Page 1

Vol. 2 NQ. 3

New Delhi 6 February - 21 February 1987

Fortnightly

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Rupees Two

Mystery Surrounds Military Movement~ Zia, Rajiv Adopt Symbiotic Offensi~e Postures Baljit Malik ver since early November last ye¥ when there were large scale train cancellations, speculation has been rife that all has not been 'Well on the , Indo-Pakistan border. India has been claiming that Pakistan, . in addition to harbouring and infiltrating terrorists in"to Punjab, has also been massing its forces alon~ the border. , Pakistan, on the other hand, has been -accusing India of whipping up an antagonistic antiPakistani atmosphere to divert public atteljtion from domestic troubles. Commentators have also suggested that it suits Rajiv . Gandhi to maintain a high pla,ea of military tal.k, exercises and demonstrations. It makes him popular ~nd helps to project him as a tough leader. Undoubtedly, the Prime Minister does need propping up as his public image and rating have nosedived to an alarming extent in the last few months. As we '~\l to. press, it has been can finn< (I that Gen. Zia will soon be hert iO watch his country take India on in cricket. Earlier il"\ December, Zia and Gandhi had reassured each other dUling SAARC summit in Bang~ore that ~ey would not do, anything to allow their respective \ defence forces' military exerci~s to spill over tnto yet anoth~r lindo-Pakistani war.

E

except in a genuinely imminent war si tuation. That such was not the case, became evident to the editors, who were told that Pakistan ,had positioned its formations in combat readiness on the western front between the twd Punjab:;. The Army chief reportedly also told the editor-s that India had been caught napping, and therefore there was an ,urgent need to move . troops to the Punjab border. According to reliable sources, the pressmen ' were neither impressed nor-convinced. Brasstacks: India's Bigge'st Ever ,..ilitary Exercise

Scepticism afth the press briefing increased, especially when it was widely known that since November'86 the Indian Army . had been deployed in planning. and carrying out its most extensive and expen'sive military excercise ever. Code.! named} Brasstack.5, the exercise involving all three ~ngs of the defence forces, is expected to continue till March. Pakistan has also been carry~ ing out its own share of military games, though observers point out that the scale has not been anything near the level of Brasstacks. . Writing in the Sunday Observer (Feb 15, 1987), the well known political cormnentatdr Rajinder Puri offers a clue to the riddle behind the military movements: Unprecedented Press Briefing ."On November 6 last year, an ( It is now known that Gen. incident occured involving one Sundarji, the Army Chief, con- MIG 27 accompanied by fo'ur vened an u.!1p~eden , ed meeting . MIG 21s overflying Pakistani terof a select @"'QI!P of Delhi-based rito'!)' which somehow led to editors on FriGiD' January 16. It Pakistani fears that India har- ' was an unprecedented briefing, boured imminent designs on because it lasted almost four Pakistani nuclear installations at hours. Such briefings, it is Kahuta. If this information is' known, do not take place . Continued on page 7 .

NEWSHOUND

The Akal Takht: Bhindranwale agrfted not to store arms here (see Kuldip'Nayar's story inside); .the Army destroyed i.t; the government rebuilt it; the militants ,razed it to the ground and then began ' Kar Seva to reconstruct 1(. \ I

,

. I

Support Akal Takht Initiative, Release Mann · I

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Jethmalani's Plea To Support Akali ,Unification Pro.cess Gazette News Service Ram Jethmalani, the emi• General Reaction nent lawyer, made a fervent Referring to, the general pubplea on Saturday ' February lic and press reaction to the 14th not to read alarm signals u.nity moves initiated by the in the High Priest's call to Acting Jathedar of the Aka] create a unified Akal.i Party. Takht, the Supreme court lawHe aruged that the Panthic yer advised restraint in the viewpoint could be seen in . manner of reading 'danger' in secular terms. He also pointthe priests' actions. It was ed out that the overlaying and Wrong, he said, to react like the overlapping of religion and Times of India editor had done politics was not peculiar. to ' in his comments on Febl1JaI)' the Sikhs. The debate on this 10th to the effect that the priissue was not staJ;'ted by lfte ests were Khalistanis or a front Sikhs alone. The question of of Khalistanis. Instead, there the .separation of religion and . was need to strengthen the role politics, or their mixture, was tion and how to end the vioa long range issue for which lence being perpetrated by of the priests and hold them to there were no instantly avai- state \agenoies and various their honour. Mr. Jethmalani informed his lable form ulae. The imme- groups who have taken the li steners ' that Prof. Darshan diate problem in Punjab was law into their own hands. Mr. how to find a political solu- Jethmalani was addressjl)g a Singh 'Ragi, the Acting Akal Takht Jathedar had assured meeting of the , Safurday Hatbhajan Singh Sandhu, forLunch Group at New Delhi's merly Minister of Agriculture in In~ International Centre. the Barnala government; that the priests were not only Departure From Convention opposed to terrorism as well as, unique feature of the Khalistan, but determined to . combat it. discussion was that i departure from a Saturday Group convention that Simranjeet Opposes Khalistan everything said is strictly in The. former BJP leader said he house and off the record, Mr. could vouchsafe for the fact that Jethmalani specifically requested Simranjeet Singh Mann who has that his remarks and views be named to head the United Akali given the ~dest possible publi- Dal, and is at present lodged in city.

By

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Contin!Jed on page 11 col4


F8rum ------_________________ Gazet~-----------------------

The Eleventh International Film 'Mela' By Srimati Lal

,

Srimati La} rellects on the recently concluded India International Film Festival of India. This review, however, does not cover the Indian entries in the festival, which we hope to review in a forthcoming issue of the Gazette.

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q The trou'"" ble with ~ Internat' F iona\ flIm " " Festivals held in the capital is that they invariably resemble Roman orgiastic feasts, Too much fare is laid

i

out: most of it is overcooked, a fair amount of the menu is strictly suspect or stale, and in the much glamourised centre of most of the attention, the International feature film section, you search in vain for cohesiveness, serious direction ¡or any kind of order, If opposites attract, you 're sure to find them in the audiences to the mela for Phoren films : the Greim Park nouveau-liche (to use critic Amita Malik's apt description) mingle rather awkwardly with snooty high-brow self appointed

film connoisseurs who choose to look icily and elitistly through all the rabble, the dilletantish' nobodies, The resulting ambience: an absurdist hotchpotch, You are left wondering whether the whole affair had been taken even slightly seriously by the venerable Mrs, Malati Tambay Vaidya, Managing Director of the NFDC, and her august company, Given a bare minimum of three months in which to assemble the total tamasha, even a well-meaning executive director like Urmila Gupta could hardly do very much to help matters. International Section:

Of the hundred films screened in the main international -section, only 10 per cent were truly significant contributions, A whopping 85 per cent were either sheer mediocrities or horrors plumbing the depths of siUy sensationalism which ironically, attracted teeming, insatiable crowds, , ,-;Such powerful works as Tarkovsky's The Sacrifice, the poet Yevtushenko's Kindergarten (USSR), Ettore Scola's Le Bal, Alain Cavalier's Therese (France). Panoussopoulos' Mania (Greece), Carlos Saura's Love, the Magician, Picazo's Extra Muros (Spain), Jesus Diaz's Lejania (Cuba)'s Jarman's Caravaggio, Loach's 'Fatherland (UK), and Von Trotta~ Rosa Luxemburg (Germany) were, alas, placed in very undeserving company. Two films which were uniformly castigated by 'serious' critics for being sensational, dishonest and exploitative Walter Lima Jr.'s Chico Rei !Brazill and the Cannes prizewinner, Roland Joffe's The Mission (UK) - actu3.lly deseJVed more praise than they received. Joffe's 'The Mission .faced the firing-squad of our critical cog-

10

impact is chilling, within a deceptively simple framework. ") wonder what goes on in those Am~ricans ' minds," says a woman whose children died, 'The think they are smart, but actually they are crazy, , , don 't they know that all life is precious? They are smart about the wrong things," is her analysis.

6-21 February 1987

noscenti mainly due to the fact that it nad elbowed out Tarkovsky's The Sacrifice for the best film award at Cannes in 1986, While Tarkovsky's film is undoubtedly uncompromising and brilliant, The Mission has an impressive emotional impact within its own more commercially-oriented framework. The dramatic conflict between the bureaucracy of the Roman Catholic church and, its 'radical' Jesuits who choose to confront the actual life of less-developed nations outside, has considerable contemporary relevance, and the story of a young priest, Father Gabriel, and a mercenary Rodrigo who establish a mission in the remote rain forests above the Ig,uazu F'Vls in South America in the last century, . is genuinely idealistic, After the mission has become established and successful, a dispute from - the Roman Church over "liberation theology" begins, and ultimately the Guarani Indians are ordered to leave the precincts of the mission and return to their previous life, Emotionally attached and involved with the life of the mission, the Indians choos fight against this decision, together with Father Gabriel and Roodrigo, who violates his vows of non-aggression and takes up arms against the White forces. The film is technically superlative and has a taut narrative structure, with excellent performances. Tarkovsky's The Sacrifice, of course, far superior in terms of its complex creative structure and introspective philosophy: a soul-search for meaning that is vitally connected with our immediate nuclear environment. The central protagonist (who

seems to represent the emotions of the author of the film) makes a promise to himself that he will 'sacrifice' all the trappings of his material existence if the world can return (for him) to Its original state of meaning and being, The progress of his anxious soul through a series of personal revelations and choices leads to a cataclysmiC finish when he bums down his house

and possessions, then tries , desperately to escape being recaptured by his bourgeois family and the medical establishing, who consider him a lunatic. But

he is, at last, free. his soul no longer inhibited by the shackles of self-annihilating western 'civilisation'. The Sacrifice is a disturbing and difficult film to watch, ,making uncompromising demands of sincere involvement from its viewers. The French direCtor Costa-Gavras at the Festival rightly described it as a prophetic-work, one thl\t was ahead of it times. Mania by Panoussopoulo.,

Dennis O'Rourlce, Outslanding documentary film maker from Australia

like The Sacrifice, is a searing rejection of western materialistic civilisation, delineating the development of one woman's soul from the depersonalised confines of a computer-hitech age towards an inner revelation of universal life and love, The most impressive apsect of this film is the manner in which the impressionistic visuals become exact metaphors, of a state of mind, with impeccable and sensitive artistry. Scattered Focusses The separate focus on AsianPacific Cinema, retrospectives of Luis Bumnel, Werner Herzong and Mikio Naruse, and the Documentary and Wildlife film sections were far more serious packages, But all of these simply could not be done justice to" due to their being screened simultaneously at venues as far apart as Andhra Pradesh Bhavan, Azad Bhavan and Archna Cinema within the festivals's , all-too-brief 2-week span, Such arrangements are insensitive and unpractical, belittling both the films and their audiences, It would be far more sensible to arrange for special retrospective screenings after the main international and Indian sections are over, But a totally non-serious organisational approach to the festival, as some kind of abundantlycolourful tamasha, continued to prevail. /

Documentary '87

The presence of the significant documentarists Santiago Alvarez from Cuba and Dennis O'Rourke from Australia at the Documentary '87 screenings resulted in worthwhile interactions with their audiences, O'Rourke's scathing film Half Life (1985) that inaugurated the

documentary section was one of the most moving works at the festival. In 1954, the u.s, tested its first Hydrogen Bomb, 'Bravo', around the Marshall Islands' Rongelap and Utirik Atolls of the Pacific which were then [ 'S ,

.

