India denies USCIRF; maybe Sikhs should use Twitter

Oh India. You can’t hide the skeletons in your closet forever.450px_Religious_syms.jpeg

It appears that the US Commission on International Religious Freedom was on its way to India this week. (The USCIRF is a federal group that works to promote freedom of thought, conscience and religion; protect people from abuses like detention, killing and torture; and challenge religious intolerance and repression throughout the world.) Well, they were scheduled to go, had their tickets ready and their bags packed. But India’s administration decided that they weren’t welcome in India.

It’s really quite ironic. The Congress party’s recent Parliamentary win over the BJP has been seen as an explicit rejection of the religious intolerance that the BJP represents (though it may have had more to do with support for Congress’ economic policies). Yet it is the Congress party administration that has refused USCIRF entry. Maybe the Congress party’s sound defeat of the BJP has swelled the Congress Party’s confidence a little too much.

New Delhi knew that the USCIRF team was scheduled to leave on June 12, but the visas just didn’t get stamped in time. Was it just a rare and regrettable oversight? [After all, with so many tourists flooding the country, a few visas could fall through the cracks right? (HA!)]

No, it was quite purposeful. The team was going to visit Gujurat and Orissa out of concern that judicial processes there weren’t functioning properly and in order to “get them going.” [TOI] The Commission has highlighted past violence against Muslims in Gujurat and last year’s violence against Christians in Orissa. Why didn’t the Commission highlight violence against Sikhs? The Commission was only created in 1998, so it didn’t exist at the time.

The Indian Embassy in DC, which would generally issue the visas after getting approval from New Delhi, acknowledged that the USCIRF team had applied for visas and that the applications were sent to New Delhi, as is standard practice for such visits. But New Delhi didn’t want the USCIRF’s visit.

Sources in the government, without acknowledging that the visas were deliberately withheld, said it was not a proper time for such a visit. “We really dont care about what they report,” an official who spoke on background said. “But a high profile visit seen as having government sanctions would have raised hackles in India.” [TOI]

If the Indian administration’s response to POSSIBLE future criticism is to block access to information, then there is serious cause for concern. And the administration wasn’t the only Indian body to object to USCIRF’s visit. Representatives of the Indian Right in the US called the visit “incomprehensible” and RSS members had been repeatedly inquiring about it. [TOI]

But even as India’s refusal to give USCIRF entry causes concern, it should cause less concern today than it would have 10 or 20 years ago, thanks to the use of social networking sites like Twitter. It’s been encouraging to see how much power the public now wields in getting news out to the rest of the world, as we’ve witnessed with the Iranian response to recent elections.

YouTube Preview Image

With the speed that social networking tools are increasing connectivity, it doesn’t seem like states will be able to hide much at all, as long as someone locally is willing to share the news, whether monitors are let in or not. Even the State Dept. is using Twitter. Apparently the State Department asked Twitter to hold off on its’ scheduled upgrade so the feed from Iranians wouldn’t be interrupted. If only we’d had Twitter and camera phones in ’84.


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54 Responses to “India denies USCIRF; maybe Sikhs should use Twitter”

  1. Ajit Singh Sahota. says:

    "The tyrants can not hide the skeletons in their closet forever" , but the The most Evil Tyrants of Indian regime,burned the bodies with skeletons to disappear victims, and tried to hide the torture cells in Punjab Jails from the visiting Canadian Parliamentarian's visit Jan,15-28,1992,and and pressured the ruling conservative delegate Barbra Green to foil the Truth in her indivisual report, to benefit from the trade carrot!

  2. Venki says:

    This is about election politics. The USCIRF is a US government appointed body and there has been a consensus in India that no such body will have the right to come to India to give it's certificate on India's religious freedom. The USCIRF has never visited India before. What is new is that this time the UPA government said it will allow the USCIRF to come, before the Indian elections, to win the minority vote. Now that the elections are over and the UPA has won, the visas have been refused as expected. This is a cycnical misuse of an issue over which there has always been consensus among political parties in India. This would not have been a news item if the UPA government had not played this game of saying we will allow them to come and then now refusing their arrival.

  3. Ajit Singh Sahota. says:

    “The tyrants can not hide the skeletons in their closet forever” , but the The most Evil Tyrants of Indian regime,burned the bodies with skeletons to disappear victims, and tried to hide the torture cells in Punjab Jails from the visiting Canadian Parliamentarian’s visit Jan,15-28,1992,and and pressured the ruling conservative delegate Barbra Green to foil the Truth in her indivisual report, to benefit from the trade carrot!

  4. Venki says:

    This is about election politics. The USCIRF is a US government appointed body and there has been a consensus in India that no such body will have the right to come to India to give it’s certificate on India’s religious freedom. The USCIRF has never visited India before. What is new is that this time the UPA government said it will allow the USCIRF to come, before the Indian elections, to win the minority vote. Now that the elections are over and the UPA has won, the visas have been refused as expected. This is a cycnical misuse of an issue over which there has always been consensus among political parties in India. This would not have been a news item if the UPA government had not played this game of saying we will allow them to come and then now refusing their arrival.

