Press Release | March 30, 2023 | American Sikh Council |
The American Sikh Council (ASC) is extremely concerned over the continuous targeting and illegal detention of young Sikh men across Panjab since March 18, 2023. Hundreds of Sikhs have been detained under the pretext of being Bhai Amritpal Singh’s sympathizers or simply labeled terrorists at their whim.
With over 80,000 Indian paramilitary forces put into action in Panjab overnight to apparently apprehend one man, Bhai Amritpal Singh who apparently escaped while everyone else has been arrested is entirely fake and it portrays a very nefarious political drama.
Based on the standard BJP/RSS playbook, it is clear that the Indian authorities want to malign and portray Sikhs as terrorists. While the current regime is portraying themselves as the great saviors of Hindus of Panjab and saving ‘Bharat Mata’ from breaking up! The Indian authorities are playing out their true and tried nefarious game of beating up on the Sikhs to take full advantage of the current situation for the upcoming national elections in April/May 2024 in order to win all the Hindu votes and form a BJP/RSS government nationally as well as in Panjab.
The Indian regime shut down the entire internet across the state of Panjab for 48 hours just to allegedly arrest one Sikh man, namely Amritpal Singh. In a much-touted democracy to do a carte blanche media blackout is a clear sign of authoritarianism, front and center. While the same Indian authorities are using every social platform to spin their own news portraying their version as accurate news, when it is lopsided and very biased, especially when the entire narrative is against a tiny minority which has been hounded by the state authorities for decades. Similar but longer media blackouts were done during India’s attack on the holy Darbar Sahib in June 1984 and several more statewide oppressive operations during the 1980s and 1990s.
The BJP/RSS government has a large well-funded IT cell which has finessed its social media spin tactics to an art form and uses it to the hilt for spewing venom on any minority it chooses. The BJP/RSS government has threatened US major tech companies which run Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc., which have kowtowed and many times completely blocked Sikhs from the global echo chamber. Sikhs have been at the receiving end of this massive hate campaign not only within India but across the globe, which portrays Sikhs negatively on so many levels. The favorite word that has been weaponized by the Indian regime and their Hindutva minions is, Khalistan, in order to coerce and cower the Sikhs into submission permanently!
Even some of the major news channels and media platforms in the US and Canada who are somewhat balanced, have not touched on the fundamental long-term simmering issues of the Sikhs of Panjab. Whenever any Sikh regardless of their political ideology bring up the issue of critical demands of Panjab which have been purposely ignored and have been festering, while the frustration of the common people is rising, then that individual is labeled a ‘Khalistani’, ‘anti-national’ or a ‘terrorist’ and either shut down or arrested. No minority can be treated like second class citizens with limited rights forever.
The upper caste Hindu coterie rules India, regardless of the ruling party in power. Why is the upper-caste Hindu government creating a fear psychosis in the Indian citizenry, when there are at least forty-five Hindus for every one Sikh. Sikhs have repeatedly voiced their grievances peacefully over the last 40-50 years but everything has fallen on deaf ears. The rulers of India refuse to even acknowledge the complaints of Panjab, yet continue to weaponize anything and everything remotely connected with any protests or good work which rouses the Sikh populace about their rights.
India needs to wake up to its own major mishandling of various issues surrounding Sikhs and other minorities and deal with them directly, before labelling Sikhs with their choice epithets. India has still refused to even acknowledge the decade and a half old ‘Sustained Sikh Genocide’ (1984 – 1998) which resulted in the state sponsored mass murder of several hundred thousand Sikhs in the killing fields of rural Panjab. This Genocide against the Sikhs was carried out to quell any uprising in favor of rights as citizens of Panjab, all in the name of stamping out terrorism when the harsh truth is, that Sikhs simply wanted equal rights on all fronts as Indian citizens and an equal say at the table.
To continuously cow down an entire ethnoreligious minority through various reprehensible methods, all easily available for the state apparatus, is the height of cruelty and ineptness of its own political acumen, all simply due to an inherent hate and bias. This on and off witch hunting of Sikhs must stop! It interesting to note in the Indian context, “When Sikhs save Hindus, they are angels, when Sikhs fight various wars on behalf of Hindus, they are heroes, but when Sikhs fight for their own rights, they are labelled terrorists”!
The current BJP/RSS leadership in power since 2014 has been steadily building up the narrative to eventually install and run a completely unitary ‘Hindu Rashtra’ (Hindu Country), yet no one is arrested for being an anti-national or a terrorist. This dangerous buildup may become a reality when the current Prime Minister is reelected in 2024, for the third time. All vocal minorities, Sikhs, Muslims and others are harassed and told to toe the line of Hindutva/Hindu Rashtra or else face dire consequences. This hypocrisy must not only be called out but needs to stop immediately. The vast majority of the supposed independent media in India has been coopted or shut down by the authoritarian regime, therefore honest critical reporting has gone underground, while anyone attempting to tell the truth is threatened and/or arrested.
The Indian regime needs to straighten out its own ethical moorings and stop persecuting a tiny ethno-religious minority by constantly maligning and degrading them, rather resolve a laundry list of critical issues which impact everyone who lives in Panjab, not just Sikhs, but Hindus, Christians, Jains, Buddhists, Dalits, etc. The overdue problems of Panjab need to be tackled without delay as the common man is so frustrated that they will reach out to anyone who will solve their long-standing woes.
The American Sikh Council (ASC) requests the US State Department, USCRIF, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty international and others to take many of the ongoing violations against Sikhs in India seriously and take appropriate action, as previous similar situations have led to Genocide.
Phenomenal rise of Amritpal Singh (Asia Samachar, 26 March 2023)
Police action against Amritpal Singh – What is really going on? (Asia Samachar, 20 March 2023)
Upstart youth leader Amritpal Singh removes and burns gurdwara benches (Asia Samachar, 18 Dec 2022)
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