In Couldn 't Be Fairer (1984), O'Rourke reveals the shamefully racist, opprpessive conditions in which Australian Aborigines live, An Aboriginal activist, Mick Miller, categorically states: 'We are living on the fringes of a white, afIluent society, treated as 5th clalss citizens, We are truly strangers in our own land." The films Yumi Yet 11976) and Ileksen (1978) document , Papua's attainment of inde- I..: pendence from Australia and its first elections, In visual and poetic tenns,

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territory, part of "the big ' \11 1<'1'1 can family" as Reagan was later to express it Terms of the UN strategic Trust agreement signed in 1947 had laid down that the US was to "recognise the principle that the interests of the inhabitants are paramount. ... to protect their fundamental rights and freedom". In actual fact, the US displayed a shameless callousness in their H, Bomb testing, that left the islanders with skin bums, cancers, miscarriages, future deformities and a variety of shocking ailments resulting from the spread of 'nuclear show' sedimentation thaI settled two inches deep, in which Rongelap's children were seen to play innocently. The islanders had not been warned, evacuated on time, or rescued by nearby patrolling US ships during the ' event, which was later dismissed by US officials, covering their tracks, as a "mistake, caused by unforeseen shifts in wind patterns". . O' Rourke, who considers himself a "political outsider", is married to a New Guinea woman and has a deep emotional link with the life of the pacific islanders on whom all his films are based, Half Life integrates a personal series of interviews with the affected islanders within a tightly organised background to the event, that is, at face value, completely objective and unobtrusive, The

I{ool'kes The Shark Callers of Kontu (1982) stands out as a

()

striking portrait of an ancient and disappearing culture. The traditional New Guinean pattern of hunting the shark in manmade rafts has the solemnity and spiritual significance of ancient ritual. It connects the solitary hunter with nature's forces and the spirits of his seafaring ancestors, This tradition is now fast being rejected . ' by young Papuans, who prefer ) to attach themselves to westernised lifestyles and status symbois which are seemingly more 'advanced' and 'progressive' bottles of beer, rum and pepsicola, and cassettes of reggae and disco have attained fierce levels of popularity. Traces of the so-called 'savage', 'backward' traditions are being rapidly rejected with embarrassment rhe resulting ambience of incongruity and awkwardness is faSCinating casestudy material. O'Rourke's documentation of a disappearing tradition, that will die with this generation of shark-callers, has a haunting, elegaic quality, and contains powerful levels of significance for urban westemised Indians as well Alvarez Santiago Alvarez's 7-minute short on racism in American, Now! is a classic in tenus of its shee.. style. Fitted within the Continued on page 17, col 4


F8'rum ____________ ____________ Gazettc Bhopal documentary

"Beyond .Genocide" Wins Legal Battle eyond Genocide" a documentary rum on lite Bhopal gas disaster, produced by Tapan Bose and Suhasini Mulay, has been heldup by lite Censor Board which wanted the producers to make certain cuts in the film. Since they were only willing to make two cuts the producer.s rued a petition in the Bombay High Court. We

B

give below the report on the judgement as published in the STA11lSMAN ol:m January 1987. Mr justice Daud of Bombay High Court yesterday directed the Central Board of Film Censors to issue a universal screening certificate to the documentary film, "Beyond Genocide," whthin a week and ruled that the Boafd should bear the cost .t[ru·f the case. The film deals with ~he events immediately following the Bhopal gas 'Ieak disaster of December 3, 1984. The film was submitted to the Censor Board in August 1986. The Board decided to screen it before an expert committee to ascertain whether some of its portions constituted as contempt of court or defamation. The Censor. Board then advised the producers of the documentary to make six cuts' in the

film . The produ cers were agreeable to only two. On December 11, 1986, they filed a petition in the Bombay High Court ques- ' tioning the basis of censorship of films and documentaries in particular, as well as pleading for an early certificate from the Censor Board. In his judgment, Mr Justice Daud said the petitioners had been forced, to move the court having had enough of the red tape generated by the respondents', However, he declined to go into the subject of ~ensor­ ship in general, because notice had not been given to the Advocate-General, as was required in cases wherein Central Government laws operated. The cuts required by the Censor Boal'd included the title and dedication of the documentary, two comments in the background commentary, and a reference to the Prime Minister in the course of an interview with a victim of the disaster. The producers agreed to delete two sentences in the commentary. One in the first reel, said that "the Government had destroyed all records of MIC poisoning". The other, in the third. reel, commenting on a demonstration taken out by the MIC victims in Bhopal, said that "the demonstration remained peaceful despite provocation from the police and agents of the ruling party". The producers claimed that they were willing to have these two sentences deleted as they were not supported by photographic evidence in the film. Regarding the title of the film "Beyond Genocide". Mr. Justice Daud felt that it was "merely a dramatic way of announcing the subject of the documentary, and takes the subject beyond the ordinary concept of genocide as the deliberate extermination of a race or group, to the

A still from "Beyond Genesis "

_---'"1

realm of a tragedy beyond comprehension". At the start, the film is dedicated to "those killed by Union Carbide". Mr Justice Daud ruled that since the leakage of MIC from Union Carbide's plants in . Bhopal had caused the tragedy, "in metaphoIical sense it would not be an error to describe the victims. as th ose killed by Union Carbide". He pointed out that the word "kill" did not necessarily imply wilful cause of. death and did not exclude deprivation of life by accident Regarding the subject of the interview, one of those intervievved in the film, a victim of the gas leak, had been asked if the Prime Minister had visited the site of the disaster, and had replied in the negative. The Censor Boalu apparently felt that this was a slur upon the Prime Minister. On this Issue, Mr Justice Daud ruled: "Such undue sensitivity is not expected of the Censor Board .. . I do not read anything in the law which enables officials of the Censor Board to utilise their office to protect the image . of this or that dignitary". Expressing the opinion that the documentary under dispute "is . an appraisal of what exactly transpired, the untold harm that industrialisation has brought about, the interaction ' and connivance of multinationals and .what we may loosely describe as the ruliing establishment in India and else where". Mr Justice Daud said at the conclusion of a detailed judgment, that 'the Censor Board had displayed "exaggerated suspicion in this case. The test of contempt of defamation "is any direct obvious and undeniable" material of that, natu re in a film He added that "having regard to all that has been said and written about Union Carbide, I don 't see how any words used in the commentary would excite greater contempt". He also pointed out that "in any case, Union Carbide and anyone else who may be offended by the film are quite capable of taking care of themselves". In conclusion. Mr Justice Daud said that delay ' on the part of the Censor Board means the locking up of the Skill and money of a producer for unfair lengths of time. "Censoring a film is a sensitive task, and if months and years are taken, it would be impossible for any but the most banal <if films to get a 'U' certificate", he said .•

Other Significant Assertions. Continued from page 1, col 5

miserable conditions in Bhagalpur Jail, was "perso nally op'posed to Khali stan". In addition he had given his lawyer lJe thmala nil a singned statement, of which a photo-copy and typed transcript are printed below. The document, the meeting was informed, had been referred to the Prime Minister. But the government opposed Mann's bail application because it believed that the terrorists respected him. Ram Jethmalani said he was flabbel'gasted by th e official attitude. He felt that if the terrorists respected a person who was opposed to terrorism, what bett er opportuni ty could there be to breakthrough the existing stalemate. As all other options had been more or less exhausted, it was necessary to try the o ption being initiated by the High PIiests.' '.

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Even now, the situation in Punjab was very different than on the sulface. Contrary to the . atmosphere that has been put across by the electronic and print media, Punjab was not full of Khalistanis. According to the speaker there were about 3000 youth who were underground, about 1000 were in prison and 400-500 were opertaing fro m across the border. The former BJP leader from Bombay felt that most of the militant youth were prepare d to surrender on an hon ourable basis. It was neither too late nor impossible to initiate a dialogue with them He strongly believed that the new initiative fro m the Akal Takht was a silver lining, which could break through the dark clouds of despair. Barnala a good man, was no regarded by the people as a surrogate of the Centre. It was time for him to go.. .

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Qu es ti ons to Which I wa nt y ou r amwe.r.s to ba ab1 3 to llIe \€ a I Spl! 6SEntati on a nd .irart pe tition to High c autl . Supr Gme Coat. (1 ) Do yoo. wont t he democ r at i c A. Yes. I have al ways b een and .el ectoral p.I: oces s to a Bur:';Quc rat. ' I want be r G6shbl1she d in Punjab? pet]ce . (2) Do you r e c og nise tha t t his

is not poo sibl e uru GSS peac:s is c ompl a t ely 6s t a blish e d and t e xr ol!iBm endud?

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I h ave alw£ye e too;1 f tI: pe ace and w:>'J. t ten et:cmgly agalmt tex:col!ie m in my c ommunlcat1.o1: .. with GOI c :CnJ:lent.

(3) On xel£8se will you do every t h i ng y 00. ca n t o 8 t op vial cn 09 and es t abliB h Hin du S i kh Un it y?

J.. Yes , au t nnat i cally

(4) Have y ou .iOniJ any t hing t o f oomen t publ i c .iisorde l! ; H5ve you ev e r oxcache d v i olence , murd e r. a l'S on , et c?

A. Neve l!.

(5) Can I ~ xte nj t hese assu re m es t o t he Court of Law and t h e det a i ning au t hority or it s S upa: .lor ?

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foll o.vs . I su pp ort th e a c col!d s t:c orgl y but ' wan' complet e amn esty f Ol! all so tha t it 8 tre~ thens t he e ccol!d an d .iJ..min 1..etE: h at xed.

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(6) He ve you o l"\Y c om pl a int ab ou t y oo. r c ondit i on ir. Jall ?

