THE SIKH TIMES
Noteworthy News and Analysis from Around the World
In-Depth Coverage of Issues Concerning the Global Sikh Community Including Self-Determination, Democracy, Human Rights, Civil Liberties, Antiracism, Religion, and South Asian Geopolitics
Home | News Analysis Archive | Biographies | Book Reviews | Events | Photos | Links | About Us | Contact Us
Khalistan Flag Hoisted in California
Council of Khalistan, Washington, D.C., Jul. 12, 2005
Photo: Gurmit Singh Aulakh
At an event on July 3 in Turlock, California, Sardar Paramjit Singh Sekhon and Sardar Gagandeep Singh of Dal Khalsa America, invited Dr. Gurmit Singh Aulakh, President of the Council of Khalistan, to hoist the flag of Khalistan. The Council of Khalistan is the government pro tempore of Khalistan. It is leading the struggle for Khalistan's independence. Dal Khalsa has led several marches and other events in Punjab to promote independence for Khalistan, the Sikh homeland that declared its independence from India on October 7, 1987. The event was shown throughout India on an Indian television channel called Aaj Tak on July 6. Dr. Aulakh was interviewed by a California representative of Voice of America.
As soon as Dr. Aulakh raised the flag, slogans of 'Khalistan Zindabad' (Long live Khalistan) were raised. Speakers at the event spoke out strongly for a free and independent Khalistan. Speakers included Dr. Awatar Singh Sekhon from Canada, Dr. Aulakh, Sardar [Paramjit Singh] Sekhon, Sardar Ajit Singh Pannu, Dr. Ranbir Singh Sandhu from Tracy, California, Sardar Karj Singh Sandhu from Philadelphia, Dr. Paramjit Singh Ajrawat, Sardar Dharam Singh Bains of Philadelphia, and others.
'If anyone speaks out for freedom, the Indian government labels them terrorists,' Dr. Aulakh said. 'This is not going to work. Everyone knows the modus operandi of the Indian government.' The Indian government has murdered over 250,000 Sikhs since 1984, more than 300,000 Christians in Nagaland since 1948, over 90,000 Muslims in Kashmir since 1988, and tens of thousands of Tamils, Assamese, Bodos, Manipuris, Dalits, and others. The Indian Supreme Court called the Indian government's murders of Sikhs 'worse than a genocide.'
According to a report by the Movement Against State Repression (M.A.S.R.), 52,268 Sikhs are being held as political prisoners in India without charge or trial. Some have been in illegal custody since 1984! 'These prisoners never committed any crime but peacefully speaking out for Sikh freedom,' said Dr. Aulakh. 'How can there be political prisoners in a democracy?' he asked. 'We demand the release of all political prisoners,' he said.
'As Professor Darshan Singh, a former Jathedar of the Akal Takht, said, 'If a Sikh is not a Khalistani, he is not a Sikh,' ' Dr. Aulakh noted. He added that the event in Turlock was in line with the strong sentiment for freedom in Punjab, Khalistan. 'We must work hand-in-hand, the Sikh diaspora and our Sikh brothers and sisters in Punjab, Khalistan, until the glow of freedom shines on a free and sovereign Khalistan,' he said. 'I thank Sardar Sekhon for organizing this event.'
'The flame of freedom still burns bright in the hearts of Sikhs despite the deployment of over half a million Indian troops to crush it,' Dr. Aulakh said. 'Last year, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh signed a bill cancelling the agreements that allowed the diversion of Punjabi water to non-riparian states. The bill asserted the sovereignty of Punjab. Sardar Atinder Pal Singh, another former Member of Parliament, held a seminar on Khalistan in Punjab. It was well attended and featured outstanding presentations, including one by Professor Gurtej Singh, I.A.S., [S.G.P.C.] Professor of Sikhism,' he said. 'Dal Khalsa has held marches through Punjab demanding the establishment of an independent Khalistan.'
On the anniversary of the Indian government's military attack on the Golden Temple, the center and seat of Sikhism, last month, Dal Khalsa, the Khalsa Panchayat, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Damdami Taksal, the Sikh Student Federation (Bittu), and the Akal Federation marched through the streets of Amritsar demanding freedom for Khalistan. They carried posters of the demolished Golden Temple and distributed pamphlets on the life of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, a Sikh leader who was murdered in the Golden Temple attack along with General Shabeg Singh, Bhai Amrik Singh, and others. Bhindranwale was a strong advocate of Sikh freedom. Dal Khalsa also raised the flag of Khalistan on Republic Day, January 26. 35 Sikhs were arrested at that time.
Some of them have been denied bail. Cases were registered against dozens of Sikhs for raising the Sikh flag at the Golden Temple on the anniversary of the Golden Temple attack in the presence of over 30,000 Sikhs. Warrants have been issued for their arrest. Those charged include Dal Khalsa leaders such as Kanwarpal Singh Bittu, Sarabjit Singh Ghuman, Dr. Manjinder Singh Jandi, and others, as well as former Member of Parliament Simranjit Singh Mann.
History shows that multinational states such as India are doomed to failure. Countries like Austria-Hungary, India's longtime friend the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and others prove this point. India is a polyglot like those countries, thrown together for the convenience of the British colonialists. It is doomed to break up as they did. Steve Forbes, writing in Forbes magazine, said that India is a multinational, multiethnic, multireligious, multicultural, multilinguistic state that is doomed to disintegrate like the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
'We must continue to pray for and work for our God-given birthright of freedom,' Dr. Aulakh said. 'Without political power, religions cannot flourish and nations perish.'