1984 Pogrom Raised as Sikh Genocide at UN

Highlighting several independent report that held Congress as responsible for the killings, Rai urged the government of the day to take further measures to officially identify those responsible and bring them to book so as “to prevent such heinous crimes that remain a blot on the history of India”. LokMarg is reproducing the entire statement at the council meeting here as under: “Sikh Human Rights Group welcomes the report of the Special Advisor on Prevention of Genocide and appreciates the mandate may not extend to retrospective identification of genocide.  However we urge the Advisor and the HRC to monitor progress of justice for victims of previous crimes of genocide, efforts made by the concerned States to punish the perpetrators as well as steps taken to prevent such further crimes, particularly where the issue remains in the public domain. We draw the attention of the HRC to the organised massacres of over 4000, possibly 10000 Sikhs in Delhi in November 1984 by attackers who were bussed in and supplied weapons and lists. The homes and shops of Sikhs were targeted, they were dragged out and killed with iron rods, clubbed to death and many burnt alive with tyres around their necks. The targeting of a single community by organised mobs aided by powerful people holding political positions in the State and when the police as well as Army remained inactive for four days constitutes genocide according to our understanding of the definition. We applaud the bold, emotive and public statement by the current Indian Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh in calling these crimes genocide in a public gathering. We hope the Indian State will also officially recognise the four days of massacres as genocide. We recognise that efforts have been made through 11 commissions of enquiries and attempts made to convict the leading perpetrators but judicial process has frustrated justice. Independent reports have identified the Indian Congress Party to be responsible. This party held power until recently. Its leader apologised for the crimes but failed to convict the perpetrators when his party was in power. We urge the Indian State to take further measures to officially identify the political party responsible, hold the senior politicians of the party to account and take steps to prevent such heinous crimes that remain a blot on the history of India. We request the HRC to monitor the progress of and assist the current Government in its efforts to deliver justice for victims and punishments of those responsible for the Nov 1984 Genocide of Sikhs in Delhi and surrounding areas.”  ]]>

Sikh 2020 Referendum, India Shares Responsibility

th August, to hold a rally in London and declare the referendum. The Government of India has been reacting to it and accusing Pakistan’s intelligence agency, ISI, to be behind the exercise. The campaign has been called a waste of time, a gimmick or opportunist by many Sikhs, since it has no authorisation from any State or UN or other legitimate authority. Ironically most serious Sikh Khalistani (Sikh State) groups have opposed it.  However their response has been muted because they don’t want to be seen to be on the same side as the more aggressive opposition by the Indian government to this referendum campaign. Nevertheless, the fact that it has reached such proportion of debate in Indian press and within Sikhs is a victory of sorts for SFJ, even if nothing else may be achieved. It is also symptomatic of the frustration and resentment that has continued to fester among worldwide Sikhs since 1984. The issues that have arisen recurrently between Sikhs and the Indian State are well known. The foremost is that the holiest place of the Sikhs, Sri Darbar Sahib was entrusted to Indian protection. But in 1984, the Indian Government, under Mrs Gandhi, sent in the Indian Army to invade the most powerful and influential seat of authority in the Sikh world, thus declaring a form of war without realising it.  The attack led to calls for a separate State so that the Akal Takhat Sahib and Sri Darbar Sahib can be protected by a State of the Sikhs instead. Closely following this and for many years were the unconstitutional methods adopted by the State in eliminating large number of Sikh youth to prevent a civil uprising. Over 60000 Sikhs have been executed extrajudicially and many tortured grotesquely. Some unique methods were developed by Punjab police, now copied by dictatorships around the world. The other major incident was the organised massacres of Sikhs by the Congress party that followed the assassination of Indira Gandhi, the Indian Prime Minister in November 1984. New Delhi’s contribution to world civilisation was the invention of burning alive of people with tyres around their necks.  Over 4000 Sikhs were massacred with iron bars, long knives, axes and burning alive in a free orgy of violence over four days. The police looked the other way and the Army, stationed only half an hour’s distance away, remained in its barracks. The Sikhs of Punjab responded to the attack on Darbar Sahib by executing Mrs Gandhi, the Chief of Army (Gen Vaidya) who ordered the attack and the Chief Minister (Beant Singh) who gave the police carte blanc unconstitutional powers to kill as many political activists as it could. The Sikhs of Delhi put their trust in the Indian judicial system. 34 years later they have been fed 11 Commissions of Enquiry but no incarceration of any senior Congress member. It should not surprise any analyst why 34 years after 1984, resentment and hurt festers below the surface among Sikhs, leaving the community susceptible to those who imagine themselves as wannabe messiahs on a mission to lead Sikhs to freedom from this pain or worse prey to political and economic opportunists. Even the Akali Dal regularly exploits Sikh issues when in opposition but goes quiet when in power. However it is simplistic for victimhood within Sikhs to see Hindu India as a hostile, cruel inhuman country and hope for justice and restoration of mutual respect. The Indians themselves are imprisoned in a Kafkesque nightmare from which they don’t know how to step out.  Physical colonialism came to an end in 1947 in India but the institutions and political concepts of colonialism remain intact even 70 years after the British transferred power. [caption id="attachment_29480" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Presidents of India have been trapped in ceremonies left by the British.[/caption] India is a colonial edifice, to the last brick of its foundation. All modern Indian institutions were established by the British to govern ‘over Indians’ and protect themselves from the natives or promote interests of the occupying colonialists. Whether it is the constitution founded on the 1935 Act which the British enacted to rule ‘over’ Indians with some punitive accountability to ‘natives’, or the police which was to keep the natives in check while applying different rules for the Sahibs, or the Army which was orientated to protect the British from Indian mutinees and rebellions, to the legal system which was meant to usurp indigenous value systems and implant British Victorian values and system of rule or whether it is the civil service which was established to administrate Indians on behalf of the British. Nothing has changed in the founding frameworks of these institutions. The Indian State follows the blue print left by the British colonialists to rule India as conquerors. The British didn’t leave behind a repair manual nor sent revision sheets or updates, and so to date Indians haven’t found a way to solve any of the regional or cultural conflicts. Strengthening colonial era laws on detention, making colonial era torture methods even more painful and sending in the Army to protect the ‘rulers’ against the ‘natives’ is a recurring pattern of response to challenges, where politics should seek solutions instead. The political class behaves like managers. The institutional framework of British India was enacted for the British in India to act as managers on behalf of the Crown or rather British Parliament. They were not meant to govern. Government was in UK. [caption id="attachment_29482" align="aligncenter" width="300"] The Viceroy’s Carriage pre-1947. Little has changed except the logos.[/caption] Unfortunately the Indian political class acts as managers and has been managing the edifice since 1947 waiting for guidance from some mythical power above it.  India has been in management mode since 1947. 70 years later it has yet to start governing and take bold decisions, such as a new contract with the people, change of colonial era laws, overhaul of an imperialist constitution, and instil in the army that it is there to protect the borders, not kill Indian citizens etc. This is the intractable dynamics in which Sikhs and the Indians are locked in. The Sikhs are hoping India will give justice. Individually Indians weep when told about stories, the massacres, the tortures etc, but Indians as the State simply don’t know how to untangle the shackles of colonialism and transfer that empathy with minorities into solutions. Like all such scenarios, in which those in power are powerless, there is recourse to diversion such as calling secessionists as ‘dreaded terrorists’ and blaming others, such as ISI for troubles of India’s own inadequacies. The Sikhs like some other regional minorities do not expect Congress to address the issues that divide them from the State. Congress after all was the Government that attacked Sri Darbar Sahib. Congress is in fact the penultimate party of WOGS if there is such a creature. Since 1947 it has been managing a failed colonial mission, to change Indians into a poor image of European society.