6-21 February 1987

11


Viewpoint I • Minority Rights

• • • •

Civil Liberties Equality tor Women Democratic Valu • • Envlronmenta' Protection

Roadblocking The Khalistan Phenomenon In the pattern of events following Opera ti on Bluestar in 1984, and even earlier, events in Punjal:i co ntinu e move speedily in the direction of a dead-end . Down Ihe line from the Cent re to the common person in vi llage, town and city, there is a general se nse of anguish, disgusl and anger. Thi s is the feeli ng across t he class, community, religious and regional divide. Yet, somehow the general sense of concern over what is happening fail s to be converted into a clear effective res po nse which could offer a workable solution. The Rajiv-Longowal Accord was an effective respon se, even though it was beset wi th certain problems relati ng to the con trary int erests of Punj ab, Haryana and Rajasthan over the transfer and sharing of territ ory and water. The Accorq also gave ri se to hopes that the basic human rights of the Sikhs and all sec tio ns of the people woul d be guaranteed and that justice wou ld be done to all those who had suffered in the wake of Mrs. Gandhi's assassinati on. There was ample scope wi th in the Accord for effective political leadership to be able to tide over the difficulties of implementing it. To an extent, both Barnala in Pun jab and Bansi Lal in Haryana provided the necessaty initiative to carry out a holding operation while the Centre could get on with the job of pushi ng forward wi th the Accord. But Raj iv Gandhi and his government in Delhi fa iled to honour their part of the deal. (See Open Forum, adjoining page) The recent and latest round of happenings in the Golden Temple in Amritsar: The defeat of Barnala's candidates in the SGPC elections, the event s in the Golden Temple on Jan uaty 26 and the latest swift moves by the acti ng jathedar of the Akal Takh t dissolving all the political factions of the Akali Dal and declaring Barnala to be a tankhaiya and excommu nicating him-all these event s on ly show that those who are supposed to ru le this country, prefer to wait for event s to over-run, and even overpower them instead of dealing wi th events by an ticipatory action backed up with a non-sectarian nationali st perspective. Whenever the crisis reaches near boiling point, there is an upsurge of solidari ty with Barnala. Barnala the weakling gets suddenly reincarnated int o Barnala the brave! If the press at all reflects the general mood in the coun try, it is Barnala the brave these days who has stood up to the variou s edicts being issued from Amritsar with the fury, foam and ferocity of the Niaga L~a Fall s. Sometimes the people also wish that he woul d, show the same courage and integrity while deali ng wit h the Centre. Bu t even if the Pun jab Chief Minister manages to come across in the 'sava lakh image' (one Sikh equals 1 '/, lakhs of others) in the imagination of some, he alone can hardly be of much use in finding a way ou t in Punjab. That is if we wan t to set up a roadblock in front of the Khalistan phenomenon . It should be clear tha t a mi litary and paramilitary roadblock will simply not do. What is required is a roadblock constructed with material drawn from political action, impartial enforcement of law and order and dialogue with all sections in Punjab who stand for a solu tion within the framework of a truely federal and democratic India. -

12

6-21 February 1987

Bitter Harvests of Government Policy in Punjab Gautam Navlakha

The writer , who is on the editorial staii of the Economic and Political Weekly, is actively inw lved in the civil liberties and democratic rights movement. He argues that there is an obvious corelation -between anny action in Punjab and the increase in terrorism. He also warns against more accumulation of power by the Centre as it would further deprive the slates (including Punjab) and citizens of their democratic .rights.

T

accused for not framing the l'\Jles for th e Tel1'Orist Act '1985 in the past · t8 or so months, once again with few non-left opposition members denouncing the Act. Leave aside th e pl'Oblem of selling a precedent fo r curtailing th e powers of the States and the citizens, there is the im medi ate problem of assessing the past ex perience of Pu njab. The step-u p in the Centra l Govel1l ment's actions from 198 1 onwa rd s, impositi on of Governor's ru le in October 1983, leading to

he absence of a coherent policy on Punjab is broug-

ZCP UI'. This furth e r unde rlines the co-r ela tio n be tween a rmy ac tion a nd te r ro ris m. In other wo rds the cause be hind te rroris m have to be s oug ht in proe«!ssess tha t e merged o ut of na rrow party interests , fed with proc rastina tion and adhodsm le nding credibility to th e Akali Oa l agi tatio n , An d it rea lly came in to its o wn with a rmy actio n in Punjab and indiffere nce towards amelio ra ti ve Illeausres.

ht out wi th a l'e gulaJity which remains unmatched. How else ca n one explai n the recent debate in Parliament mi sing Ollt

of the cold-blooded ki lUng of 25 bus passengers at Kfleda in Hoshiarpur? \,Vi th a lew c,'(cepl ions,

frohl all corners of Pa rliament th e one- point dcmand was for Centra l interven ti on, on the groun ds tha t th e co un try's u nity and in tegri ty was in danger. The pani cky reaction ad ds poignan cy to the emaUnrehearsed Mind ciated un dcrs tanding of the In the enti l'C debate, theresituation in Punj ab, of reducing it to just it law and ordcr fore, qu ite surprisingly, there was no one \-\'.ho spoke of the problem. need to implement the Pu njab It need s reitera tion that leI'rori sm in Pu njab acqui red Accord. The di sptay of anger unco nt ro llable proporti ons only and impatient appeals for Centra l intervention from the left aft er "Operati ot) Bluest;:lr" in June 1984 and especially the mirror the unrehear'Sed mind. November 1984 carnage fo llow- H OIV else can one explain the ing Mrs. Gandhi's assassina tion. left 's condemnation of the The Pu nj ab police have stated Government for no,t "using" its that the flight of you th, from the I l'C.cent~y enhanced pourers to !lOrder di stri cts of Pu nja b 10 fight telTv l'ism in Punjab? The Pakistan bega n aft er Jun e 1984, use of the Terrorist and Disl1J pshowing a perceptible rise after tive Activities fpl'evenlionl Act 1!J85 and amendmcnt of Article November 1984 . Theil' age group is reported 10 be t8-35, precise ly I 249 of the Co nstitution Ito make the persons so ught by sec urity it possible to deploy the anny forces during "Operat io n \.yood- along the in ternat ional bordCl'S1 rose" fo r "interroga ti on" in the WCl'e cited, without any disapthree bOl'der districts of Guru- ' proval, for' ap plication in PunAmritsar and Fero- I jab. And the Government was

I

"Opera tion Bluestar" show that bri nging a State un der Centra l ru le implies emasculating a problem to a barc law and or'der dimension. An d this misperce ption turns the problem into a crisis. Thc Govlern ment's own figures, itS given in the white pape!', an d the r'evela ti on by p rominen t per'Sons, privy to the Akali Oal-Cen tre negotiati ons, bring ou t hO\<\' time and again political. settlemen t was scu tt led. How ca n we, therefOl'e, ignore th e lessons of the l'ecent past that re pression compou nds th e error'S of political equ ivocation and makes a crisis unmanageab le? Terrorists ca n only be countcmd by ;mmabiJis;ng them politic" l1y .

Terrorisation T he t 984 a ttack o n th e Golden Te mple came as a tra umatic sh ock for the Sikhs, "Ope ratio n Wood rose" compou nded th e s hock with the in disc rimina te tcrrorisatio n of th c youth in border districts, a nd th e Novc mber carnage made th c community numb. Aga ins t alt this sca rce tittle has becn do n e . As a resul t, if despite th e mos t (gruesom e killings a ttributed to terro .... is ts, thcy can operate so impude ntly it · is not jus t because of popula r fear o f terro r ists, it is also becausc in Punja b the Sikh community sees this a s a fight be twecn two kinds of te r ror, of which it justifiabty favours m;ith er. Miscalculation Admilled ly, the Central Gover· nm ent miscalculated in not winning over Bada l and Thora. Bu t the short coming of the Punjab accord lay more in under es timating the resilience of Badal and Tohra, not in the accord itself. But to the above was added the d ilatory tactics of the Cent re when it came to im plementation of the accord, punishing the guilty of the November carnage, or not showing much in terest in offering to have a di alogue with still overgrou nd youth orga nisa ti ons in Punjab. The etection of Tohra as th e SGPC chief defeaLing the ca ndidate of the ruling faction of the Aka li Oal only shows that a political solution requi res that the 'moderat es" or the established politicat orga nisation Continued on page 22, call


F8rum _____________

O_=-pe_D_F_o_rum _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Gazettc

P.M. AND THE ACCORD

Amnesty,International's Concern For Jodhpur Prisoners.

B.G. Verghese t his press conference on January 20 the Prime Minister stated that the Akali Dal must stand by the Punjab Accord: "There must be some honesty, When we coine to this, there must be some integrity and you have to stand by what you have signed," Who would disagree? Mr, Hajiv Gandhi was referring to the temtorial clauses of the Accord pertaining to Chan· digarh and certain other border adjustments, Section 7,2 of the Accord says that a Commission

A

of reference also governs the exchange of border village as a unit", which term of reference also governs the exchange of border villages in adverse lin·

guistic

possession

of either

State by another , Commission under 7,4, The 7,4 Commission has not yet been appointed, On June 20, Mr, Rajiv Gandhi declared that the 45,000 acres identified by Justice Venkatarmiah "come under 7.4 and can· not be transferred in lieu lof Chandigarhl, , under 7,2", In other words, Mr Gandhi wants Punjab to transfer 70,000 acres of Hindi·speaking areas in lieu of Chandigarh in violation of the vel)' principles of contiguity, linguistic affinity, and village as the unit Iwhich Justice Mathew found he could not dol or to hand over 70,000 acres of Punjabi·speaking temtol)' to Haryana, which would go right out side the Accord, The language of the Accord is precise and plain : Only Hindi· speaking areas can be transfer· red to Haryana in lieu of Chan· digarh, It is not and can never have been the intention of the shall determine "the specific Accord to transfer Punjabi· Hindi-speaking areas of Punjab speaking areas to Haryana, Sec· which should go to Haryana in tions 7,2 and 7,4 are not differ· lieu of Chandigarh," Justice ent in content - as Mr. Gandhi Venkataramiah determined that mistakenly argues - but only 70,000 acres be transferred to in sequence and timing, which Haryana by Punjab in lieu of is what the Accord again clearly Chandigarh, He was, however states. It is Mr, Gandhi who must able to identify no more than 45,000 acres of transferable stand by what he has signed, Hindi speaking temtol)' on the C-U Dewan Shree stipulated principles of "conti30 Ferozshah Road lity and linguistic affinity with NEW DELHI-I village as a unit", which tenn

Indias' Women: They Will Not Take Oppression for Ever

IRA ROV DRAWING COURTESV , ARTIST

Human Rights Organisations, civil rights workers and Journalists in India have been flooded with letters from Amnesty Committee members in Belgium, W,Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, U,SA, Canada and other countries covering various innocent persons held without trial in Jodhpur Jail since early June 1984, Below we reproduce a typical letter received from Belgium Brussels, January 29th 1987, Dear Sir,

