STATEMENT | Punjab, India |
The Global Sikh Council is deeply concerned over the pattern of disturbing religious and political developments that are emerging in Punjab. The Ajnala Incident epitomizes the ugliness of these developments and serves as a stark signal to the authorities of Punjab and India to take appropriate measures to ensure peace and stability remains secure.
The visuals that emerged from Ajnala show a group of Sikhs led by Amritpal Singh storming police barricades and taking over the police station. While the act of taking the law into one’s hands is to be condemned, the police and authorities deserve condemnation for precipitating the incident and not doing enough to have prevented it.
The Global Sikh Council wishes to remind the Sikhs of Punjab that they have successfully stood up for their rights in peaceful morchas and andolans such as the kisaan andolan, mattewara forest, and the Zira moorcha etc’ and that they have done so peacefully – which is the Sikh way for conveying their narratives and highlighting the injustices that they have endured.
In this light then, the hooliganism that has become evident from the viralled videos of the Ajnala Incident must be condemned for what it is. This is not the Sikh way. It should never be the Sikh way for Sikhs who live in a democracy.
The Global Sikh Council calls on the Punjab and Indian authorities to act professionally and fairly towards Sikhs of Punjab and stop from inflicting any sort of injustices on them. The authorities must always refrain from implementing unjust policies, anti-Sikh decisions, high-handed acts and other anti-democratic behaviour that can cause, trigger, or elicit the kind of response that was seen in the Ajnala Incident.
The consequences of not heeding this call can be destructive to the people of Punjab. The violent, vicious, and massive loss of life causing incidents of the 1978 – 84 era that culminated in the Indian Army’s storming of Darbar Sahib and numerous other Gurdwaras; as well as the assassination of a Prime Minister and the ensuring anti-Sikh murderous riots in Delhi must not be allowed a repeat ever.
The Global Sikh Council reiterates that what Punjab needs above all are employment opportunities for its youth – a vast majority of whom have set their eyes on migration to create a better life for themselves. Such job creation in Punjab needs vast amounts of Foreign Direct Investment in a variety of sectors. Incidences of violence and the resulting break down in law and order are bound to scare investors away and mire Punjab deeper into its social and economic problems.
The Global Sikh Council calls upon the citizens of Punjab and its democratically elected government to work together to create an atmosphere that would be conducive towards peace, prosperity, and development.
Signed by GSC president Lady Singh Kanwaljit Kaur, GSC religious affairs committee chair Dr Karminder Singh and GSC legal affairs committee chair Jagir Singh
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