RSS vision is to make India a Hindu Rahstra.

  There was hope when Modi came to power that he will bring in a fresh and bold approach to solving issues such as those of the Sikhs. But his own party has been riddled with conceptual ideologies which have little to do with Indian civilisation. The identity Hindu and the name of the country, Hindustan, was given by Muslim invaders. Both RSS and the BJP have internalised these as missions, to make India a Hindu State and take pride in calling it Hindustan. Pakistani Muslims must be smug that their forefathers gave identity both to the people and the country. If the Congress is peddling a bastardised ideology developed from nineteenth century European political theories calling it Indian secularism (if ever there was a word more nonsense), the BJP and RSS are hell bent on promoting concepts inherited from radical Islam strongly similar to Hassan al-Banna’s ideas of Muslim Brotherhood packaged in the nomenclature given by Muslim invaders, Hindu and Hindustan. The trouble is that neither the Sikhs nor the Indians have introspection of their situation. Neither seems to be aware of the time warp they remain in, frozen in 1947. The Indians are caught in a Goldfish bowl, unable to break through it. The Sikhs expect empathy and solutions that the colonial  institutional framework of post colonial India is not constructed for, hence unable to deliver. This is why 34 years after 1984, Sikhs cannot make sense of the attack on Sri Darbar Sahib, the extra-judicial executions, the massacres of Sikhs in Delhi and this is also why India has not been able to move an inch forward towards addressing the resentment festering within Sikhs. Until one or the other side understands the dilemma and weakness of the other and starts to help the other come out if its crises, the Sikhs will continue to be victims of excitable gimmick like rallying calls such as Referendum 2020 and India will continue to make enemies of its own people with the political class acting as managers of an edifice and the Army gingerly killing the very people it is meant to protect. Neither side knows how to move forward.]]>