As a member of Amnesty International in Belgium, I remain concerned with the case of some of the 365 people arrested since early June, 1984 and detained in Jodhpur Jail. In view of the fact that there seems to be a number of detainees among them who were not involved in violence but were praying in the temple of Amrit-

Violence Reporting Sil',

As a !'egulal' rea der of the 'Gazene' I should like to share a few words with you. Firstly I cong!'a tlilate you for the y~o­ men service the magazi ne doing through it s fine stories which are infOimative, educative and instru ctive. It was said the Punjab Govern ment was going to publish a white paper on The Media', es pecially the role of the press in reporting violence. It is a good subject to take up and I suggest, OUI' magazine takes a 'look' at the subject \vith articles wri tt en by journali sts, sociologists, political experts, etc, Yo urs Sincerely III BHASKARI Sub-editor, News Today, Eenadu, Vijayawada, And h!'a Pmdesh

Gazelle News Service sar, Amnesty International is investigating the case of the following persons: 1, Mohinder Singh 2, Nirmal Singh 3, Smt. Pritam Kaur 4, Rajinder Singh 5, Randhir Singh I am begging your help to elucidate the present situation of these people, wishing to know whether they are still jailed, and if so, on which ground, Will there be a trial, and when? If I am eager to enquire abou t this, it is because, as you may kn ow, Amnesty International is a worldwide movement, independent of any political authorities, ideology, religious and/ or economic interests. It seeks the release of prisoners of conscience arrested because of their beliefs, colour, sex, ethni c origin or religion, who have

The Media Foundation

nei'ther used nor advocated \~o­ .Ience and seeks a fair trial for ,all political prisoners, Hoping to receiving factual information that ·could corroborate - or invalidate - Amnesty International's own sources, I remai n, dear Sir, Amnesty Group 43 James A,G, BEKAERT Rue des Va llees, 36 524 1 Vinae'mont. Belgium,

J.D. Cunningham Sikh School

The Indian Coun cil for Sikh Affairs has acquired 10 acres of land in the vicinity of Chandiga rh to build a public school along modern lines for ' the needs of the coming genera ti on The Award, being presented of the Sikhs, It was primarily fo r the sixth year, is open to conceived to rehabilitate Sikh any journalist associated with children affected by the wideany newspaper, magazine or spread anti-Sikh violence of news agency or broadcast November, 1984, It will now be organisation in India in any expanded to accomodate oth er capacity for excellence and children as well, The Panjab sustained endeavour and more Govern ment has expressed its pru1icularly to those who have approval and promised a gra nt shown a high degree of social as soon as the School starts concern and relevance in their functioning. Other private instiwork, Pathfinding efforts \vill tutions like Sir Sobha Singh also merit recognition. Charitable Trust have committed themselves to giving assistExamples of work done ance in th e building operati ons, dUling 1986 (and earlier yearsl Plans for · the school building may kindly be enclosed where have bee n approved and we possible and references cited expect the foundation stone to should further consultation be be laid sometime in March, t987 necessary. The Co un cil has constituted Entries will be judged by an THE SIKH FOUNDATION TRUST independent JUl)' of three to manage the affairs of the persons whos~ decision shall be School. The members of the Board of Trustees are: S, Chofinal. ra njit Singh, Bhai Ashok Singh The work may be in any Baglian, S. Surjit Singh Atwal, S. Indian language or English but Saran Singh, lAS, lRetdl, S,Tarmust be published in India, lochan Singh Sawhney, S.JasPhotographers, cartooni s ts, wa nt Singh Sandhu and S, Baldesigners and editors are not dev Singh Bal. Exemption u/ s 80 G of the LT, excluded, Act 1961 is granted to th e Trust Nominations/ entries should be for the period of 3, 12. 1986 to 31,12, 1987, vide Order No, CITreceived by the end of February 1987 and the Award will be VI/ TE 11701/86/ 1271 dat ed 8,1.1987, prese nted towards the end of We appeal to yo u to give us a March 1987, helping hand in any way you Kindly do send in your nomination and spread the can. Contributions in cash, cheques or bank dra fts may be word, drawn in favour of THE SIKH FO UN DATION TRUST Olav send to the SecretaI)', The Sikh December 16, 1986, Foundation Trust, 45 Chand B,G VERGHESE Nagal', New Delhi : 110018, CHAIRMAN Khushwant Singh Address:C-1l Dewan Shree, Chairman The Sikh Fondation 30 Ferozshah Road, Trust. New Delhi 110001.

ominations are invit ed for 1986 Cha me li Devi Jain Award for an Outstanding Woman Journalist.

N

6-21 February 1987

13


F8rum ______________

_Vi_le_wp...=o.-0_in_t_II_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ GazcUc

Punjab Problem Its Genesis_And Solution By Satlndra Singh

Why has the Punjab problem steallliy and Inexorably deteriorated ewr since the fol'mation of the unilingual State In Nowmber 1966? 'I1tis question has InIrilC!Jed all Punjab watchers and poUtIcaI analysts because Punjabi Suba was caned ostensibly to meet the SiId1 aspirations for a dominant political I'Ole In their "traditional homeland"_ he key to the answer to this prickly question is provided by two star witnesses: The (late) Sikh savant, Sardar Kapur Singh, who was the undisputed ideologue of the Akali Party and the late Prime Minister, Mrs Indira Gandhi, who vehemently opposed the AkaIi demand in the beginning and then grudgingly conceded it in a truncated form. Both the Akali leaders and Mrs Gandhi "accepted" the fait accompli, but they never reconciled them. selves to it. Sardar Kapur Singh, whose knowledge of Sikh histOIY, Sikh Ipre and Sikh psyche has remained unmatched so far, sounded a warning while speaking on the Punjab Re-organisation BiD in the Lok Sabha on September 6, 1966. He opposed the Bill on three countes: " Firstl~ it is conceived in sin; secondly, if has been delivered by an incompetent and untrained midwife; and, /hridly, it is opposed to the best interests of the nation as it will cerlainly lead to a weakening of national integration and loss of fuith in the integrity of those who exercise politi~al power in the counlIy . .. Through truncating its (PunjabHipealdng) areas, throuSb diwstiog it of its utility undertaldngs In public sector, and through neutrall8lng its limps of gownunental app8ratus and by robbing it of Its capital city (the Centre has reduced) the Punjab State Into a .dorifled ZiIa Parishad _ _ , (II has) not only harmed Punjab and Punjabls, but also has sown the seeds for future public unrest and political Instability" Sardar Kapur Singh's prophetic warning was not heeded. It was dubbed tJippant, cynical, communal and even ridiculous. Retrospectively, it is apparent that he showed not only a rare understanding of Punjab politics, but also of the working of Mrs Gandhi's mind. This is evident from the revelations 'made by none other than the late Prime Minister herself in the book. entitled, My Truth, based on long tape-recorded interviews with Emmmanuel Pouchpaddass. Mrs Gandhi'. Candid Conle..lon

T

In the book, Mrs Gandhi candidly confesses: "When _the Punjabi Suba demand was on, I

14

6-21 February 1987

Had the unilingual State been formed purely on the linguistic basis, the population percentage of the two major communities would have been almost equal and not as at present Sikhs a little over 62 per cent ilI1d Hindus around 37 percent the rest being Muslims and Christians. this sowed the seeds of "communal warfare" in the new State which is now raging in all its ferocity in the form of Sikh telTOrism and growing militant Hindu chauvinism. Following this "miscegenous union" forced on Punjab, Mrs Gandhi installed her party's other poeple on the Parliamen- ministry under Giani GUlTllukh tIII)' Committee on Punjabi Suba Singh Musafir in the State as well. There were three of us. rather than wait for the general I went to (Y. BI Chavan apd said election, which was just four 'I had heard that Sardar Hukam months away, to derive political Singh, the Speaker of the Lok mileage, But the people's verSabha, who was Chairman' of dict went against her party, On the Commillee, was going to March 8, 1967, a United Front give a reporl inJavour of Pun- MinislIy, headed by the AkaIi jabi Suba and that he should be leader, _Gumam Singh, was stopped. Of course, it was for formed. the Government to take the Mlnl.try Toppled decision, but once the Prime ThIs was not to be IIIdn.Ic of Minister's appointee ' had declared himself in favour of Pun- Mrs Gandhl_ Through ner jabi Suba, how could we get out minions she engineered the of it?" Every time J would ask downfall of the Gurnam for an appointment, Shastriji Singh Ministry in less than would say: 'Right now we have nine months by luring Lacha meeting. But why don 't you hman Slnda Gill and 18 other AkaIi legislators to defect. On staloil after the meeting? 'The meeting would go on for Nowmber 25, 1987, Gill fol'hours, and he would have med the minority Gown>another appointment or it ment with the support of Mrs, would be very late. One day a Gandhi's party_ II lasted untD similar thing happened; one August :U , .I988, .meeting went on till 2.00 or Akall's Unite; Jana Sangh 2.30. That was the time when ProJects Hindi cerlain allegations had been The toppling of the united made against (T.TI Krishnamachari, But Shastriji had said that Front Ministry brought the two we could stay on and talk to varnng' AkaIi factions together. In the mid-term polll in 1969, him - all three ofus ... "I said to Chavan: 'If we get the AkaIi Dal emerged as the out of this room we are never largest party, winning 43 seats. going to get in again and that The CongresS(IJ was relegated to reporl is going to be written any the second position with 38 day now so, I think, we should seats. Gumam -Singh again just stick here, however awk- became the Chief Minister, heading an AkaIi-Jana Sangh ward it is for us or for him '. "Chavan Said: 'Look. what is coalition. But the Ministry could the point in our meeting and not complete 13 months in our getting bet up about it if he office because of two basic rea(Shastrijil is dealing with it? He son. One was the endemic fachas met our Committe but he tional trouble within the AkaIi has not bothered about it . .. Dal and the other was the unreasonable demand put fol'So, why should we bother?" "But I was very bothered and ward by the Jana Sangh for I went around seeing everyb- grant of equal status to Hindi ·with Punjabi as a medium of ody" (pp 117-1181. instruction in educational instiPunJab Denied PunJabl Areas tution. By unabashedly lmcouAs a result of Mrs Gandhi's raging Hindu communalists as efforts (and by that time she well as Akali dissidents, Mrs. had become the Prime Minis- Gandhi's men 'Were able to pull ter), purely Punjabi-speaking down the Gumam Singh Minisareas like Kangra, Simla, Sirsa, try on March 27; 1970. The AkaIi Legislature Party Fatehabad, Ratioa, Ganganagar, etc. were denied to the new (Sant group) unanimously elecunilingual State of Punjab. ted Parkash Singh Badal, who Chandigarh, which was spe- was Minister for Development cially built to compensate East in the outgoing Ministry, as its Punjab for the loss of Lahore to leader. He did not waste time to Pakistan, was made a Union secure;--once again, cooperation Territory. All this was meant to . of the eight Jana Sangh legislaconfine Sikhs to the minimum tors, thereby raising his sUPPOI'of territory and , to "save" as ters' strength to 51 in a 104many Hindus as possible from member House, But the marriage of convenience ' between their domination.