  5. Arun says:

    Its actually good that their entry is denied. India is a sovereign country and it shall take care of it's internal matters. There is no need for a foreign organization to come and assess the situation. Moreover, the fact that an US organization – a country where there is still substantial religious and racial prejudice should come to India to uphold religious freedom is ironic and shameful.

  6. Arun says:

    Its actually good that their entry is denied. India is a sovereign country and it shall take care of it’s internal matters. There is no need for a foreign organization to come and assess the situation. Moreover, the fact that an US organization – a country where there is still substantial religious and racial prejudice should come to India to uphold religious freedom is ironic and shameful.

  7. Truth Be Told says:

    Arun, the way India "takes care of its internal matters" is state-sponsored terrorism and gross violation of human rights.

  8. Truth Be Told says:

    Arun, the way India “takes care of its internal matters” is state-sponsored terrorism and gross violation of human rights.

  9. Chris says:

    India for thousands of years have protected fleeing religions world over. Minorities are protected in India and climb up the social ladder equally. Having a foreign body come over and give an assessment is absurd. Why can't the body go to Saudi Arabia or even Pakistan? Will they leave those countries alive? Even if they make a critical statement about Saudi or Pakistan, they will be killed in USA by some fanatic. The USCIRF are a bunch of cowards as they know who to prick on

  10. Chris says:

    India for thousands of years have protected fleeing religions world over. Minorities are protected in India and climb up the social ladder equally. Having a foreign body come over and give an assessment is absurd. Why can’t the body go to Saudi Arabia or even Pakistan? Will they leave those countries alive? Even if they make a critical statement about Saudi or Pakistan, they will be killed in USA by some fanatic. The USCIRF are a bunch of cowards as they know who to prick on

  11. Ahmed says:

    The USCIRF has already criticised Saudi and Pakistan in their report last year. Instead of being treated better than that, "Chris" wants India to be equated with these countries. If we have nothing to hide then we should be open.

    The USCIRF would have had no problems to visit anyother state in India. It is only Orissa and Gujarat that are the problem. In our secular country, you have towns and villages in Gujarat with signs "Welcome to Hindu Rashtra". So where is the writ of law and consitiutrion. As long as we have a bunch of Gadhiji's killers (the RSS) on the lose, we cannot be truly secular. Just ban these RSS/VHP goondas like the SIMI was done and problem solved

  12. Hari Singh says:

    Why should Sikhs use twitter? Are they being persecuted in India like people in Iran? Is USCIRF an international organisation that is ratified by the international community? It it perogratives of countries wheather or not give it a visa. I believe India denied it admission not because it want to hide the violence commited against these specific people but rather it legitimizes this organisation to lecture India on religious tolorence, plurality and allows right-wing Hindu goondas VHP/RSS/Bajrang Dal to distrupt Parliament, stop trains, burn buses and harass foreigners. Certainly, that becomes too headache for the government to bear. It is plausible that USCIRF might be given visa later when the new goverment is fully settled that has completely dealt with the goondas.

  13. Ahmed says:

    The USCIRF has already criticised Saudi and Pakistan in their report last year. Instead of being treated better than that, “Chris” wants India to be equated with these countries. If we have nothing to hide then we should be open.

    The USCIRF would have had no problems to visit anyother state in India. It is only Orissa and Gujarat that are the problem. In our secular country, you have towns and villages in Gujarat with signs “Welcome to Hindu Rashtra”. So where is the writ of law and consitiutrion. As long as we have a bunch of Gadhiji’s killers (the RSS) on the lose, we cannot be truly secular. Just ban these RSS/VHP goondas like the SIMI was done and problem solved

  14. Hari Singh says:

    Why should Sikhs use twitter? Are they being persecuted in India like people in Iran? Is USCIRF an international organisation that is ratified by the international community? It it perogratives of countries wheather or not give it a visa. I believe India denied it admission not because it want to hide the violence commited against these specific people but rather it legitimizes this organisation to lecture India on religious tolorence, plurality and allows right-wing Hindu goondas VHP/RSS/Bajrang Dal to distrupt Parliament, stop trains, burn buses and harass foreigners. Certainly, that becomes too headache for the government to bear. It is plausible that USCIRF might be given visa later when the new goverment is fully settled that has completely dealt with the goondas.

  15. Truth Be Told says:

    The truth of India is, "we won't do what's right, and won't let others tell us what's right either."

  16. Arun says:

    @Truth be told – That is absolute rubbish. India is one of the most secular and tolerant countries in the world. There is no other country which can house all the diverse religions that it does in relative harmony and peace. Yes there have been grave mistakes made in the past especially with the Sikhs in 1984, but it is in these kinds of matters and situations we should show our resolve and unity as a country. This is not an excuse to allow a foreign entity to examine us. If you/we are not happy with the situation in India (No country is perfect), then you/we should act towards improving the situation. We are a grown up country and we don't need a nanny in the form of USA to tell us what is right and what is wrong!

  17. Arun says:

    @Ahmed – As you say the problem is mostly limited to Gujarat and Orissa. So it is more of a responsibility for the Indian citizen to rise up against the violations and make their voices count. We should not go and cry foul to a foreign country.

