SIKH LEADER S.S. MANN ARRESTED FOR MAKING SPEECH; CALLED FOR FREE KHALISTAN; SIKHS SHOW SUPPORT FOR FREEDOM -- HON. GERALD B.H. SOLOMON (Extension of Remarks - January 11, 1995)
HON. GERALD B.H. SOLOMON
in the House of Representatives
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 11, 1995
- Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, the brutal oppression of the Sikh nation by the Indian regime continues. Simranjit Singh Mann, a very prominent Sikh leader, was arrested on January 5 under India's draconian Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act, known as TADA, after he made a speech in which he called for a free and independent Khalistan by peaceful means. The speech was given December 26 at an annual Sikh observance commemorating the martyrdom of Guru Gobind Singh's two sons. After telling the crowd that Khalistan is the only issue facing the Sikh nation, Mr. Mann asked the crowd of 40,000 to 50,000 to raise their hands if they supported a free Khalistan. The attendees all raised their hands if they supported a free Khalistan. The attendees all raised their hands in a clear demonstration of the Sikh nation's support for a free Khalistan.
- When India held state elections in Punjab, Khalistan, in February 1992, only 4.3 percent of Sikhs there voted, according to the newspaper India Abroad. Nearly 96 percent stayed away, despite the military's effort to drag voters to polling places at gunpoint. This is a clear reflection of the Sikh nation's desire for freedom.
- Now Mr. Mann, a former Member of Parliament, again faces charges under TADA as well as sedition charges. Will the almost 50,000 Sikhs who raised their hands also be declared terrorists by the brutal Indian regime?
- India calls itself the world's largest democracy. Do these actions sound like the acts of a democracy? In fact, they sound more like the workings of North Korea, Cuba, or any other dictatorship you can name. If making a speech is terrorism, the word is drained of any meaning I recognize.
- The oppression of the Sikhs must end. The Sikh nation wants its freedom. It is time for India to withdraw its occupying troops from Khalistan and allow Khalistan to achieve its full independence by peaceful means. Until India is willing to allow the Sikh nation to vote on independence, it cannot call itself democratic. Until India recognizes the fundamental liberties of all people living under its rule, it should receive no aid or trade from the overburdened taxpayers of the United States or any civilized nation.
- Only freedom for Khalistan will ensure peace and freedom in the region. It is time for India to withdraw from Khalistan and all the other nations it is oppressing. It is the duty of the United States to support the cause of freedom. We should impose sanctions on India and cut off its aid until India is willing to live by the principles of freedom which define democratic nations. We must take strong measures to support human rights and self-determination for everyone.