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Without Right to Self-Determination, Elections Under Indian Dispensation are Meaningless: Dal Khalsa

April 30, 2024 | By

Amritsar, Punjab: Asserting that the Indian democratic system was not conducive to attaining a sovereign Punjab by participating in the current electoral processes, the Dal Khalsa resolved to stay away from the upcoming Lok Sabha elections to be held on June 1 in Punjab.

Presenting its viewpoint on LS elections, the Dal Khalsa working president Paramjit Singh Mand released the party’s no-election policy document signed by the party’s fifteen member executive committee led by Harpal Singh Cheema declaring elections can’t be the substitute to right to self-determination. These elections cannot solve the Sikh problem nor change the Sikh position. 

While addressing the Press conference, Mand said the solution of the Punjab dispute lies in plebiscite under the UN and not elections under Indian dispensation. Dal Khalsa leader categorically affirmed that they are neither against democracy nor democratic system. The organization envisages an arrangement like Quebec in Canada and Scotland in the United Kingdom, wherein it is possible to make right to self-determination an election agenda, subsequently leading to the right to secede.

With more than seven decades under Indian imperialism, after having been beaten, cheated, brutally attacked, assaulted, religious centers vandalized and desecrated, leadership corrupted with pecuniary gains, it’s time to take stock and decide the future course of action. At a meeting of the party executive committee, this predicament was hotly debated and discussed.

Without the right to self-determination, elections are meaningless, reads the document. Mand addressing the press conference further said the Sikh aspirations and lives were too dear to be sacrificed at the altar of such a game of elections where money, liquor, drugs and even caste and class are key factors.

The Hindutva govt in India refuses to release the Sikh political prisoners who have completed their jail terms including the ones who are behind bars since 1995 in the Beant Singh assassination case. On the contrary they had fielded the grandson of a tyrant ruler from Ludhiana seat to convey to Sikhs that their agenda is identical with Congress. 

The Dal Khalsa document saluted the martyrdom of thousands who laid down their lives in the struggle for Khalistan and pledged not to betray their sacrifices. In the recent past, we have lost three prominent Sikh brethren Bhai Paramjit Singh Panjwar, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, Avtar Singh Kanda. They were assassinated by Indian agents on foreign shores only because of their political beliefs and ideology. The country, which is hell bent to crush our aspirations and silence our voices through extrajudicial means, how can we strengthen its so-called democratic credentials by participating in the election process, they questioned? 

Punjab has witnessed endless preventive detentions under draconian laws like TADA (now repealed), UAPA, NSA, thousands of arrests, torture, involuntary disappearances, extra-judicial killings, even death sentences and executions under repealed laws constitute the vast array of gross human rights violation of the Sikh population in Punjab. The litany of broken promises and injustices is endless. This long story has rendered us homeless, hapless and hopeless. How does one see any hope in elections?

Mand said from 1947 onwards, Sikhs, especially through the Shiromani Akali Dal, have formed governments in Punjab, and sent Sikh and AKali representatives to the Indian parliament. Despite this, the situation for Sikhs has not changed at all and the Punjab problem is still a problem even after 42 years when Dharam Yudh Morcha was launched by Akali Dal from the Darbar Sahib precincts in August 1982.

The leaders asked the electorate to ponder what has the Sikh community gained through participation in the Indian electoral system?

The issue confronting the Sikh Nation is not good or bad governance brought about by replacing one category of rulers or faces with others, but is a matter of the future of a people, who aspire to become the masters of their own destiny.

Dal Khalsa leaders said, notwithstanding their decision, they wish good luck and success to those who are contesting Indian elections on the plank of Khalistan. 

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