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Sikh massacre in India 30 years ago arises as issue in California congressional run

October 18, 2014 | By

Sacramento, California: Media reports suggest that the Sikh genocide of November 1984 in India is turning to an issue of concern in California election race this year, as certain Sikh sections in California have developed reservations about Democratic Rep. Ami Bera as later he had refused to acknowledge the involvement of the Indian government in the brutal massacres of Sikhs 3o years ago.

Ami Bera, a physician representing a suburban Sacramento district, is the only Indian-American in Congress.

Ami Bera’s 7th Congressional District, which is about evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, has about 6,000 registered voters of Indian sub-continent descent, according to Political Data Inc., a California firm that provides detailed breakdowns of voting districts.

Representative Ami Bera [file Photo]

Representative Ami Bera [file Photo]

California witnesses race between Ami Bera and Republican Doug Ose, a former congressman. The margin of victory in November is expected to be razor thin, so even a small-scale revolt from within a single ethnic community could help tilt the election.

The election debate over the Sikh massacre recalls a long-running disagreement over the slaying of some 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I, which Armenians insist constituted genocide and Turks reject.

Ahead of the 30th anniversary of genocidal massacres in November, a group of Sikhs asked congressional candidates in Northern California whether the deaths happened with government assistance or lack of intervention, and if they would pursue justice for the victims’ families. Ami Bera’s campaign was among nine that did not answer the questions.

In a prepared statement to The Associated Press, Ami Bera called the killings a tragedy and said he is “hopeful that the Indian government has learned from the past.”

He previously told The Sacramento Bee that he is focused on issues faced by Sikhs in the U.S. and can’t dictate how the Indian government approaches the rioting.

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