  18. Truth be told's says:

    Wow, this is a from a country where the Sikhs (who are legitimate citizens) cannot even join the army without breaking their religiuos vows. May be you should work to stop the Us army's discrimination against the Sikhs and then worry about the Sikhs in India.

    JFYI: India's prime minister is a Sikh, vice-president is a Muslim, chief justice is a Dalit. What about the US? Everyone in the highest posts of the administration are Christians or Jews.

    @TBT: [i'm not sure what that stood for, but i'm pretty sure it was a personal insult, so it's gone. let's stick to the issues.]

  19. Truth Be Told says:

    The truth of India is, “we won’t do what’s right, and won’t let others tell us what’s right either.”

  20. Arun says:

    @Truth be told – That is absolute rubbish. India is one of the most secular and tolerant countries in the world. There is no other country which can house all the diverse religions that it does in relative harmony and peace. Yes there have been grave mistakes made in the past especially with the Sikhs in 1984, but it is in these kinds of matters and situations we should show our resolve and unity as a country. This is not an excuse to allow a foreign entity to examine us. If you/we are not happy with the situation in India (No country is perfect), then you/we should act towards improving the situation. We are a grown up country and we don’t need a nanny in the form of USA to tell us what is right and what is wrong!

  21. Arun says:

    @Ahmed – As you say the problem is mostly limited to Gujarat and Orissa. So it is more of a responsibility for the Indian citizen to rise up against the violations and make their voices count. We should not go and cry foul to a foreign country.

  22. Truth be told's dad says:

    Wow, this is a from a country where the Sikhs (who are legitimate citizens) cannot even join the army without breaking their religiuos vows. May be you should work to stop the Us army’s discrimination against the Sikhs and then worry about the Sikhs in India.

    JFYI: India’s prime minister is a Sikh, vice-president is a Muslim, chief justice is a Dalit. What about the US? Everyone in the highest posts of the administration are Christians or Jews.

    @TBT: [i’m not sure what that stood for, but i’m pretty sure it was a personal insult, so it’s gone. let’s stick to the issues.]

  23. H ISngh says:

    Arun said:

    There is no other country which can house all the diverse religions

    This is what a Colonial State also looks like- inherited from the subjugation of different ethnicities, races and religions.

    Arun:

    India is one of the most secular and tolerant countries in the world.

    This misinformation is a Ahistorical attempt to hoodwink racism enshrined by the Hindu India. Hindu India practices subjugation of Sikhs as a constitutional policy, a consecration of Hinduism. It rejects Sikhs Sikhi.

    Having a Sikh PM, Muslim VP or a Dalit and using them compensation and excuse for Sikhs is hoodwinking.

  24. H ISngh says:

    Arun said:
    There is no other country which can house all the diverse religions

    This is what a Colonial State also looks like- inherited from the subjugation of different ethnicities, races and religions.

    Arun:
    India is one of the most secular and tolerant countries in the world.

    This misinformation is a Ahistorical attempt to hoodwink racism enshrined by the Hindu India. Hindu India practices subjugation of Sikhs as a constitutional policy, a consecration of Hinduism. It rejects Sikhs Sikhi.

    Having a Sikh PM, Muslim VP or a Dalit and using them compensation and excuse for Sikhs is hoodwinking.

  25. singha says:

    @Arjun

    India unfortunately is not what you believe it to be. It is not just held back by a number of incidents in history, state sponsered terrrorism and genocide have become very common. from the killing of thousands of sikhs in india in 1984 we moved to bombay in 1992 to gujarat in 2002 and many incidents such as the babri masjid indicent. There is no one who can claim india is secular and still justify these happenings as those that define a communal nation. The current situation in south india with violence against christians is a further example. the consitution does not even accept sikhism as a separate religion. Arjun i dont knoe what country you live in but India is a disgrace to the word democracy.

  26. singha says:

    @Arjun

    India unfortunately is not what you believe it to be. It is not just held back by a number of incidents in history, state sponsered terrrorism and genocide have become very common. from the killing of thousands of sikhs in india in 1984 we moved to bombay in 1992 to gujarat in 2002 and many incidents such as the babri masjid indicent. There is no one who can claim india is secular and still justify these happenings as those that define a communal nation. The current situation in south india with violence against christians is a further example. the consitution does not even accept sikhism as a separate religion. Arjun i dont knoe what country you live in but India is a disgrace to the word democracy.

  27. Arun says:

    [Arun- keep the discussion to the issues, not what you think of other commenters. – Admin]

  28. Arun says:

    @Singha, H I Singh – you have two options, sit in a corner and complain for another country to come and help or you can step up and act yourself. "Be the change you wish to see in the world" – Gandhiji

  29. […] Dr. Charles Graves and Dr.Gurmit Singh Aulakh The Sikh Times, UK – Charles Graves – ?Jun 18, 2009? According to the Movement Against State Repression, India holds over 52000 Sikhs as political prisoners. Tens of thousands of other minorities continue to … The Langar Hall […]

  30. Arun says:

    [Arun- keep the discussion to the issues, not what you think of other commenters. – Admin]

  31. Arun says:

    @Singha, H I Singh – you have two options, sit in a corner and complain for another country to come and help or you can step up and act yourself. “Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Gandhiji

  32. Manu says:

    Arjun, [let's be civil. thanks.]

