August 12, 2012 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
San Francisco, USA (August 12, 2012): Sikh-American community leaders on August 10, 2012 (Friday) demanded an apology from India after political activists in New Delhi burned American flags to protest the Oak Creek Wisconsin Sikh Gurdwara murders.
“India and its puppet government in Punjab must issue an immediate apology to Sikh-Americans for burning our flag,” said Bhajan Singh Bhinder, Director of US-based Sikh Information Centre. “We are not India’s property. They should get their hands off our flag.”
On August 6, members of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), a political party aligned with Hindu fundamentalist Bharatiya Janata Party, burned several flags and displayed signs reading: “US Govt Take Action Against The Killers.”
The same day, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal of Punjab, which has the largest Sikh population, wrote in a letter to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh: “The government of India must get more actively and vigorously involved in getting the U.S. administration to address the issue in right earnest.” Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna also blamed America, saying: “The U.S. government will have to take a comprehensive look at this kind of tendency which certainly is not going to bring credit to the United States of America.”
Bhinder asked: “Why is Badal outraged over the murder of six Sikhs in the USA when he just appointed Sumedh Saini, an architect of Sikh genocide, as Punjab’s top police official? Saini is Badal’s Butcher who built his career by killing thousands of Sikhs. India rewards and promotes police officers who use torture and murder prisoners. That’s why Badal made Saini into Punjab’s Director General of Police.”
Bhinder also cited Union Cabinet Member Kamal Nath as an instigator of similar crimes. Nath has been accused of provoking mob violence during the 1984 Delhi Pogrom. Several Congress Party Members of Parliament, Nath among them, sparked the bloody riots. Journalist Sanjay Suri reported witnessing Nath order a mob of 4,000 people that burned several Sikhs alive when they attacked and destroyed Gurudwara Rakab Ganj in New Delhi.
Bhinder stated the intent of the flag-burning was clearly intended to create strife among different American communities and provoke American anger against U.S. Sikhs. “This has the hallmarks of a staged event. The rabble-rousing Indian government is trying to pit one American against another to divide the USA along caste lines in the tradition of the Brahmin rulers of India,” he said. “Sikhs fled tyranny in Punjab for freedom in the USA. India can do nothing to end anti-Sikh violence in America as long as it continues the officially sanctioned genocide of Sikhs in India.”
A 2011 report by human rights watchdog Organization for Minorities of India (OFMI) stated that torture is used regularly in every police station in India. Backing Bhinder’s claim that police brutality leads to promotion, OFMI spokesman Arvin Valmuci said, “Look at former police officer Mohammad Izhar Alam, who led the ‘Black Cats’ death squad to exterminate Sikhs. Last November, 34 young Sikhs killed by Alam were finally identified, but in October, Badal promised him a constituency in Punjab Legislative Assembly.”
Valmuci says India has a long, indisputable record of staging violence against minorities. He also questioned the spontaneity of the flag-burning, asking, “Was it staged by the Indian government like other crimes such as the 2001 Chittisinghpura Massacre, the 2007 Samjhauta Express bombing, and the 1982 Cow Head Incident?”
The Sikh Information Centre was joined by OFMI in making three demands of India:
“If India truly has sympathy for the memories of Wisconsin Sikhs Satwant Singh Kaleka, Prakash Singh, Sita Singh, Ranjit Singh, Suveg Singh, and Paramjit Kaur, then it will listen to us. We demand:
“1) An immediate investigation of the mysterious thugs who burned the American flag in New Delhi;
“2) An immediate apology by India and its puppet government in Punjab to the USA’s Sikh community;
“3) Immediate prosecution of Kamal Nath and of Badal’s Butcher, Sumedh Saini, for crimes against the Sikhs involving the torture and murder of thousands.
“We also humbly request:
“1) The Obama Administration take swift action to investigate attempts to use the mischievous flag-burning incident to create more civil strife in the USA;
“2) The U.S. State Department demand an official apology by India to the Sikh-American community;
“3) The U.S. Congress take up and press this issue and particularly seek prosecution of Kamal Nath and Sumedh Saini.”
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Related Topics: Indian State, Sikh Diaspora, Sikhs in United States, Wisconsin Sikh Gurudwara Shootout