_.

,

the AkaIi Dal and_ the Jana Sangh did not last long due to the mechanisations of the CongresS(IJ. The Jana Sangh soon realised that they were no more than sitting targets for their proCongresS(IJ AIya Samajist opponents and they /lastened to quit the AkaIi Ministry on June 30, 1970, to prerserve their Hindu vote bank. Akall Overtures To _ Congress-(I)

AkaIi Dal with Gumam Singh, the CongresS(IJ's Trojan horse, playing the desruptive role. He came to an u'lperstanding with the CongressjJ! for ousting Badal. But the laller outmaneouvred him -by advising the Govemor, Dr. D.C. Pavate, to dissolve the Assembly, After its dissolution, President's rule was imposed on Punjab on June 15, 1971. Mrs, Gandhi Wreaks Vengeance; Euphoria 01'71 War Again, soon after her triumphant retum to power in early 1980, Mrs. Gandhi ordered the dismissal of the two and a half year old AkaIi Ministry Ileaded by Badal to wreak political vengeance than anything else. Thus, the Congress(l) did not allow any AkaJi.dominated

To save the MiniSiry, the AkaIi leadership approached the CongresS(1I high command for some kind of agreement or alliance. To humour it, the AkaIi Chief. Sant Fateh Singh, even issued a statement reiterating his party's faith in the socialistic pattem of society. The CongresS(IJ did not disappoint the Akalis. Its basic policy perception of denying a

The Chief Ministers of Punjab D" Gop; Cilaru/

Bhnr ga.,a

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J8·10-49-2()'651 21-6-64-6-7-64 Com . Rll1JI KlsluuI

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8-).67- 2,4..11_67 ]7-2-69-26_]_70 S. LAchhnlDn Singh GW

25-11-67- 23·8·68

S. pQrkoll, Slfi gh

Giafli ZaN Sin,,,

JlGdDl

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dominant role to the Sikhs in Punjab seemed near realisation. But its calculations once again went awry. Gumam Singh rejoined the AkaIi Dal on November 26 that Year. As a result of the merger of the two factions, the strength of the AkaIi Dal went up to 55. This emboldened the Akalis to spum the Congress(I) offer of adjustment of seats in the March 1971 mid-term poU to the Lok Sabha. the CongresS(IJ won a landslide victory mainly because of its populist slogan of 'Garibi Hatao '. The Akalis could win just one out of 13 Lok Sabha seats. After the rout, intemal dissensions/ again! surfaced 'in the

ministry to complete its fuD term ewn once_ II unashamedly IndnJged In the toppUng gsme, ThIs did not endear It to the SiIdl _ _ But the euphoria created by India's victory in the IndoPakistan war of December 1971, the Congress(I) won the assemblyelections held on March 11, 1972. It bagged 66 seats and its underdog ally, the CPI, 10 seats. Giani ZaiI Singh was swom in as Chief Minister on March 17. He remained in the saddle untD April 30, 1977, when his Ministry was dismissed by theJanata Govemment at the Centre on the specious plea that the Lok Continue on page 21, coil


F'8rum______________________ _______________________Gazeettttee

Posterity Will Tell

The State and Religion

Who Destroyed Punjab - The Centre or the Akalis

Says Kuldip Nayar While condemning Rajiv the pieces now that most of Gandhi's shocking appeal Akalis are also set to destroy to anti-Sikh sentiment to whatever is left. harvest votes in the 1985 I have great respect for the General Election, and the Akal . Takht and when I saw it , ' b'l' t for the first time a!ter Operagovernment s Ina t Ity 0 tion Bluestar I could not eat protect Sikh life, the author meals that day because a points to the dangers. of a bruised and battered building state within a state emerg- was not what I had imaginud, ing in Punjab, He overs I am not a Sikh but every that by their recent actions, ' Punjabi has the Akal Takht the high priests in Amritsar and the Harmandir Sahib are closing ' the debate, part of his ethos, whereas debate is a vital . Bhindranwale Agreed Not To part of the democratic Store Arms process, When I had come to know that the Akal Takht had been used as an arsenal I had condemned it. This was G.5. Tohra 's doing because the AkaI Takht head priest at that time, Giani Kripal Singh, had told Jarnail Singh Bindranwale not to cany anns into it and the latter had accepted the advice. But Tohra's pressure had made the Akal Takht head priest give in because ultimately all priests are the employees of the Shiroman i Gurudwara Parbandakh Committee ISGPC) over whom Tohra presided then and pret is not correct to say at this sides now. stage that had the govern, AIms or no anns, the destrucment not messed up the tion of the AkaI Takht did injure Punjab issue, the situation the Sikh or, for that matter, the would have been different Punjabi psyche. And I hoped because it is of little use now. against hope that whatever the For the last six years I have dictates of politics, the AkaI '1iainly opposed New Delhi's Takht would not be brought ' pproach to the state's prob- into it again. I have been proved lems but all my wamings and of wrong. Once again the head those like me have fallen on priest of the AkaI Takht, along deaf ears. with other head priests, have My impression was that Mrs involved themselves in the Akali Gandhi did not want to settle politiCS. the problem. But Rajiv Gandhi Their job is how the people too played politics. When he are facilitated in their prayers, took over I saw a glimmer of how the Sikhs are guided in rapproachment. His appeal to their religious affairs and how anti-Sikh sentiment during 路the the gurdwaras are managed and last election was shocking. And run properly. Who should be the administration's ineffective- ' the chief minister or who ness to curb the riots in Delhi should hold which portfolio is in the wake of Mrs Gandhi's not their job; it is the responsiassassination aggravated the bility of legislators and the problem and I noticed the Sikhs voters. Surjit Singh Bamala was distancing themselves from the . elected by the legislature party mainstream. of the Akali DaI, which in tum, But when the accord was was elected by the people of signed between Rajiv Gandhi Punjab. IAfter supporting ' the and the late Sant Harchand priests Captain Amarinder SinJ Singh Longowal, Rajiv Gandhi gh, leader .of the breakaway tried to efface part of his mis- Akali group, has said in a takes. Despite the senseless kil- statement: "We are a demolings b the militants and the cratic party". I do not know police brutalities, I did not give why such people talk of up hope. Even today I have not democracy? but I feel frustrated and sad. That the government is to India Cannot Be Ruled From blame for alienating even the Temples, Mosque, Gurudwara moderate Sikhs is not someOr Church thing which is difficult to infer. Not many people are enWho is a blame more, the government or the Akalis, who amoured of the Bamala split among themselves to dis- gowrnment, which has been sipate their strength, only the sectarian and corrupt in its rule, But the question here posterity will be able to say. We are too near the events. is not of the gowrnment My saying that the government but principle, In a demois responsible for the situation cratic system the fate of in Punjab does not really help governments is decided in because things have gone an assembly or Parliament, beyond that stage, And they ' are not in a temple, mosque, deteriorating so rapidly thai one gurudwara or church, Imadoes not know who will pick up . gine, India's paUty if Farooq

I

I

Abdullah's government were to run by a masjid in Srinagar, NTH's from Tirupati temple, and the Meghalaya's from a church, Then why to hold elections at all? Priests of different religions can come together and decide who should be in power where and how long, Why to stop at the chief minister, why not issue flats to Sikh officers, police men and others as the high priests have done in the case of MPs and MIAs, Even in theocratic states the people and not the priests elect the government. I can imagine the various Akali 'groups working for the downfall of Bamala's government and they seem to have tried. But I cannot imagine them taking shelter behind the Akal Takht after having failed in their efforts to wean away elected members from Bamala. This is also sets a dangerous precedent because the SGPC, whose employees the priests are, will become the ultimate authority. Since the election. are held on the joint electorate, Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims and Christian. have voted for the AkaIi and other candidates, how can a body of Sikh. - and that too which has outli..,d its

Swarndeep Singh

eligion is it hou sehold phe nome non, and polit ics a wa y of life with mos t of LI S. The' mi xtu re of th e Iwo is too evident 10 be ignored . To ill ustrate th e concept of the association of stale polit ics and re ligion we can lei his!OIY speak

R

for it self. Retraci ng our s leps to th e advent of human civilisation - in the Nile valley labout 5,000 B.C.I "ve tind that the Egyptians revere d their king. th e Pharoah, as a representative of the Sun God, Rah, the diely whom they worshipped. All the laws fOlmulated by th e king, who was God incal'l1a te, were considered as th~ word of God. So grea t was th e regard for, and fear of Ihe Pharoah, that defying him meant trespassing against God.

,S tate Religions

In Japan Shint o 路is the name given to th e indigenous religious beliefs and prac tices. Shinto remains closely connect ed with the Japanese \lalu(' system and the Japanese pea路 pie's way of thinking and acting. Shrines for "Kami " Idivin e superior) were set up and th e "Kami " of the whole nation and people, to which offprings were made by the state evel)' year. "Shinto ceremoni e:; and politica l affairs are one and the same" was the motto of officials, and Shinto was given priority in the Japanese Constitu tion of 1889. Buddhism is the state religion of Thailand, since 1873 it has been regarded as a peaceful means for bringing abo ut the political unity of the count!)'. Nepal, till today, is a Hindu Kingdom and Sri Lanka, a Buddhist countl)'. Jesus of Nazareth founded Christianity in the 1st centul)' A.D. and Christi anity had established itself in the first 500 years as the state religio n of the Roman Empire. The Church rapidly gained importance and cast its shadow on _all spheres of life, especially state polities. England, during the reign of Henl)' VIII 11509-1547), rejected submission to the Pope, but the Church of England was born as a manifestation of ProtestantAyatollah ism, under the tutelage of Thoterm by three years - undo mas Cranmer 11489-15561, Archthe will of non-Sildt voters, bishop of Canterbul)'. This was presuming that the SGPC a rejection of the medieval catholic system by the state. speaks for the Sikhs? The awarding of Uni ted NaThis is another kind of dictation s recognition to Vatican City torship; it demands total obedience. The difference between the residence of the Pope-fits totalitarian and democratic sys- into the pattern of the associatems is that in the first, there is tion of religion and the political an order and people change; in state. Thus we find that the state the second, the people change has always had a say in relithe hands which give order. The Sikh religion 路is anti-thesis gious activities and religion has of dictatorship become in it the an inseparable role in the affairs of the state. Sangat lassembly) is at the top. Legitimate grievances, wheAn Indian tradition ther relating to territoI)', river water, detenus or anny dese~ In India too, the epics, Ramaters, should have been red- yana and Mahabharata, clearly ressed and all Punjabis should depict the union of religion and Continued on page 16, col 4 politics. Even today, Ram Rajya

~ ~/a'S

is postuiated as un Utopia that prevailed during the reigion of Ram, son of King Dasra th, and an 'mrtar' of the Hindu Trini ty. The Ramayana, re lat ing episodes of Ram 's life, excile and ru le and describing the social establishment of that era, is the most sacre d of the Hindu texts.