Tillerson softens blow of Jerusalem decision

Security Council warns of tensions on Trump’s Jerusalem move

Members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) have criticised Washington’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and warned that it would raise tensions in the area even as Washington stood alone steadfastly defending its decision. The political conflict over Jerusalem could turn into an unrelenting religious conflict, France’s Permanent Representative Francois Delattre told an emergency meeting on Friday. Citing several Council resolutions, he said that any unilateral changes to the city’s status would be null and void. The international community would only recognise modifications of the 1967 borders accepted by both sides, he said in a statement that reflected the broad convergence of views of both US allies and others in the Council. One of the Council resolutions adopted in 1980 specifically asks member countries not to put their diplomatic missions in the “Holy City” considered sacred by Jews, Christians and Muslims. In contrast to the UN, where even Washington’s allies crticised President Donald Trump’s decision announced on Wednesday, there was a broad consensus in the US reflected in a law passed by Congress in 1995 move the embassy to Jerusalem. About 1,000 Palestine supporters protested in New York’s Times Square on Friday evening. Separated by police barriers across the avenue, a smaller group held a counter demonstration supporting Trump. US Permanent Representative Nikki Haley reiterated the Trump administration’s commitment to a peace process and to a two-state solution. “The US has not taken a position on boundaries or borders… The specific dimensions of sovereignty over Jerusalem are still to be decided by the Israelis and the Palestinians in negotiations.” Haley said that it was “simple common sense” to move Washington’s embassy to Jerusalem because “in virtually every country in the world, US embassies are located in the host country’s capital city”. British Permanent Representative Matthew Ryrcroft said that Jerusalem should be the joint capital of Israeli and Palestinian states and the US decision was unhelpful. He said that the expansion of Israeli settlements, particularly in East Jerusalem, terrorism and incitement to violence were barriers to a lasting solution to the conflict there. China’s Deputy Permanent Representative Wu Haitao said that any unilateral actions on Jerusalem’s status could trigger new confrontations. Earlier while briefing the Council, UN’s Middle East Peace Process Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov noted that Trump had said final status issues, including the boundaries, remains to be determined. “It is up to all of us in the international community, as much as it is up to Israeli and Palestinian leaders, to urgently advance a just and lasting resolution to this conflict,” he said, warning of the risks of “being engulfed in the vortex of religious radicalism”. (IANS) // ]]>

General Assembly chief reboots UNSC reforms

Read at Lokmarg

CAN INDIA MAKE IT TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL?

 
Georgia has supported increasing the number of permanent members of the Council, which India wants. UAE has expressed support for India gaining a permanent seat on the Council. While their national stands is not supposed to colour their role as IGN co-chairs, not having someone from a country opposed to expanding the Council could be seen as a plus.

India wants reform process open to ‘world scrutiny’

Frustrated by the secretive machinations that have crippled the UN Security Council reform process, India has called for “opening it up to world scrutiny” so everyone can see what is behind its failure to even taking the “first concrete steps towards real negotiations”. “Transparency in the working of diplomats is a useful adaptation that we can consider in this changing world as a pathway to progress,” India’s Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin told the General Assembly session on Security Council reforms. He noted that even after almost a decade, UN members have not been able to agree on even a document that would be the basis of negotiating reforms. “We need to consider options of opening the process, so that others are aware of what is it that stops the current discussions from even beginning on the path of a negotiating text,” he said. Taking a dig at the failure of UN diplomatic corps in proceeding with the reforms, Akbaruddin said: “Diplomacy, in the modern era, seems to have become too important to be left to the diplomats.” “Modern challenges take the concerted efforts not just of governments, but also of whole societies, and so wider society could be more involved in the diplomatic process,” he added. In a precedent for opening up a traditionally highly secretive process — for the first time the Secretary-General’s election was held in 2016 with a degree of transparency never seen before. The candidates participated in town hall-style meetings where they answered questions form civil society groups and people around the world on their agendas. Akbaruddin, though, did not name any countries or groups responsible for holding up the negotiations to expand the Security Council, which last underwent changes in 1965. An Italian-led group that includes Pakistan, Uniting for Consensus (UfC), opposes adding permanent members to the Security Council and has strategically tried to block the adoption of a negotiating text, taking a self-contradictory position that there needs to be a consensus on reforms before there is a basic document for holding negotiations on reforms. Speaking on behalf of the UfC, Italy’s Deputy Permanent Representative Inigo Lambertini reiterated the group’s opposition to adding any permanent members to the existing five — Britain, China, France, Russia and the US. “We fail to see how a new Council could possibly be more effective, more responsive to international crises, and better able to cope with today’s global challenges through the addition of new vetoes.” India had previously agreed to forgo veto power, at least initially, if it becomes a permanent member, so that does not become a sticking point. Another UfC member, Pakistan, was more forthright in opposing the negotiating text. Pakistan’s Permanent Representative Maleeha Lodhi said that using a negotiating text “will not bridge our differences, it will accentuate them”. Akbaruddin linked the logjam in the reform process to the “recession of multilateralism”. “If this is the ‘new normal’, it does not bode well for multilateralism,” he said. “Never have the normative foundations of multilateral cooperation shown up to be weaker than in this instance.” As for the Security Council, he said: “There is no more vivid reflection of this deepening crisis of multilateralism than the dysfunctional Security Council, which no longer reflects contemporary realities and hence confronts a crisis of legitimacy and credibility.” “No reform of the UN’s peace and security architecture will be complete, without the reform of the Security Council,” he said. “An unreformed Council could, in fact, undermine progress that may be made in other areas of this continuum.” (IANS) // ]]>