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THE BETRAYAL OF THE SIKHS (1947-1984)

After Independence, the Congress leaders of India forgot their promises given to Sikh people. These very Congress lead adopted every conceivable postureand shrank from no stratagem to keep Sikhs permanently under their political heel, first, by refusing to form a Punjabi speaking state in which the Sikhs might acquire political effectiveness, and second, by not giving Sikhs and Punjab a special status in the Constitution Act of India.

In 1954, when Master Tara Singh reminded Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru of the solemn undertaking given to Sikhs many times on behalf of the majority community that after Independence Sikhs will be given an autonomous state, he coolly replied, "the circumstances have now changed "

After eighteen years of agitation and suffering, creation of a Punjabi speaking state was announced. But the commission which demarcated the boundaries on the impugned and tainted 1961 census left some of the Punjabi speaking areas out of Punjab state and gave them over to Haryana which was created out of residuary areas. The commission even allocated Chandigarh to Haryana. The problem of getting Punjabi speaking areas and Chandigarh restored to the Punjab became a major issue. Many fasts and counter fasts were kept by Sikhs and Hindus on this issue. Sardar Darshan Singh Pheruman courted martyrdom by fasting unto death on October 27, 1969. He died on 74th day of his fast, renewing the Sikh tradition of sacrifice and martyrdom. On January 26, 1970 Sant Fateh Singh, President of Shiromani Akali Dal went on fast declaring that if demand for restoring Chandigarh to Punjab is not met, he would burn himself alive On February 1, 1970 the Government announced its decision to hand over Chandigarh to Punjab, in lieu of areas of Fazilka and Abohar Tehsil to Haryana.

Due to the split in the Sikh leadership which started showing on the surface in 1960 onwards two factions in the Akal Dal were created: one led by Master Tara Singh and the other by Sant Fateh Singh. The result of these divisions among the Sikhs was that Akali Dal was never able to form a pure Sikh Government in Punjab. In 1967 Akali Dal formed the first non-Congress Government in Punjab with the support of Jan Sangh and the Communist party. After that Akali Dal formed the non-Congress Government twice, but both the times it was with the help of Jan Sangh or Janata Party. It speaks poorly of the Sikh ieadership and politics that even in a state in which they have majority they could not form a government, run purely by their political wing, Akali Dal.

On October 16, 1973 the Akali Dal, when it was not in power, passed "The Anandpur Sahib Resolution." The major provisions this resolution were;
regional autonomy for punjab,
return of Chandigarh to Punjab,
special status for Sikhs in the Indian union,
a supreme court review of Punjab river waters,
return of the Punjabi speaking areas to Punjab,
return of the administration of the Punjab Electric Board as well as the three thermal headworks to Punjab,
provision of a fare share of electricity to Punjab,
and some minor religious demands.

During the 1970's and till the 1980'S the Akali Dal and Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee leaders has been centering around the following leaders: Prakash Singh Badal, Gurcharn Singh Tohra, Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Sujit Singh Barnala, Balwant Singh and Harchand Singh Longowal. But these leaders did not do much to get the Anandpur Sahib Resolution implemented in Punjab. Even when Akalis formed their Government supported by Janata Party in 1977 in Punjab, they did nothing outstanding to ensure that the provisions of Anandpur Sahib Resolution were implemented

They went out of their way to discourage and crush the anti-Nirankari movement started by Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and the Babbar Khalsa as a result of April 13, 1978 incident, in which thirteen devout Amritdhari Gursikhs were shot dead by the Nirankaris in Amritsar.

Particularly, the behaviour of Jiwan Singh Umranangal and P.S.Badal, who were keen to win over Hindus even if it meant harming the interests of Sikhs, was most deplorable. By the time Congress (I) Government came into power again in 1980, the gap between the Akali leaders and Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale had widened

With a view to win over Hindu majority of North India and Punjab, Mrs. Indira Gandhi mischievously exploited the anti-Nirankari movement in Punjab to create communal antagonism between Sikhs and Hindus in 1980. State terrorism against devout Amritdhari Sikhs was started in Punjab through her stooge Chief Minister of Punjab, Darbara Singh, during 1982. As a reaction to the Police terrorism on Sikhs, the devout Sikhs started taking revenge on Police and officials who ordered persecution of Sikhs in 1982-83.

In August 1982 the 'Dharam Yudh' agitation was started under the dictatorship of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal, to whom all Akali Dal members of Legislative Assembly and Parliament had submitted the resignation. In October 1983, the Centre Government imposed President's Rule Punjab.

