Sikh community angered by Indian rhetoric
Election rhetoric aside, Indian government officials have a habit of making statements that are further from the truth – whether it’s anti-Pakistani propaganda or more recent claims that Nardenra Modi had served as Prime Minister when Kartarpur would have been part of India.
In a recently fiery election campaign speech, Indian Home Minister Amit Shah said that if India’s incumbent prime minister had been prime minister in 1947, Nankana Sahib and Kartarpur would have been part of India. The Home Secretary’s statement is similar to those delivered at past campaign rallies to bolster the Bharatiya Janata Party’s narrative of throwing mud in Pakistan to boost electoral support.
Dr. Kalyan Singh Kalyan, who is the first Sikh professor in the Punjabi department of Government College, Lahore, expressing his disappointment at the statement, said the minister should be wary of making lofty statements, especially when today still, the Sikh nation regrets its 1947 decision. “The treatment of Sikhs and other minorities by the BJP-led government is horrendous. The Sikh nation today strongly hates the Akalis whose elders joined India in 1947 instead of Pakistan and voted them out. Therefore, Amit Shah’s statement is a joke.
Dr Kalyan was of the view that if India’s Home Minister had any doubts about the position of Sikhs today, he should look within and realize how hateful BJP rhetoric has shattered the Secular India. “BJP policies cannot unite India; rather they encourage violence against minorities, which we have seen lately,” he said.
Pakistani Sikh leader, Sardar Bishan Singh, reiterating Dr Kalyan’s sentiments that if the Sikh leaders had not made a mistake in 1947, then Amritsar would have been part of Pakistan. “What did India do for the Sikhs that Amit Shah made such a statement?” he asked. Highlighting the plight of Sikhs in the neighboring country of Pakistan, Sardar Bishan said that the Golden Temple, the holiest place for Sikhs in India, had been attacked, the Indian army had entered it with tanks, that hundreds of innocent people had been killed and Sikhs had been massacred in 1984.
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“To date, the Sikh Marriage Act has not been enacted in India,” Sardar Bishan said. “If their memory is faint, their treatment of Sikh farmers in Punjab last year is before us. So Amit Shah should be ashamed to make such a statement.
Sardar Bishan Singh and Sardar Amir Singh, head of Sikh Committee Gurdwara Prabandhak, who is the representative of Sikhs in Pakistan, said they were lucky to live in Pakistan, which was the birthplace of Guru Nanak Devji and his final resting place. Sardar Amir, denying Amit Shah’s past claims that the Modi government was responsible for the success of the Kartarpur Corridor, said the whole world knows that the Kartarpur Corridor came into existence through the efforts of the Pakistani government.
“The Modi government opened the corridor due to pressure from Sikhs all over the world and even now Sikhs are being prevented from coming to Pakistan through the corridor by various tricks and excuses. Amit Shah should compare Sikhs living in India and Pakistan and see who lives more freely and refrain from making such ignorant statements,” Sardar Amir told The Express Tribune.