal as well as community prayers.
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