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PRESS RELEASE: COUNCIL OF KHALISTAN, WASHINGTON DC

U.S. Congress: India Is a "Hostile Country"

Letter Urges President to Press Indian Prime Minister on Self-Determination for Khalistan, Human Rights, Release of Political Prisoners

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 13, 2000 A bipartisan group of 17 Members of the U.S. Congress have written a letter to President Clinton urging him to press Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who arrives for a state visit today, on issues of self-determination for Khalistan, human rights, and release of political prisoners. The letter called India "a hostile country."

"We call on you to press Prime Minister Vajpayee on the issues of human rights and self-determination for Khalistan, Christian Nagalim, Kashmir, and all the minority nations and peoples living under Indian rule," the Members of Congress wrote. The Members noted the recent incident in which a priest in Gujarat was kidnapped, tortured, and dragged naked through the streets. This incident is part of a pattern of repression against Christians that has been going on since Christmas 1998, they noted. They also took note of the massacre of 35 Sikhs in Chithi Singhpora during the President‚s visit to India in March, which two independent investigations have proven was carried out by the Indian government. They wrote about the murders of over 250,000 Sikhs since 1984, over 70,000 Muslims since 1988, more than 200,000 Christians in Nagaland since 1947, and tens of thousands of other minorities by the Indian government. "We cannot accept this kind of brutality and tyranny from a government that claims to be democratic," they wrote.

They also wrote, "India is a hostile country. Last year the Indian Defense Minister led a meeting with Cuba, China, Iraq, Serbia, Russia, and Libya to construct a security alliance to stop the U.S.‚" they noted. They also wrote that India introduced the nuclear arms race to South Asia and that it supported the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

The lead sponsor of the letter was Representative Edolphus Towns (D-NY). Other co-signers include Representative Wally Herger (R-Cal.); Representative Donald M. Payne (D-NJ); Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.); Representative Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.); Representative Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.); Representative Dan Burton (R-Ind.), chairman of the Government Reform and Oversight Committee; Representative Randy (Duke) Cunningham (R-Cal.); Representative James Traficant (D-Ohio); Representative Eni F.H. Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa); Representative John T. Doolittle (R-Cal.); Representative Philip M. Crane (R-Ill.); Representative James Rogan (R-Cal.); Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.); Representative James Oberstar (D-Minn.); Representative George P. Radanovich (R-Cal.); and Representative Peter King (R-NY).

Indian security forces have murdered over 250,000 Sikhs since 1984, according to figures compiled by the Punjab State Magistracy and human-rights organizations. These figures were published in The Politics of Genocide by Inderjit Singh Jaijee. About 50,000 Sikh political prisoners are rotting in Indian jails without charge or trial. Many have been in illegal custody since 1984. India is in gross violation of international law. Since 1984, India has engaged in a campaign of ethnic cleansing in which about 50,000 Sikhs were murdered by the police and secretly cremated, according to Justice Ajit Singh Bains, chairman of the Punjab Human Rights Organization, in an interview broadcast on "Ankhila Punjab" radio in Toronto, Canada. The Indian Supreme Court described this campaign as "worse than a genocide."

"On behalf of half a million Sikhs in the United States, I would like to thank Congressman Towns and every Member who signed this letter," said Dr. Gurmit Singh Aulakh, President of the Council of Khalistan, the government pro tempore of Khalistan, the Sikh homeland that declared its independence from India on October 7, 1987. "We thank our friends in both parties for their support for freedom in South Asia. This letter can help focus the attention of the United States and India on the important democratic values of self-determination and human rights," he said. "The willingness of these Members of Congress to call India a hostile country also advances freedom in South Asia by helping to frustrate India‚s drive for hegemony in the region," he said. He predicted that "the breakup of India draws closer every day and Khalistan will be free in this decade."

 

September 12, 2000

The Honorable Bill Clinton
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will be visiting you from September 13 to September 17. It is important that you press him on the issue of the persecution of Christians, Sikhs, Muslims, and other minorities by the Indian government.

Press Trust of India reported on August 25 that a Christian priest in Gujarat was kidnapped, tortured, and paraded through town naked. This attack was not an isolated incident. Since Christmas 1998, priests have been murdered, nuns have been raped, a missionary and his two sons were burned to death in their van by members of the RSS, which is the parent organization of the ruling BJP, schools and prayer halls have been attacked and destroyed. Yet the Indian government refuses to take any action against the people who perpetrate these atrocities.

During your trip to India, 35 Sikhs were murdered in the village of Chithi Singhpora, Kashmir. The Ludhiana-based International Human Rights Organization investigated this and separately the Movement Against State Repression and the Punjab Human Rights Organization conducted an investigation. Both of these investigations have proven that the Indian government carried out this massacre. The Indian government has admitted that the five Muslims they killed on the claim that they were responsible for the massacre were innocent. Now they have arrested two more people, claiming that they were responsible for this massacre. Yet despite the fact that so-called "militant" groups almost always claim responsibility for incidents they are responsible for, nobody has emerged to claim responsibility for the killings in Chithi Singhpora.

The Politics of Genocide by Inderjit Singh Jaijee reports that the Indian government has murdered more than 250,000 Sikhs since 1984. These figures were derived from figures put out by the Punjab State Magistracy. India has also killed more than 200,000 Christians in Nagaland since 1947, over 70,000 Kashmiri Muslims since 1988, and tens of thousands of Dalits, Assamese, Tamils, Manipuris, and others. According to Amnesty International, there are thousands of political prisoners being held in illegal detention without charge or trail in "the world's largest democracy."

India is a hostile country. Last year the Indian Defense Minister led a meeting with Cuba, China, Iraq, Serbia, Russia, and Libya to construct a security alliance "to stop the U.S." India openly supported the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. It tested five nuclear warheads, beginning the nuclear arms race to South Asia. And it refuses to allow the Sikhs, Kashmiris, Christians, and other minority nations and peoples decide their own political future in a free and fair vote, as democratic countries do. America has repeatedly granted this opportunity to Puerto Rico and Canada has permitted Quebec to do so. Why can't the "world's largest democracy" settle these issues the democratic way?

America is the bastion of freedom for the world. We cannot accept this kind of brutality and tyranny from a government that claims to be democratic. We call on you to press Prime Minister Vajpayee on the issues of human rights and self-determination for Khalistan, Christian Nagalim, Kashmir, and all the minority nations and peoples living under Indian rule.

Sincerely,


Hon. Edolphus Towns, M.C. Hon. Wally Herger, M.C.

Hon. Donald M. Payne, M.C.

Hon. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, M.C.

Hon. Cynthia McKinney, M.C.

Hon. Roscoe Bartlett, M.C.

Hon. Dan Burton, M.C.

Hon. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, M.C.

Hon. James Traficant, M.C.

Hon. Eni F.H. Faleomavaega, M.C.

Hon. John T. Doolittle, M.C.

Hon. Philip M. Crane, M.C.

Hon. James Rogan, M.C.

Hon. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, M.C.

Hon. James Oberstar, M.C.

Hon. George P. Radanovich, M.C.

Hon. Peter King, M.C.

 

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