    You and your ilk are always telling the victims of Brahminist terror to "move forward" and "put past mistakes behind". Well the Jews have not forgotten their Holocausts and neither will the Sikhs! Nor should they.

    Neither has the Brahminist regime given the Sikhs any justice or stopped meddling with them: sponsoring Deras to divide Sikhs and corrupt society; holding over 50,000 Sikh political prisoners without charge; no compensation to over 10,000 widows and families of 84 "riots"; continuing torture in police stations; distortion of Sikh history in school books and media painting them as “Hindu offshoot”; diverting over 75% of Punjab river waters to non-riparian states without any compensation; colonial price fixing of Punjab’s agricultural production; monopoly of top positions in bureaucracies and educational institutions by Brahminists who hardly account for 8-10% of the whole Indian population.

    All you want the victims of Brahminist terror and abuse to do is keep “turning the other cheek” to the criminal and totally corrupt regime in India.

    If you really want to put all this behind us – and ensure that it does not happen again – all your government has to do is simply start following Indian law and punish members of the Brahminist terror-nexus (e.g. politicians, army officers, policemen, bureaucrats and thugs working with fascist organizations like Arya Samaj, RSS, Bajrang Dal) carrying out the pogoms, rapes and murders of Sikhs, Christians, Muslims, lower castes, dalits . . . the majority of Indians!

    It is, therefore, natural that many Sikhs believe that to escape the tyranny above and secure their liberty, they need to use peaceful means to achieve a self-ruled independent state (Sikhs were ruling 4 kingdoms from the Khyber to the Ganga in the northwest subcontinent – with combined armies exceeding 200,000 men – when the British “India” empire arrived there in 1850s.).

    Now that Pakistan is on the verge of dismantling, the Brahminists may be better off letting the Sikh go their separate way in Punjab. Otherwise, they are squandering their dwindling resources while their dreaded “lower castes” and dalits are rising through reservation and political mobilization, and will soon be taking power (in one or two elections, they will be in Delhi). They will probably not be as forgiving to Manu’s clan as the Sikhs, who protected them from 1699 till 1972.

  33. Manu says:

    Arjun, [let’s be civil. thanks.]

    You and your ilk are always telling the victims of Brahminist terror to “move forward” and “put past mistakes behind”. Well the Jews have not forgotten their Holocausts and neither will the Sikhs! Nor should they.

    Neither has the Brahminist regime given the Sikhs any justice or stopped meddling with them: sponsoring Deras to divide Sikhs and corrupt society; holding over 50,000 Sikh political prisoners without charge; no compensation to over 10,000 widows and families of 84 “riots”; continuing torture in police stations; distortion of Sikh history in school books and media painting them as Hindu offshoot; diverting over 75% of Punjab river waters to non-riparian states without any compensation; colonial price fixing of Punjabs agricultural production; monopoly of top positions in bureaucracies and educational institutions by Brahminists who hardly account for 8-10% of the whole Indian population.

    All you want the victims of Brahminist terror and abuse to do is keep turning the other cheek to the criminal and totally corrupt regime in India.

    If you really want to put all this behind us – and ensure that it does not happen again all your government has to do is simply start following Indian law and punish members of the Brahminist terror-nexus (e.g. politicians, army officers, policemen, bureaucrats and thugs working with fascist organizations like Arya Samaj, RSS, Bajrang Dal) carrying out the pogoms, rapes and murders of Sikhs, Christians, Muslims, lower castes, dalits . . . the majority of Indians!

    It is, therefore, natural that many Sikhs believe that to escape the tyranny above and secure their liberty, they need to use peaceful means to achieve a self-ruled independent state (Sikhs were ruling 4 kingdoms from the Khyber to the Ganga in the northwest subcontinent – with combined armies exceeding 200,000 men – when the British India empire arrived there in 1850s.).

    Now that Pakistan is on the verge of dismantling, the Brahminists may be better off letting the Sikh go their separate way in Punjab. Otherwise, they are squandering their dwindling resources while their dreaded lower castes and dalits are rising through reservation and political mobilization, and will soon be taking power (in one or two elections, they will be in Delhi). They will probably not be as forgiving to Manus clan as the Sikhs, who protected them from 1699 till 1972.

  34. Amit says:

    [keep the discussion to the issues, not what you think about each other. -admin] I accept that India does have problems related to religious intolerance, but our government is sincere in upholding "Religious Freedom" promissed by our constitution, as far as persecution of minorities is concerned, what do you have to say about Kashmiri separatists who forced out millions of Hindus out of valley (now living in makeshift camps), and what about thousands of Hindus killed in Punjab by insurgents (mind you I am talking about pre-1984).

  35. Amit says:

    [keep the discussion to the issues, not what you think about each other. -admin] I accept that India does have problems related to religious intolerance, but our government is sincere in upholding “Religious Freedom” promissed by our constitution, as far as persecution of minorities is concerned, what do you have to say about Kashmiri separatists who forced out millions of Hindus out of valley (now living in makeshift camps), and what about thousands of Hindus killed in Punjab by insurgents (mind you I am talking about pre-1984).