At the February '86 Sumst Khatsa in Anandpur Sahib, Religion, politics and duty Can the three combine into a happy mix.

Thus. Ham was bOlh a spiJitual and a temporal king whose way of life remains a beacon light to the followers of the Hindu religion even today. The Mahabharata embodies the Bhagvad Gi ta, which is a dialogue between Lord Krishna, ano ther 'avtar' of the Hindus, and Arjuna, before the war with the Kauravas commences. The Gita explains the philosophy of life and occupies a place, only second to that of the Ramayana in the Hindu religion. During India's AIyan period, the king, at his coronation had to take an oath by which he promised to be loyal to the religion, te> protect the Brahamans and the laws of the realm. Buddhism and Jainism Buddhism and Jainism where two cults promulgated by ruling Kshatriya princes, Gautam Buddha and Vardhaman Mahavir. The propagation of Buddhism under Ashoka and Kanishka was achieved largely because it was declared a state religion. Both kings sent emissionaries to the neighbouring countries to propgagate Buddhism and it struck roots, again, thanks to royal patronage. In these countries the ruling class or family was the first to adopt the religion, and later it became ObligatoI)' for the subjects to follow suit. In Burma, the king was the protector of the Buddhist Sangha. In India, Buddhism -survived until the 12th centul)' A.D. under the Buddhist Pala kings of Bengal, after which it merged with Hinduism in the countl)' of its origin. It was Chandgragupta Maul)'a 1321-279 B.C.J who awarded royal patronage to Jainism and later, Continued on page 22, col 3 6-21 February 1987

15


F&um _ _ __ _ _ __ ____ GazcUc ,

Friendship

\

I

)

and A Man Called

Paul Gaugin

By Baljil Malik

o be bom into thi s world is the beginning of all adventure with e. . citing possibilities. The iourney from birth to death can be a harbin· ger of grave struggles for exist·

T

ence, deep emotional stresses, heart-rending tragedies, joyful expectations and moments of elevated consciousness. Life is indeed an engine of experiences for those with a lust for life; for those inelined to look beyond the constraiQts of their imnicdiate si tuation. For those willing to risk an enCQunler with its viscissitudes.

One of the most human of needs, the most human of aspirations is the need for friendshipyet even friendship is not free of the frontiers imposed on it by the social system. A cursory look into prevalent friendships reveals a pallern us.ua lly runni ng along the contours, but seldom counter to society's packaged c1ass-diyisions. Even radi cals, non-conformists and iconOelasts, united in their abhorrence of SOCially acceptable forms of mora lity, are usually subject to restrictions imposed by a rigorous culture of class-<oon-

sciousness. Life's Passive Onlookers

For life's passive onlookers' to $eek frie ndship beyond their class would be understandably infrading, yet life's adventurers too have seldom been able to break through the prison of the social sys tem in seeking fri end s from a culture beyond their

own.

16

6-21 February 1987

A Man Who Risked Security

Paul Gaugin was a man wh o risked the seclII;tv of his European environmen t when he stepped out in search of himself and perhaps in searc h of some tl'uer form of human l'elationship. And what he found in the islands of the Pacifi c was a link of peace betwee n him and islanders. Peace depic ted so so ulfu lly in the harmony and colours of his South-Seas compositions. But was Gaugin able to find any fulfillment of frie ndship \vith the islanders, or was the experien ce more elevating for his personal solitude and the spirit of his paintings? Did Gaugin have· to suspend his intellectual propensities to feel the intimacy of his new "friends", or did he find 'fiiendship' through channels of silence wi thou t intelve ntion from the intellecr! Gaugin once wrote that civilisation was causing Strindberg 10 suffer, and so gave him an art of suffering; whereas it was barbarism that was giving him new life and health. Whe ther 01' not Gaugin found friimdship in the South Seas in an open qu estion, but th e fac t remains that he was driven to seek friendship in an alien culture when the friends of his class in his own culture failed him miserably. Could Paul Gaugin have sea rched for the loyalilies of frie ndship amongst the peasants and workers of France, his 'fri ends' in the bourgoisie having let him

down? Gaugin was to IC~11'Il the painful truth that th e econo mics of life has some conn ecti on with Ihe c hoice of fii e nd s, Ihal there is in fact so me business in fri endship, which can on ly be satisfied by the culture tha t money can buy. So, instead of seekJng loy a li ties amongst workers and peasa nts, Gaugill left his society to learn to live with courage in th e solitude of a ·primi tive' countly. fi e did find solitude, colour and life in the Pacific islands but his illness, and his daily needs · remained so chained to th e demand for money that he made at least two attempts on his own life. Gaugin's story is a gl'aphic illustration of the distortions humanity must suffer \,\~ thin divided and fragmented societies is the state of the world. The'c ulture of c1ass-co nsciollsness makes it a lmost impossible to strike fiiends hip beyond the immediat e social hmizon. While the dividing horizons of race, caste and religion may have receded a lillie, the channs of economic alienation continue to restrict human expClience in terms of friendship to th e safe and comfortabl e frontiers of given social classes! "Business, you know may bring money, but rship hardly ever does" - Jane Austen. "Friendship is constant in a ll other things: save in the office and aftairs of love" - Shakespare. "F'ship may and often grows in to love, bu t love never sub-

sides into r ship." - Byron. ··There is lillie rship in the world and least of all between equa ls." - Byron.

·'1 had th ree chairs in 111-. house; one for solitude, two 101' fship, three for society. '· Thoreau , •

Who Destroyed Punjab • • • Continued from page 15, col 3

by pandits, mau lvis, granthis fight for them. But however long and padaris. the fig ht, the basic principles I can appreciate the demand C'annot be sacrificed; in no way for greater autonomy for states can religion be allowed to nul- . and rela ted to it the Anandpur lify the yeople's right to rule S" hib resolution for proposing themselves. subjects for the central governStill worse the concept of mljj)t is understandable. But to state within state which ·the sa1 that the ultimate au thority high priests are trying to pro- lies with high priests is to close ject. flow can any count!)' . the debate, which is what a accept that fiats issued by a set de mocracy is. The Sikhs must of people, however revered, will ·assert themselves against the have even greater credibility priests' approach, which is polthan the elected governments? iticall \)' motivate d and highly Then India will have to be run dangerous in a secular society. _

F8rum

GaZette • • • • •

Minority Rights Civil Liberties Equality for Women Democratic Values Environmental Protection


F8rum _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Gazett e t

A Muslim Aunty from Lucknow By Kamla Bhasin uring a recen t visit to Lucknow I stayed with a frie nd 's mother, a grand old ladv of 77 from a well known "Muslim family of old Dudh. The material grande ur had gone from her life but grandeur, the grace, the touch of the old, legendry Lucknow was still very mu ch there. My few hours of conversati on with her were treasures of oral his· lOry. Similar treasures must be buried in the lives of so many others of the likes of her. Personal insights into the social history of an age gone by T,alking to someone like her one gets an idea of the lon'g and difficult" journey Indian woman· hood has made even in the last few decades. She showed me her note!'ook dated 1926 containing her \"vouri te Urdu poetry. The 60 year old book of verse fascinated me no end. It was like an album of her emotions. Emotions expressed through her favourite lines of the 'shayars' (poetsl of her time. Verses brought alive by photographs, sketches and drawings she had stuck on. In the notebook there was a hilarious poem \"rillen by Aunty's aunt. It was called 'Nayee Qism Ki Shaadi (New style Weddingl in which she had made fun of the increasing anglicisation of upper class muslims. In the new style wedding the Qazi comes along dressed in breeches and coat instead of sherwani. Cake and chocolate is distributed to the guests ratber than mithai. The ,. ',mci1line is that in the baraat, . fl;; dulha anives not with relatives, but accompanied by a bulldog and soon after the nikaah ithe· maniage ceremonyl the couple pushes off for a 'honeymoon to a hill station. Aun ty ' as I called her (yesaunty and not 'K ha l a ' or 'phupphi ' - we are a mixed up . people after allJ lives in Luck(lOW in a small, newly built house in a part of what used to

D

be a huge fami ly estate. in the heart of the city. With her lives a totally loyal old maid-servant and a friend of her (aunty'sl daughter. Aunty is tall, well built with an impressive face bu t a lillie fragile because of her ill healt h . She has had several hea rt allacks and recently fell down, bruising her back badly. But she. tries to keep herself busy and mobile. In fact on one of the . days I was there she went shopping in a rikshaw. The car parked in the garage is no good without a driver. I could not help noticing Aunty's well matched attire. A brown silk sari, with matching chappals, . swea ter and shawl. When I complimen ted her on this she told me that she was almost colour blind now. She chooses her clothes with the help of her maid-servant. Aunty's father, who went to Cambridge in the last decade of the nineteenth century, was qui te liberal as far as his daughter's \educa tion was concerned. The girls went to a convent, but also learn t Urdu, Arabic and Persian at home. Though they did not wear a 'burqua' they did not go ou! very much except sometimes with their fa ther. 'But in side we had te nnis, big lawns, even horse riding. We did not have to go out!" As a 19 year old, Aunty started teaching in a school for women started by her family but soon gave it up to play !he important role of the wife of a yo un g I. C.S. officer. As th e daughter a nd wife of educated and welT known Muslim men, Aunty came into con tact with almost every one of importance in the country. She told me about her first encoun ter with Gandhiji and Mira Bahan. "Being the. only girl ou t of purdah I was chosen to garland Gandhiji when he came to Lucknow. This was when I was still in the au tograph hunting stage of life. After garlanding him I instantly brough t out my autograph book

and asked him for his autograph. But . Mira Bahan intervened to say that Bapu gave his autograph only to those who were ready to take an oath to wear Khadi all ' their lives. I looked at Mira Bahan and said "But how can I take such an oath. I am not sure whether my future husband would agree with this or not. I don 't want to take an oath which I may not be able to fulfill ." "So I did not take the oath and did not get the autograph". And then she added softly "And beta, after that I never liked Mira Bahan." By now I had noticed and was quite impressed by Aunty'. excellen t Urdu, her impeccable English, her command over the U.P. dialect and her recitation of Persian poetry. She was of course very apologetic of her failing memory. She narrated her participation in one of the earliest meetings of the All India

