ASC condemns the carnage against innocent Sikhs in Shillong, India
Posted By Zaheerul Hassan
On May 31, 2018 attacks by the local Khasi-Indian tribesmen started, subsequent to an argument between a local Sikh woman and a Khasi-Indian bus conductor in reference to a bus improperly parked in Shillong, Meghalaya, India. The Sikh woman was further harassed by the Shillong Public Transport employees, mostly Khasi-Indian, further escalating the issue.
Even though Sikhs and other mediators tried to deescalate the issue, the lumpen element among the attackers were emboldened by the overly charged atmosphere of Hindutva, where no minority is safe and law without any teeth is just a mockery in India.
The local Khasi-Indian community found a perfect excuse to demand that the government act against the Sikhs who have legally settled in the area for over 150 years (since 1853) by deeming them, ‘illegal settlers’. Most of the Sikh families are dirt poor working menial jobs, including sanitation, but live in the central part of the city, making their real estate very valuable.
The Khasi-Indian and other Indians mobs burnt buildings and routed most of the several hundred Sikh families from their homes, many living tin shacks, and sending them into the only Gurdwara ‘Guru Nanak Darbar’ in town for safety. The mobs used Molotov cocktails and iron implements to beat and injure many Sikhs. According to eyewitness reports young Sikh girls have been abducted and molested.
Unable to placate the mob, a curfew was imposed by the state government of Meghalaya on June 1, which continues to date. The government has yet to restore phone and internet access, and the neighborhood has been on a lock down since the ethnic cleansing started. This is a perfect ploy by the Indian government, because then the world will not know of the scale of violence being perpetrated on an unarmed tiny minority like the Sikhs which is being hounded by blood thirsty mobs. Allegedly the mobs have been not only paid large amounts of money but also given expensive liquor to attack the local Sikhs.
The American Sikh Council ASC) is keenly aware through several reliable sources which clearly indicate that the situation is not under control and the Sikh men and women are in dire need of protection. There is an urgent need for food and water and all other necessities as they are living inside a Gurdwara. Videos clearly shows that the Khasi-Indian mobs in the hundreds attacking Sikhs and their properties while the local police officers either simply watch or walking away as though nothing is happening.
The local chapter of ‘United Sikhs’ a NGO has helped with food, water and fire extinguishers but are limited with resources due to several factors and need much more assistance
Religious minorities and women across India doggedly face overwhelming human rights violations, against them on a daily basis.
The Meghalaya police have arrested one Sikh man from Punjabi Line in connection with the assault, but the hundreds of Khasi-Indians who have been part of the attacking mobs have not been arrested till now. There is nothing new about this age old pattern by the law enforcement authorities in India as they are completely controlled by their political masters and made ineffective.
The American Sikh Council (ASC) need not remind the government officials that good governance is based not only on unbiased law and order, but especially taking care of the weak and downtrodden minorities in order to claim being a true democracy. The reality most of the time is quite the opposite and ASC appeals and prays that better sense prevails, otherwise racists governments have no one to blame except themselves.
Representatives of the Khasi-Indian community, however, say that the protests against the Sikh residents of Punjabi Line are the result of the eruption of pent-up anger among the local Khasi-Indian tribal residents, and not because of the parking altercation, as the media has been reporting.
Since the 1970’s the local politicians have been trying to remove the Sikhs from this particular locality. The simmering rage by the Khasi-Indians against an extremely improvised yet hard working group of Sikhs for no apparent reason, except to usurp their valuable land and were simply looking for an excuse to physically drive them out permanently.
Thousands Sikh farmers are being hounded from their rightly owned farms in the state of Gujarat in western India by rabidly racist politicians hand in glove with the land mafia which include the current Indian Prime Minister. The same method is being used against the Sikhs in Shillong in eastern India.
The globally touted maxim of India being the largest democracy in the world becomes a farce, when only the Hindu majority or any of its many proxies browbeat ‘others’ into submission on whim without incurring any consequences.
The American Sikh Council (ASC) vociferously condemns the violence by the Khasi-Indian mobs against the local Sikhs and wonders if the Indian government will continue to turn a blind eye to this and hundreds of other carnages being perpetuated against Muslims, Dalits, Christians, Sikhs continuously for the past many decades.
When will India take the rule of law seriously and stop coddling vested interests, whether the Hindu and/or any political majority versus actually protecting the weakest sections of society everywhere while prosecuting the criminals and ensuring swift justice to make sure ‘all’ are accepted as citizens. Instead it seems to be creating its own problems while blaming its regional neighbors and/or the ‘foreign hand’!
The American Sikh Council (ASC) hopes the current Chief Minister Conrad Sangma who is a Khasi-Indian has the will to be unbiased to bring the terrible situation quickly under control and resolve any dispute amicably and fairly so everyone can get on with their lives and live peacefully.