  36. Alex says:

    As a US Citizen and a devout Christian, I admire Prime Minister Singh in being bold enough to refuse visas to USCIRF members. My country's insatiable desire to meddle in the affairs of other nations is comical when I have seen over the years, local zoning boards here in the US throwing every monkey-wrench possible before they grant permits to non-Christian religious groups to build their places of worship.

    In my humble view, and having visited 75 countries around the world and having grown up in India (I am a naturalized American) I have seen no other country in the world which has shown hospitality to peoples of non-Abrahamic faiths for the last 2000 years as India has. No other country that I know besides India has elected their citizens of "minority faiths" to their highest political posts such as Presidents and Prime Ministers etc. India also can boast of non-Hindu Generals and Admirals, Supreme Court Judges,Governors of States etc.

    It is a shame that the Obama Administration is continuing with the faith-based programs started by Bush and it is also maintaining the shameless breach of the US's Constitutional tradition of "separation of church and state".

    It is true that there have been in India (in recent years), inter-religious strife between Hindu fundamentalists and Christians as well as Muslims. But, all have had their origins from the activities of the proselytizing arms of both fundamentalist Islamicists and Christians who are bank-rolled by foreign sources to either Islamicize India or Christianize India. No wonder, Hindu Talibans are on the rise. The Hindu fundamentalists will all disappear when Christian and Muslim fundamentalists stop trying to convert others and spread their respective faiths.

    As a Christian, I am glad that India has denied visas to members of USCIRF.

  37. Alex says:

    As a US Citizen and a devout Christian, I admire Prime Minister Singh in being bold enough to refuse visas to USCIRF members. My country’s insatiable desire to meddle in the affairs of other nations is comical when I have seen over the years, local zoning boards here in the US throwing every monkey-wrench possible before they grant permits to non-Christian religious groups to build their places of worship.

    In my humble view, and having visited 75 countries around the world and having grown up in India (I am a naturalized American) I have seen no other country in the world which has shown hospitality to peoples of non-Abrahamic faiths for the last 2000 years as India has. No other country that I know besides India has elected their citizens of “minority faiths” to their highest political posts such as Presidents and Prime Ministers etc. India also can boast of non-Hindu Generals and Admirals, Supreme Court Judges,Governors of States etc.

    It is a shame that the Obama Administration is continuing with the faith-based programs started by Bush and it is also maintaining the shameless breach of the US’s Constitutional tradition of “separation of church and state”.

    It is true that there have been in India (in recent years), inter-religious strife between Hindu fundamentalists and Christians as well as Muslims. But, all have had their origins from the activities of the proselytizing arms of both fundamentalist Islamicists and Christians who are bank-rolled by foreign sources to either Islamicize India or Christianize India. No wonder, Hindu Talibans are on the rise. The Hindu fundamentalists will all disappear when Christian and Muslim fundamentalists stop trying to convert others and spread their respective faiths.

    As a Christian, I am glad that India has denied visas to members of USCIRF.

  38. Venki says:

    Alex, If your are C. Alex Alexander, thanks for adding your voice on this issue. For those of you, who don't know him, please check out his article in Sulekha from a few years back.

    http://c-alex-alexander.sulekha.com/blog/post/200

  39. Venki says:

    Alex, If your are C. Alex Alexander, thanks for adding your voice on this issue. For those of you, who don’t know him, please check out his article in Sulekha from a few years back.
    http://c-alex-alexander.sulekha.com/blog/post/2003/05/proselytization-in-india-an-indian-christian-s-perspective.htm

  40. dondo says:

    I welcome the addition of India to the international watchlist. As someone who's a member of a minority community, I'd just like to say I no longer feel safe in India.

    It's obvious that if someone like me, educated and peace loving, and living in bombay doesn't feel safe, it mean's somethings wrong in the country.

    Don't fool yourself, India's not safe for anyone who isn't a part of the majority.

    If i felt safe, I'd not feel the need to comment.

    India is not safe anymore.

  41. dondo says:

    I welcome the addition of India to the international watchlist. As someone who’s a member of a minority community, I’d just like to say I no longer feel safe in India.

    It’s obvious that if someone like me, educated and peace loving, and living in bombay doesn’t feel safe, it mean’s somethings wrong in the country.

    Don’t fool yourself, India’s not safe for anyone who isn’t a part of the majority.

    If i felt safe, I’d not feel the need to comment.

    India is not safe anymore.

  42. Gopal says:

    So much venom from two Sikhs has to be understood in the correct light. 1984 has not and should not be forgotten. What happened in Delhi was unforgivable.

    However( and yes I have to say this), remember that the Sikh Sangat in the Bhindrawale days had not covered itself with glory either. The wedge between Sikhs and Hindus, created at the time of the linguistic division of Punjab, was slowly healing over time because of the deep affinities of blood and belief that existed (and exist even now) when for almost no reason a bogey of persecution of Sikhs was created. Those of us who have seen India from within over the last 4-5 decades have seen how such bogeys become self-fulfilling prophecies due to flawed leadership that yields ground to vulgar sectarianism and megalomania of some rabble-rousers. It was the last straw really to see some (and I mean only some) Sikhs raising this false issue when most of us had almost always held the community in awe for its military prowess, its deep adherence to faith and its general "Zindadili." The "Sardarji" jokes are nothing but a vulgar expression of envy. Even so, if you did a count, you would find a large percentage of these jokes showing the Sardarji as possessing an earthy humour which solved some intractable situations.