Muslim pathan. I did not know the language; the people looked different." II was reminded of the series of jokes I knew which contrast a Lucknow Nawab with a rustic Punjabi. There can be so little in common between a Lucknow wallah and a Punjabi or a Pathan.! Aunty went on to explain her discomfort "I was in a hospital in Peshawar an d sudde nly felt so tired of hearing only Muslim names. Such monotony! My ears ached for the variety we have in Lucknow. Here we have our Sairas and Sheila and Grace and Asha." Aunty could not dream of living in Pakistan,' because of her very secular outlook. Next to her bed she has the Quran, but also the Gi ta, an English translation of Nanak and the Bible. Among her closest friends are Hindus. She is very dis tressed by the . latest developments in India "I ca n't tolerate the violence and

hatred which is spreading now. What happened in Delhi after Indira Gandhi's death was ... " She left the sentence incomplete. She could either not find a strong enough word to describe her feelings or sh e just did not want to verbalise what she fell. Later on she told me that her maid-servant happened to be in Delhi in November '84 and was an unfortunate witness to the brutalities. Just looking at it she fell sick. She could not take it. "Allah ka shukra hai, beta, ki ham wahan nahin they. Ham to bilkul bardasht naheen kar paate. Wahin khatm ho jaate." (Thank God I was there. I would not have been to tolerate it at all. I wou ld have died. I wish I could have had more time with Aunty, to follow h er into the past, to peep into her eventful life, to understand her broadmindedness, her commitment to a seCular India. . •

International Film Mela • • • Continued from page 10, colS

rhythmi c pallerns of a vibrant popular protest song by the Black vocalist Lena 'Horne, this Women 's Conference. Every now juxtaposition of stiUs, news ana then she would add very clippings, drawings and newsmodestly "you know, 'beta, be- reel footage becomes a visual cause there were just one or metaphor of heroism and idealtwo 'o f us who could speak Eng- ism in the face of violen t 'forms lish, we got invited to all these of racist oppression. . Alvarez remarked jocularly, meetings." As the wife of a Collector and "America is a constant source of Districts Commissioner she had inspiration to me." This was her fill of social work. After par- made further evident by his tition she worked with Hindu 1967 film Hanoi the 13th , refugees day and night. "These which documents the bombing people were miserable, they of Hanoi by the US during Vietwere angry. They were con- nam, revealing their cruel dissta ntly cursing the Muslims and ruption of a peaceful and happy Islam for their plight. It was society. In another striking doconly after sevetal weeks that umentary, Why and How are they discovered tha t I was also Genera ls Killed? the assassinaa Muslim! But by th~n they had tion of a liberal Chilean general developed so much' affection wh o opposed dictatorship is and respect for me that they analysed with depth and feeling. Among other significant dochad to admi t that Muslims umentaries were Robert Richter could also be God fearing." After Parfitipn aunty went to and Catherine Wamows Do Not visit Pakistan, but felt very uncom- En ter (USA,19861, examining the fortable there. "After all religion "Visa war against ideas" the is not that important beta. You denial of visas by the U.S. State ca n't have a country based on Department to " communists, religion. I must admit I am very much more at home wi th a Banaras baniya than with a

terrorists and anyone prejudicial to the public interesl." Creative artists and intellectuals like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Dario Fo, Carlos Fuentes, and others speak out candidly as victim~ of this obscure law which was passed by a majority of a single vote -in 1952. American . writers such as Arthur Miller, John Irving. Susan Sontag and William Styron also speak out against the law, while conservative defenders of this reactionary practice are also placed on the record in this faSCinating document. (No longer Silent iLauretteDeschamps with Kamla Bhasin, Canada, 19861, is a valuable ·Feminist documentation of the changing altitudes of Indian urban women in a society full of Conflict between old traditions and modem val ues. The fac t that many women no longer passively tolerate discrimination, but speak out and act against it, is revealed here ,vith a commendable determination.·

6-21 February 1987

17


.

·F8rum

H __ en_·m-=ge__ an_d_H __ is_ro_ry_·____________~_ Ga2ee~tt~e~---

______________________ __ ,

SIKH HIST ORV· ·AND

BHAI VIR SINGH critics described th em. He was,

against light artillery. Atlast they advanced towards Kanhuan Ion the right bank of the old Beas, 10 miles south of Gurdaspurl where there was thick forest abounding in wild animals. The Sikhs maintained a guerrilla warfare by concealing them· selves in the day and harassing the enemy in the night."

perhaps, aware of his difference of trea tment as compared with

this similarity is that both the

a scientific historian. Therefore,

accounts have been based on

Uling a talk with the wri· ter of these lines Dr Bhai . Vir Singh once observed that in writing Sundari, Bijay Singh and Satwant Kaur, he thought that he had written the mid·18th centu ry history of the Sikhs and he had not attempted

D

historical novels as some of the

in order to make his point clear,

he added that he had his own method of writing history. The object of this paper is to study his method of writing history and assess the historical signifi· cance of these three books. The Scientific historian com· bines in himself two important function one is to collect data from different sources and the qther is to pre.ent that data in a scientific »<ay. Bhai Vir Singh differs in the latter. But as far as the collection of material is ~oncerned he picked up the data from geog.-a phy, folklore, cummt

traditions,

etc.

One of the major ca uses of

the Pra chin Panth Prakash by Rattan Singh Bhangu which Bhai Vir Singh had edited and published.

the knowledge obtained from such sources has a value jnde-

pendent of its historical util· ity." He gave prominence to the Sikh traditions which are even· tually an important source of history. He wrote in the preface of Bijay Singh. ' 'Many facts have been collected from the current traditions and many from the folk songs. Besides this Pa nth Parkash by Rattan Singh Bhangu and the PantlJ Parkash by Giani Gian . Singh, the Twarikh Guru Khalsa by Giani Gian Singh and other books have been can· suited." Why did he adopt this

brother appeared there and saved her life. Then both sister and her brother joined the rov· ing band of the Sikhs. The Sikhs in the days of Zakaria Khan 11726·1745ADI, the last great Mughal governor of the Punjab, were mostly hiding in the thick forests and moun· tain recesses. They were no t

allowed to move freely in the towns and villages of the Pun· jab. Sundri (the rescued Hindu girl) was respected by the Sikhs. The respect in which the women in general were held by the Sikhs is testified by Qazi

6- 21 February 1987

of Mir

Vir Singh. Therefore, he has taken pains to collect anecdotes of the DolWan who helped the Sikhs in a secret way. These anecdotes relate to his administrative wisdom. Sundri ends '

wi th the events of 1752 AD. The same year Kau.-a Mal died. Bhai Vir Singh's Bijay Singh starts with the event s of 1751·52 AD. and ends with the 4th invasion of Ahmad Shah Durrani in 1756. The last chapter of Bijay Singh nar.-ates how Sayyid Jamil·ud·din, who was in charge of Lahore in 1756, was harasse~ by the Sikhs while on his wa:-::/ to Delhi. Bijay Singh gives detailed

about to . restore order in the

province. While he was. at Batala news was received that the

who are notorious for their lur·

18

Dewan

account of Mir Mannu's reign

For

Zakaria Khan took stem mea· method, he ex plains in the pre· sures against the Sikhs as have face of the eleventh edition of been described in Sundri chap· - the same book, 'The lives led by How then can a rider? It is ters 12·14. Dr. Hari Ram Gupta the Sikhs in the times gone by called Lakhi Jungle (forest of writes: "Once again. Zakaria can reform, inspire and elevate hundred thousand treesJ The Ki'an organised moving columns the degrading condition of the wicked men of this plain, owing of light cavalry al'd put them in Sikhs. It was, therefore, very to the shelter afforded by the motion in pursuit of the Sikhs.. essential to bring before the impassable jungle which stret· .. Large number of them were ~masses the pat history. For writ· ches over leagues in length and shotdown, while many other ing of the scientific' history sus· breadth become ambuscaders, were brought in chains in to tained efforts were required by highwaymen and thieves. The Lahore where they were exe- a number of devoted scholars hand of imperial commanders cuted at a place near Nakhas who might take a long time to cannot reach them for chas· outside Delhi Gate which after- fulfil this need. In order to meet tisement.'" These jungles aff· wards came to be called Shahtd the immediate requirement this orded shelter to the Sikhs dur- Ganj. Side by side this military method of sifting history. from ing the middle of t8!,h century measure the government made folk songs and t.-adition 'had when they were ruthlessly per· use of civil machinery. Instruc· been adopted. Some of the links tions were issued to the local have been provided by the secuted by the government. • The aocount of the persecu· officials and the village head· au thor himself in order to make tion of the Sil5hs as given in the ' men to permit no Sikh to seek the picture complete." opening paragraphs of the 12th shelter within their jurisdiction. His work Sundri has been chapter of Sundri is identical All evasions of these injunctions based pn a folksong given as the with \he description given by were severely punished. With apendix of the book. This folk· Hari Ram Gupta in his History renewed diligence, . . . in the song narrates the story of young of the Sikhs, Vol. I, pp.28·29. He villages and towns, in the fields beautiful recently married Hindu writes : and woods, spies and informers girl who was forcibly carried "The general body of the plied their odious trade. Magis· away by a Mughal official who Sikhs had taken shelter in the trates, Commissioners and offi- happened to see her. All the swamps of the upper course of cers were once more on the male members of the family the Ravi. Yahiya Khan and alert." went to th~ officer and requrLakhpat Rai personally marched . Bhai Vir Singh while depicting ested him to release the girl in their pursuit, and the Sikhs, the history of the Sikhs gave offered a big ransom but the keeping. themselves concealed preference and prominence to Mughal did not agree. 'The girl in the jungles, moved up the the Sikh sources of information. ul'; lued to save her honour by risht bank of the Ravi into He believed that "in every reo deciding to bum herself alive. north·eastern comer of the pro· search into the general history As soon as the Mughal went out vince. Several skinnishes took of mankind it is of most essen· of his camp, she collected place in which Sikhs were wars· tial importance to heat what a ~ood, lit them with fire and ted because they were helpless na tion has to say of itself and jumped on it. Providentially her

Mal,

which favourably compares with the account given by Mannu's page Tahmas Khan who wrote "After the departure of Ahmad Shah (in 17521 Muin·ul·Mulk set

instance his descriptiOn of thick forests of the Punjab during the 18th centu ry in the SundrrIiter· ally tallies with the description given by Sujan Rai Bhandari in 1696 in his book the Khulasat· ut· Tawarikh. 'The Sarkar of Dipalpur !the modem Montgo· mery district! is the h ome of the ' Wattu, Dogar and Gujar tirbes bulent and rebellious character. Every year floods overspread the land far and wide, and when the water subsides, jungles spring up all over~ this count ry owing to the great moisture that a pedestrian has great difficulty in travelling.