From October 1983 to June 1984, is a story of political manipulations and mischievous designs on the part of Indira Gandhi to destroy the Sikh faith and exterminate the Sikh people with a view to win over Hindu votes in India.

Indira Gandhi throughout negotiations between Akali Dal and Centre never let the negotiations reach finalization or settlement because she had an ulterior motive. She let the Punjab crisis drag on in order to rally the state's Hindus behind her and in order unify the Hindu majority of North Indian states, all of whom were concerned about the growing shrillness of the Sikh agitation. The Hindu psyche had been poisoned so much against the Sikhs through communication media and mischievous political manipulations that they wanted the Delhi Government to deal more forcefully with Sikhs. By stone-walling the Sikhs, Gandhi was consolidating her position with the Hindu majority , particularly of North India, whose support she considered necessary to win in national elections that were to be held January 1985.

Sant Jarnail Singh Ji, Khalsa, Bhindranwale was one man who had the political foresight and vision and who knew that Indira Gandhi was not finalizing the negotiation because she wanted to derive the politcal advantage out of it. He also knew that all the Akali Dal leaders stood fast supported the Sikh masses of Punjab, could not damage the Sikhs. On contrary, if the Akali Dal leader show split, and entered into underhand negotiations with her, she will not only outmaneuver them, but also defeat the efforts jointly put in by all Sikhs in Dharam Yudh agitation for acceptance of Anandpur Sahib Resolution.

It was the saddest thing for the Sikhs to happen: Almost all the Akali leaders betrayed the Sikhs and Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale for their selfish ends and had secret meetings with representatives of Mrs.Indira Gandhi. They reached a secret understanding with her; they would not stand in her way if she used armed forces to attack Golden Temple complex and destroy Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his associates. All that they wanted in return were minister and chiefminister positions for themselves.

As a result of such underhand negotiations and understanding, Mrs. Gandhi gathered the courage for launching of Operation Bluestar. The Sikhs know very well the details of desecration and destruction caused to Golden Temple complex, as also the massacre of thousands of innocent Sikh pilgrims in Golden Temple. But strangely enough H.S.Longowal and G.S.Tohra were safely escorted to the Government Guest houses! The developments, after they were released from their sanctuaries, clearly show as to what sort of loyalty these leaders had to the Sikh Panth. After playing their political gimmicks, they were again back in their saddles of President Akali Dal and President SGPC. They shamelessly built their palaces of power positions on the graveyards of tens of thousands of innocent Sikhs and on rubbles of the Akal Takhat and other historic shrines. Tens thousands of Sikhs were massacred burnt alive all over India after the assassination of Indira Gandhi, because there was no Sikh leader like Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, whom the Hidhu leaders feared.

Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was a Sikh leader, whom the Delhi rulers feared. For they knew that the Sikh masses were behind him and he could not be bought on any cost; He was a selfless servant of the Khalsa, for, he had transcended all earthly temptations which enslave the mortal beings. He was an example of the true Khalsa, who lived for Truth and died fighting for Truth.

[Courtesy : Bhai Santokh Singh Ji]

A RECORD OF BETRAYAL

1. [1950] The Indian Consitution was adopted. The Sikh leaders did not endorse it because all promises and assurances previously made were ignored.

2. [1954] When jawaharlal Nehru was reminded of past promises, he answered, "The circumstances have now changed"

3. [1956] Indian States were reorganized on language basis. Only Punjab is left out

4. [1966] After a prolonged struggle and peaceful agitation, a Punjabi speaking state was created by divding Punjab further into three states.

5. [1975] Indira Gandhi was found guilty of election fraud by the Indian courts. She suspended the constitution to stay in office. The Sikhs spearheaded a non violent protest against this blow to democracy. 50,000 Sikhs went to jail. Indira Gandhi never forgot that the Sikhs had opposed her one person rule.

6. [1981-1984] More than 250 Sikhs were butchered by Indian security forces in fake encounters. More than 250,000 were arrested during this period while peacefully demanding state autonomy for Punjab and the rest of the state in India and their just share of Punjab waters as envisaged by international riparian laws.

7. [1984] Indira Gandhi's response to the Sikhs was uniquely senseless. From June 5-7 a full scale army attack was launched on the Golden Temple and 40 other temples, killing thousands of innocent Sikhs - men, women and children. Many of the dead have never been accounted for.