    The USCIRF team's intent to visit India has to be seen in the context of a foreigner seeking to comment on Indian failures. I agree we should have no problems in an open democratic society that India aspires to be, to let any one have a close look at what happens here.

    However (again this word), let us also see what end is being served by such a visit. Remember that while the Indian Constitution guaranteed equality to its citizens in 1950 and the country has been striving to achieve this, the US held segragation (another name of apartheid) to be a natural state till 1968, despite supposedly emancipating the slaves in 1865. To be lectured in morality of religion by a country which has killed more than a 100,000 Iraqis as 'collateral damage' is indeed galling. I wonder if the US had ever had the gumption to do so to any overtly Christian country – no not even Serbia.

    Also remember, reprehensible as it is, there was a cause behind each of this bloodshed supposedly by Hindus. I would hesitate to call them Hindus as such action has never been condoned in the form of Hinduism takes at present. There I would agree that it was the deafening silence of the Hindu majority which even if it was acquiescing in the killings did not open its mouth to utter a shout of anger at the killers. It is this guilt that the Hindus have to live with as much as the Germans live with the guilt on their souls about the holocaust.

    Please do not condemn India on only on the strength of its denial of visas to a group of biased foreigners who were in any case pursuing a political and not a humanitarian agenda.

  43. Gopal says:

    So much venom from two Sikhs has to be understood in the correct light. 1984 has not and should not be forgotten. What happened in Delhi was unforgivable.
    However( and yes I have to say this), remember that the Sikh Sangat in the Bhindrawale days had not covered itself with glory either. The wedge between Sikhs and Hindus, created at the time of the linguistic division of Punjab, was slowly healing over time because of the deep affinities of blood and belief that existed (and exist even now) when for almost no reason a bogey of persecution of Sikhs was created. Those of us who have seen India from within over the last 4-5 decades have seen how such bogeys become self-fulfilling prophecies due to flawed leadership that yields ground to vulgar sectarianism and megalomania of some rabble-rousers. It was the last straw really to see some (and I mean only some) Sikhs raising this false issue when most of us had almost always held the community in awe for its military prowess, its deep adherence to faith and its general “Zindadili.” The “Sardarji” jokes are nothing but a vulgar expression of envy. Even so, if you did a count, you would find a large percentage of these jokes showing the Sardarji as possessing an earthy humour which solved some intractable situations.
    The USCIRF team’s intent to visit India has to be seen in the context of a foreigner seeking to comment on Indian failures. I agree we should have no problems in an open democratic society that India aspires to be, to let any one have a close look at what happens here.
    However (again this word), let us also see what end is being served by such a visit. Remember that while the Indian Constitution guaranteed equality to its citizens in 1950 and the country has been striving to achieve this, the US held segragation (another name of apartheid) to be a natural state till 1968, despite supposedly emancipating the slaves in 1865. To be lectured in morality of religion by a country which has killed more than a 100,000 Iraqis as ‘collateral damage’ is indeed galling. I wonder if the US had ever had the gumption to do so to any overtly Christian country – no not even Serbia.
    Also remember, reprehensible as it is, there was a cause behind each of this bloodshed supposedly by Hindus. I would hesitate to call them Hindus as such action has never been condoned in the form of Hinduism takes at present. There I would agree that it was the deafening silence of the Hindu majority which even if it was acquiescing in the killings did not open its mouth to utter a shout of anger at the killers. It is this guilt that the Hindus have to live with as much as the Germans live with the guilt on their souls about the holocaust.
    Please do not condemn India on only on the strength of its denial of visas to a group of biased foreigners who were in any case pursuing a political and not a humanitarian agenda.

  44. Rajinder Singh says:

    The Indian administration is afraid of thousands of skeletons falling out of closets.

  45. Rajinder Singh says:

    The Indian administration is afraid of thousands of skeletons falling out of closets.

  46. pclm says:

    SHALL THE MEEK INHERIT THE EARTH?

    The Vatican Church, according to R.L.Francis, National President of Poor Christian Liberation Movement is unmindful of the dignity and plight of its poorest adherents. Hear him cry foul against the highest office of ecclesiastical authority…

    Did you know the Vatican could very well think of setting up another Vatican in India? Right now, there are 160 dioceses in the country; in the next 50 years, it is set to touch 450. Sixty years ago, we converted from Hinduism and took refuge in Christ and Christianity in the hope of a secure and a caste-discrimination-free existence. But it wasn’t quite the salvation that was promised. The fact is that, of the 160 diocese for a five to six crore strong Christian population (though official estimates settle at 2.5 crore) there are only six dalit and 15 tribal representations. Besides, the local community has no idea about the Rs 6000 crore that comes in through FCRA (Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act) into the country. The Church proposes, the Church disposes… it's discrimination at the worst level of injustice.

