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Minorities In India

A scheduled caste

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Unformatted text preview: and raised the Khalistani flag at a Republic Day event. Some of the leaders were held for 50 days without trial. MASR and the ‘Punjab Human Rights Organization’ conducted an investigation of the March 2000 massacre of 35 Sikhs in the village of Chithisinghpora in Indian Kashmir on the eve of the visit of President Clinton to India. It concluded that Indian forces carried out the massacre. The apparent intent was to make use of the presence of the world press to blame Muslims for massacre and vilify the resistance to the occupation of the state by India. A separate investigation conducted by the International Human Rights 4 Organization came to the same conclusion. So did reporter Barry Bearak of the New York Times magazine. Recently in the state of Uttaranchal Pradesh, Sikh farmers were forced out of their farms, which were bulldozed, and they were thrown out of the state. They received no compensation and have nowhere to go to find roof over their heads or livelihood for their families. The truth is that discrimination against and oppression of minority faiths is so widespread that it draws little attention within or outside India. Although outsiders are allowed to buy land in the Punjab, Sikhs cannot buy land in neighbouring Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh. This discriminatory policy prevents Sikh farmers from making a living. It has impoverished them forcing many to migrate overseas. About 50,000 Sikhs were ruthlessly killed by the Punjab Police and their bodies were secretly disposed off to hide the crime. Young Sikhs were abducted, tortured and killed in Police custody. Their bodies were then declared “unidentified” and cremated incinerating all proof of the Indian Stateʹs barbarity. Countless bodies were consigned to the canals which abound in the Punjab. The secret cremation policy was exposed by human‐rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra who was arrested for publishing his report and was murdered while in police custody. Narinder Singh, a spokesman for the Golden Temple, the seat of the Sikh religion, was interviewed in August 1997 by National Public Radio. He told his interviewer, “The Indian government, all the time they boast that they are secular, that they are democratic. But they have nothing to do with a democracy, nothing to do with secularism. They just kill Sikhs to please the majority.” MUSLIMS: The Indian government has killed over 300,000 Muslims in Kashmir. They have sent over 700,000 troops to suppress the people of Kashmir. Amnesty International, in its 2006 Report stated that torture, deaths in custody and “disappearances” continue to be reported. In January, the Minister of State for Home Affairs stated that some 600 people, including 174 foreigners, were held under the Public Safety Act (PSA), a preventive detention law. In October, 44 detainees were released but new detentions were reported. Several people had been held under the PSA for over 10 years under successive PSA detention orders. • Farooq Ahmad D...
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