US lawmakers back demand for probe into anti-Sikh riots

March 18th, 2008 - 10:59 pm ICT by admin  

New York, March 18 (IANS) A US Congressman and two New York lawmakers joined Sikh leaders here Saturday to demand an inquiry into the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in India and punishment for the perpetrators. “I want to join you in securing justice,” Congressman Ed Townes of New York said at a convention organised by the advocacy group Sikhs for Justice. Nearly 500 representatives of Sikh organisations in the Tri-State area attended the convention.

Townes said it was the duty of the US to help preserve human rights around the globe and it has the power to make India listen to Sikhs’ demand for justice.

He signed a resolution passed at the convention demanding a nationwide inquiry into the riots, promising that it would be made a part of the Congressional record.

Legal adviser to Sikhs for Justice, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, showed the signed document to the assembly in Richmond Hills, Queens, a press release said.

New York City councillor Tony Avella said, “I will raise the issue in the City Council and have a resolution passed supporting the Sikhs’ demand for justice.”

Assemblyman Rory Lancman spoke in support of the cause.

What happened to the Sikhs in India in 1984, when about 3,000 were killed in new Delhi alone, was comparable to the genocide of the Jews, said Bakhshish Singh Sandhu of Sikhs for Justice, which was formed in New York four months ago.

Speaking by the phone from Amritsar, Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti condemned the Indian government’s “indifference” to the demand for punishment to the culprits.

At the convention, a presentation outlined efforts of Sikh organisations, in particular Sikhs for Justice, to secure trial of the accused like former central minister Jagdish Tytler.

Surinder Singh, a witness who had deposed against Tytler before the inquiry commission of Justice Nanavati, recounted gruesome killings. He said he had heard Tytler telling his followers, “Sikhs have killed our mother (prime minister Indira Gandhi). Let no Sikh remain alive.”

Master Mohinder Singh, a Sikh community leader, condemned the Bentral Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for its shoddy inquiry into the killings and its refusal to have deposition of Jasbir Singh, a witness in the case against Tytler, through video-conferencing when there is a precedent.

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