    The Church (Vatican) is an extremely powerful entity. It’s not easy to stand up against the Church. Do you remember the Gujarat earthquake – a time when the Vajpayee government had refused funds from the Vatican? Well, if it’s got the wherewithal to extend help to governments you can well imagine the extent of its muscle! According to the Canon Law – the last word in ecclesiastical authority – any land purchased for even a parish is in the name of Vatican, Rome! It’s that exclusionary a set-up.

    There is the clergy and the laity in the religion. We, the latter, are merely expected to attend Mass on Sundays and make donations and that's it. In the capacity comprising 70% of the Christian population, we are seeking a say for the dalits in decision-making; the 40,000 institutions run by the Church ought to have members from our community. Secondly, the selection procedure of the Bishops must lie with the laity and not Rome as is currently the case. The Pope is probably handling more than he is required to, like commenting on another religion and appointing bishops in distant lands. Decentralisation and democratisation would be a step in the direction of genuine benefit for us. Thirdly, they should focus more on development of the community rather than on reservation – that’s not what we want.

    I had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2004 and given a memorandum suggesting something like a development finance board in place of reservations for dalit Christians. Basically the Vatican is pushing for reservation so that there’s nothing to dissuade the 16 crore Hindu dalits from conversions. To send us back to the Scheduled Caste list is akin to betrayal… aastha ka balatkaar hai (a rape of our reposed faith).

    The proclaimed program of ‘evangelisation’ – preaching the gospel – is mainly aimed at getting more ‘converts’, so there are more donations. Did you know the annual Sunday collections amount to Rs 200 crore? Even if just that amount was routed to constructive welfare…

    Jesus was born to a carpenter; His disciples also hailed from the destitute strata of society. He'd once cried, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…” But today, those attracted by the soulful invitation are far from finding anything remotely solacing. The Vatican, I guess, is forgetting the crux…

    Anil Pandey & Indira Parthasarathy

    Sources, THE SUNDAY INDIAN, 21 January 2007

  47. pclm says:

    SHALL THE MEEK INHERIT THE EARTH?
    The Vatican Church, according to R.L.Francis, National President of Poor Christian Liberation Movement is unmindful of the dignity and plight of its poorest adherents. Hear him cry foul against the highest office of ecclesiastical authority

    Did you know the Vatican could very well think of setting up another Vatican in India? Right now, there are 160 dioceses in the country; in the next 50 years, it is set to touch 450. Sixty years ago, we converted from Hinduism and took refuge in Christ and Christianity in the hope of a secure and a caste-discrimination-free existence. But it wasnt quite the salvation that was promised. The fact is that, of the 160 diocese for a five to six crore strong Christian population (though official estimates settle at 2.5 crore) there are only six dalit and 15 tribal representations. Besides, the local community has no idea about the Rs 6000 crore that comes in through FCRA (Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act) into the country. The Church proposes, the Church disposes… it’s discrimination at the worst level of injustice.

    The Church (Vatican) is an extremely powerful entity. Its not easy to stand up against the Church. Do you remember the Gujarat earthquake a time when the Vajpayee government had refused funds from the Vatican? Well, if its got the wherewithal to extend help to governments you can well imagine the extent of its muscle! According to the Canon Law the last word in ecclesiastical authority any land purchased for even a parish is in the name of Vatican, Rome! Its that exclusionary a set-up.

    There is the clergy and the laity in the religion. We, the latter, are merely expected to attend Mass on Sundays and make donations and that’s it. In the capacity comprising 70% of the Christian population, we are seeking a say for the dalits in decision-making; the 40,000 institutions run by the Church ought to have members from our community. Secondly, the selection procedure of the Bishops must lie with the laity and not Rome as is currently the case. The Pope is probably handling more than he is required to, like commenting on another religion and appointing bishops in distant lands. Decentralisation and democratisation would be a step in the direction of genuine benefit for us. Thirdly, they should focus more on development of the community rather than on reservation thats not what we want.

    I had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2004 and given a memorandum suggesting something like a development finance board in place of reservations for dalit Christians. Basically the Vatican is pushing for reservation so that theres nothing to dissuade the 16 crore Hindu dalits from conversions. To send us back to the Scheduled Caste list is akin to betrayal aastha ka balatkaar hai (a rape of our reposed faith).

    The proclaimed program of evangelisation preaching the gospel is mainly aimed at getting more converts, so there are more donations. Did you know the annual Sunday collections amount to Rs 200 crore? Even if just that amount was routed to constructive welfare

    Jesus was born to a carpenter; His disciples also hailed from the destitute strata of society. He’d once cried, Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest But today, those attracted by the soulful invitation are far from finding anything remotely solacing. The Vatican, I guess, is forgetting the crux…

    Anil Pandey & Indira Parthasarathy

    Sources, THE SUNDAY INDIAN, 21 January 2007

  48. http://www.uscirf.blogspot.com is a blog advocating reforms at USCIRF. It highlights current shortcoming like Lack of standard structure and consistency across reports, Conflict of Interest, Lack of transparency and disclosure, Quality of content, Lack of independent verification of IRFA compliance, Faulty premise, Failure to represent both sides in an intra-member conflict etc. It analyzes USCIRF 2009 India report to illustrate and highlight most of the shortcomings. It also makes reform recommendations.

