Washington, DC: Indian Americans have widely condemned a citation issued by the general assembly of the US state of Connecticut recognizing an anniversary of the so-called “declaration of Sikh independence.”
In an official citation dated April 29, the Connecticut general assembly congratulated a pro-Khalistan organization World Sikh Parliament “in recognition of the 36th anniversary of the declaration of Sikh independence.”
The Indian Consulate in New York condemned the citation and termed it an “attempt by some mischievous elements to use the name of the Assembly for their nefarious purposes.”
“These vested interests seek to divide communities and promote bigotry and hatred,” the consulate said.
“This initiative is from a few fringe elements who have no interest in the state of Connecticut, but promoting their own personal divisive agenda,” said Thomas Abraham, chairman of the influential Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO).
“Indian American community in Connecticut consists of Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Parsis. All these communities live together as one Indian community and Connecticut state has no business to comment on issues pertaining to local issues in India or supporting fringe elements to promote their divisive agenda,” Abraham said.
GOPIO has written to Connecticut State Senators and Assembly Representatives who introduced this citation to dissociate themselves from it.
“There are 20 million Sikhs living peacefully with all other communities all over India and this citation goes against the integrity of India,” said Ashok Nichani, president of the Connecticut chapter of GOPIO.
In a statement issued by the Association of Indians in America (AIA), President Govind Munjal said, “We, the members of The Association of Indians in America (AIA), the oldest national organization founded 55 years ago, are dismayed, disheartened, and bewildered at such cheap shot at India, the largest secular democracy of the world, whom America is very rightly courting at present to play a major role in saving humanity from theocratic and dictatorial states around the world.”
“We are not worried about India, it is big, strong, confident and a highly respected country around the world. India can take care of itself. India for thousands of years have given shelter to the persecuted around the world, present time included.”
Jagdish Sewhani, President, The American India Public Affairs Committee, in a press statement said, “It is highly condemnable & not at all acceptable. President Joe Biden should intervene, as it is open support for an independent state, ‘Khalistan’. This irresponsible act of supporting the secessionist movement in India is absolutely unacceptable. USA the oldest democracy and India the largest democracy share very close and strategic relationships. How can a state in the USA call into question the territorial integrity of India? People of Connecticut are smart and intelligent, this is not the will of the people of Connecticut.”
“Sikhs are a very patriotic and peace-loving community. They sacrificed their lives for India. Sikhs are an integral part of the very diverse society of India. They are in public service, the army, and have been President and Prime Minister of India. It looks like the Connecticut assembly has not done their homework. They have been misguided by a few mischievous elements. The citation has been issued based on total misinformation which has not an iota of truth to it. It is an absolutely misuse, and abuse of the power of the General Assembly of Connecticut. It should immediately rectify the step which the people of Connecticut don’t want,” he added.
Harish Thakkar, AIA-NY President, said, “We, the Indian-American Community, are extremely disturbed to learn of the citation extending congratulatory wishes to World Sikh Parliament on the so-called Sikh Independence Day by the Connecticut General Assembly. This outrageous citation is an affront to India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The so-called Citation is nothing but a nefarious attempt to sow division in the Indian- American community on religious lines and manipulation of the platform of the General Assembly of Connecticut.”
“Our community works hard to contribute to our adopted homeland, the United States of America, and are equally attached to our motherland India and its well-being. We have been over the years working for the betterment of India’s relations with the United States. However, issuance of such documents from the State of Connecticut, not only undermines India but is equally disrespectful of the Indian-American community and imperils friendly relations between the USA and India.”
“We strongly appeal to the lawmakers to recall the citation. While the harm that has already been done cannot be undone, this way, at least we can bring a semblance of responsibility and understanding to the matter. We hope that the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut will not fall for such deplorable attempts by divisive elements again and refrain from supporting any move that is detrimental to the unity and harmony of the community in Connecticut. We remain committed to working with the Government of Connecticut for the betterment of the people of the State of Connecticut and for furthering relations between the United States of America and India,” he said.