    Table of Contents

    1. Introduction

    2. Major Concerns

    1. Conflict of Interest

    2. Inconsistent Reporting

    3. Error of Omission

    3. Minor Concern

    1. Error of Commission

    4. Reform Recommendations

  49. http://www.uscirf.blogspot.com is a blog advocating reforms at USCIRF. It highlights current shortcoming like Lack of standard structure and consistency across reports, Conflict of Interest, Lack of transparency and disclosure, Quality of content, Lack of independent verification of IRFA compliance, Faulty premise, Failure to represent both sides in an intra-member conflict etc. It analyzes USCIRF 2009 India report to illustrate and highlight most of the shortcomings. It also makes reform recommendations.

    Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Major Concerns
    1. Conflict of Interest
    2. Inconsistent Reporting
    3. Error of Omission
    3. Minor Concern
    1. Error of Commission
    4. Reform Recommendations

  50. Ugly Truth says:

    Most skeletons hiding in India's closet are of Hindus.
    For example:
    There are hundreds of Sajjan Singhs, who have played worse role than Sajjan Kumar in fomenting Khalistani terrorism, roaming freely in punjab. Should not those Sajjan Singhs be hold resposible for acts like Pulling out non-turbaned male passengers from trains/buses and Killing them in cold blood.

    Even self-confessed murderes like Ranjit Singh, who was found guilty of murder by court, was not only forgiven by President of India but also was elected as Jathedar of SGPC.

    Self appointed terrorist Jagjit Singh Chauhan who routinely claimed credit for many killing on BBC freely leaved in punjab until his death with no case and no arrest warrant against him.

    Sikhs should oppose Sajjan Singhs, Murderes like Ranjit Singh, and terrorist like JagjitSingh too. Silenty endorsing Sajjan Singhs and vocally demanding Sajjan Kumar's skull is self-defeating.

  51. Ugly Truth says:

    Most skeletons hiding in India's closet are of Hindus.
    For example:
    There are hundreds of Sajjan Singhs, who have played worse role than Sajjan Kumar in fomenting Khalistani terrorism, roaming freely in punjab. Should not those Sajjan Singhs be hold resposible for acts like Pulling out non-turbaned male passengers from trains/buses and Killing them in cold blood.

    Even self-confessed murderes like Ranjit Singh, who was found guilty of murder by court, was not only forgiven by President of India but also was elected as Jathedar of SGPC.

    Self appointed terrorist Jagjit Singh Chauhan who routinely claimed credit for many killing on BBC freely leaved in punjab until his death with no case and no arrest warrant against him.

    Sikhs should oppose Sajjan Singhs, Murderes like Ranjit Singh, and terrorist like JagjitSingh too. Silenty endorsing Sajjan Singhs and vocally demanding Sajjan Kumar's skull is self-defeating.

  52. I am not against or for India being placed in watchlist and I am glad that USCIRF has prominently covered anti-sikh riots; However, It's coverage can spread disharmony between Hindus and Sikhs. What is USCIRFs agenda? Is it divide and rule coverage? Check http://www.uscirf.blogspot.com

    Most USCIRF report tag 1984 Anti-Sikh riot as “religiously motivated”, “communal”, and indirectly try to blame hindu organisations for anti-sikh sentiments and riots. USCIRF 2001 report blames Sangh Parivar for anti-Sikh sentiments.

    Here are facts from Judicial Inquiry report submitted by retired Supreme Court judge Justice Nanavati http://www.mha.nic.in/pdfs/Nanavati-I_eng.pdf and other credible sources:

    Firstly, According to Nanavati commission, Sangh Parivar saved hundreds of Sikh lives and played a crucial role in restoring peace. This well known role was also praised by ideological opponents and critics of Sangh Parivar, namely, Sardar Khuswant Singh and Giani Zail Singh.

    Secondly, Judicial report also provides several affidavits stating that Hindu neighbors and friends saved lives. Defence group consisting of Hindus and Sikhs were formed, and BJP workers formed committees in their areas to protect the Sikhs.

    Thirdly, Hindus giving shelter to Sikhs were killed. Hindus praying in gurudwara were also killed.

    Fourthly, Prime accused of Anti-Sikh riots are all dyed in the wool Pseudo-Secularist of Congress party whose official ideology in 1984 was Nehruvian Socialism. Nehruvian Socialism is well known for its antipathy towards Hinduism. Most of the accused do not self identify themselves with Hinduity.
    For example,
    First prime accused Union minister Jagdish Tytle is adopted son of Rev. James Douglas Tytler.
    Second prime accused Lalit Maken was a socialist leaning labor union leader and Member of Parliament.
    Third prime accused R K Anand, who was Indira Gandhi’s personal lawyer, defended the Delhi Administration over its alleged role in the Sikh riots, going to the extent of imputing a ‘‘Christian connection’’ to riot relief.

  53. sourabh says:

    As you say the problem is mostly limited to Gujarat and Orissa. So it is more of a responsibility for the Indian citizen to rise up against the violations and make their voices count. We should not go and cry foul to a foreign country.
    The truth of India is, "we won't do what's right, and won't let others tell us what's right either."

  54. Chris says:

    Everyone should have the right to use twitter, being Sikh is no exception. If you cannot create an account, then maybe you could hack an account.

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