Kaura

Mannu, was an ancestor of Shai

Nur Mohammad, the au thor of Jang Namah. which the author has quoted. In Jallg Namah it

has been stated

there that

"Wheth er a woman is young or

old, they call her budhiya, an old lady, and aSK her to get out of the way. There is no adultery amongst these dogs: ' The death of Zakaria Khan on 1st July, 1745, and subsequent war of succession between his

sons Yaya Khan and Shah Nawaz Khan gave respite to the Sikhs who had been keeping themselves hiding. Dn one side the Rajah of Jammu rebelled and on the other Sikhs began to cause tumult and trouble. In 1746 Jaspat Rai, brother of Lakhpat Rai, Dewan of Yaya Khan, was ' killed by the Sikhs. Lakhpat Rai with the help of Yaya Khan organised a big force to punish the Sikhs. The Sikhs were attacked from all sides near modem Gurdaspur and a large number of them were massacred. The event is still or known as Ghalughara 'Bloody Camage." Sundri gives the details of ihis fateful event. The first invasion of Ahmad Shah DUITani in 1748 and subsequent appoinment of Mir Mannus as the governor of the Punjab are significant events in the history of Sikhs. Mir Man· nu's rule was marked by ruth· less persecution of the Sikhs.

Sikhs were creating trouble. Muin·ul·Mulk sent Syed Jamil· ud·din Khan and Bakhs/li Gazi Beg Khan against them. They were dispersed. Nine hundred of them, however, had gathered in the fort of Ram Rauni (Amrit· sari close to Chak Guru. They were besieged in the fort . Ulti· mately in desperation, the Sikhs issued out of the fort and f.' upon the besigers, sword "=-' hand. A hand to hand fight took place. Syed Jamil·ud·di n Khan and his cavalry got down from horses and fought on foot. After a desperate fight many Sikhs were killed. About the persecution of the Sikhs during Mir Mannu's reign Tahmas Khan writes at anorher place: "After sometime Muin·ul·Mulk ·himself marched out of Lahore to a distance of seven

KOSI

and

encamped near village Tikapur situated on the bank of Ravi. He halted there for a long time and sent out Mughalia troops under Khwaja Mirza in every direction

to suppress the Sikhs, whenever he heard of their rising. Khwaja Mi rza at the head of his troops rode out twenty or sometimes

thi rty koso Whenever he got a clue of the whereabouts of the Sikl,s, he suddenly fell upon them and slew them. The per· sons who brought Sikhs alive or their heads -or their horses received prizes. Every Mughal who -lost his own horse in the battle was provided with ana· ther of better quality at the ' expense of Govemrr: ... llt. The'

Sikhs who were captured alive ' were beate" w :·' wooden m;il-

lets and killed. At times Adina Beg Khan sent forty to fifty captured Sikhs from Doab district UullundurL They were as a rule killed with the strokes of wooden hammers.

In ' Bijay Singh Bhai Vir Singh has rightly described the char· acter of Mughlani Begum who Con tinued on page 19, coil


F8rum

=-:--~,.--zo--.-_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Gazette

Bhai Vir Singh ...

had no moral scruples what- Bodhi Vlharas and stu pas. Another important feature of sover. In 1761 she married one of her servants namely Shah Satwant Kaur is that its author Baz. Tahmas Khan writes: "A gives at various places the folk person named Shah Baz began songs relating to historical to frequent the Begum's house. events and anecdotes regarding There was a great scandal abou t the bravery of the Sikhs. For it in Jammu for the previous . instance, how explicit is the two or three months ... She was Punjabi folk song relating to staying along with the person Nadir's invasion . This song indiIShah Bazl. She said to me, "I cates that Nadir came in the have married him. You should beginning of winter 1738 and go and pay my respects to returned to his counlIy in him." . Long before this in 1754, spring of 1739. Owing to his ' "Begum was involved in scan- fear, the people in general sent dals. People linked her name their families, especially the with the Balchshi, Gazi Beg women, to the hills.,About SadKhan. It no longer remained a rahmat Khan, a revenue official secret but was on the lips of all who used to persecute the persons." Sikhs and was ultimately killed The Satwant Kaur begins with by the Sikhs. From the foregoing discusthe fourth invasion of Ahmad Shah Abadali in 1756 and ends sion one can safely conclude with the appointment of Zain that Dr. Bhai Vir Singh collected Khan as governor of Sirhand in his ma~erial of history like a 1761 A.D. During the invasions scientific historian. He has of Ahmad Shah Abdali it was a tapped every source - standvery common practice of the ard books which, he has quoted Afghans to carry away beautiful in his footnotes, folk songs non-Muslims girls. A Marathi depicting the times, anecdotes G teI' gives the details how the r;egardi ng eminent persons like flindu women at Delhi suffered !<aura Mal, anti anecdotes of at the hands of the Afghan the bravery of the Sikhs in the invaders .. "In Delhi many men days of ruthless persecution, have been slain and many etc. But he doesnot handle this women ravished. Some of the material like a scientific histofemales have committed sucide rian. In order to be more effeclwith daggersl, others have tive, he dramatises the facts and drowned themselves. Wherever fills the skeleton of dry facts handsome Hindu women were with flesh and blood. So his reported, Abdali sent his men presentation is different from and brought them away to his that of a scientific historian who quarters." 'During Abdali's in- is concerned wl th finding out vasion ·of 1756 Satwant Kaur the truth i.n the past event's. The was taken te Kabul as a pri- scientific historian is seriously soner, The whole book narrates engaged in ,finding more source her struggle against her captors material to, fill up the gaps in to save her chastity and religion. . the past. But romantic historian In Satwant Kaur, Bhai Vir like Bhai Vir Singh is not conSingh analysis the Punjab polit- cerned with minute details but ics after the death of Mil' his main domain IS to present Mannu. Mughlani Begum, his the past In a dramatic and -'T""',;: d;o,,,w, who topk the reins of effective way. In case of little ,e government, proved unable gaps here and there, he would o control the situation. Ghazi- use his creative imagination to ud-Din Imad-ud-Mulk, the Delhi fiU them up. Wazir, came to the Punjab, marBhai Vir Singh was perhaps ried the ' daughter Mir Manu conscious that his job was difand made Mughlani Begum cap- feren t from lIlat of a scientific tive. Within th,e short space of historian. He wrote in the prethree years, November 1753 to face of Bijay Singh , "Now there October 1756, nine changes had is no time left for finding new taken place in the office of the sources of history, we are in governor and the administration dire , and urgent need. Therewas gradually breaking up. Four fore, this work is based on hisMahals of Gujarat, Sialkot, Pas- tory and traditions mingled rur and Aurangabad were ruled together". by Rustam Mhan. Jullundur and Some writers state that SunSirhind were under Adina Beg dri, Bijay Singh and Satwant who did not recognize the Kaur by and large are historical ~uthority of the Lahore gavel'- romances. This, however, d~s­ nor. This state of affairs encoUl'- not appear to be correct aged the · Sikhs to come out because unlike historical novels , from their hiding places to pun- of Scott or other English writers ish their enemies. That brought they are not based on any sinthe fourth invasion of Ahmad gle historical event. Nor do they Shah Durrani. The Afghan explain the times of any single invader went up to Delhi and monarch or provincial governor. Mathura and on his way back /lliai Vir Singh in these works appointed Tim}>r Shah, his son" has tried to make alive the 18th as the governor of the Punjab, century history of the Sikhs and with Jahan K!>an as his deputy. bring home to his readers the Adina Beg invited the Marathas high character of the Sikhs of who turned out the Afghans those days. How far the writer and occupied the Punjab. is successful in arousing peoUnlike Sundari 'and Bijay ple's interest in the 18th cenSingh, Satwant Kaur- is full of tury histo~of the Punjab, this historical digreSSions. While des- can be ju ed by the fact that cribing the counlIy of Peshawar during his 'fe time two of the the author gives an account of eminent historians of Punjab, its history - how Aryans came viz." Dr. Ganda Singh and from this side. At that time it Dr.Hari Ram Gupta have devoted was known as Gandhara. In the their entire lives in writing the time of Hiouen-Thsang. the 18th century history of the town which was known by the Sikhs. Bhai Vir Singh definitely name of Purshpur became aroused the interest of-the Sikhs Peshawar in the time of Akbar in their Iystory by writing S.unthe Great. In its earlier period it dri, Bijay Singh and Satwant was dominated by Budhism Kaur and there lies the historiand the coun lIy was fu ll of cal significance of these works . •

Understanding Sikh Terminology By Khushwan l Singh owever bloody the track record of the Khalistani

H

terrorists, they ca n take

the credit of adding to our vocabulary. Few people outside the Punjab haa, till the othel' day, heard of words like Hukumnama, Tankhaiya, Sarbat Khalsa, Panj Takhts, or Ghallughara. In the last five years they have become a part of our daily vocabulary. Since there is a so much confusion about their origin and precise import, it would be Mlrth our while

knowing a little more about them. Hukumnama: Order issued in the name of the Guru or by acknowledged re presen tatives of the Sikh communi ty. Bhai Sahib Kahan Singh of Nabha in his definitive Encyclopaedia of Sikh Literature IGurushabadnakar Mahakosh) defines Hukumnama as a Shahi Firman as well as Satguru da agyapntr - order of

the true Guru. He adds: "from the times .of the gurus such orders were issued to the Sikhs. Mata Sundri lwidow ,of the last Guru bobind Singh) also issued Hukumnamas. In the management- of the affairs of the community"gurupanth) such orders have been issued from the four talchts and are issued to this day." The -encyclopaedia was published in 1930, Since then a fifth talcht (throne) has been added to the then existing four. -The earlier instances of hukumnamas were those issued by the Sixth Guru Hargobind 11505-16441. He was the first Guru to take ' lip anils and girded himself With two !;words symbolising spiritual and temporal power, Meeree and peeree. .'My rosary shall be my swordbelt and on my turban 1 shall wear the emblem of royalty", he said. Thereafter we have records of hukumnamas by subsequent gurus but almost entirely addressed to different congregations ' ISangats) asking Sikhs to send their dues to run the guru-k;Jlangar (kitchen) or bring horses and arms for the army. The most famous of these hukumnamas was issued by .Guru Gobind Singh early in 1699 AD ordering Sikhs "to come to me wearing long hair. Once a man becomes a Sikh, he should never have himself. He should not 'touch tobacco, and should receive baptism of the sword." Another famous humk.umnamas on record was addressed to an ancestor of the Patialia rulers describing him as a member of his own !the Guru'sl family: tera ,ghar so mera ghar. Except for hukumnamas issued by Mata Sundri, one does not hear of them till after "Operation Blue ' Star" (June 1984) and the reconstruction of the Akal Takht when the Akali nominated high priests summoned President Zail Singh, Buta Singh and Santa Singh Nihang to explain their conduct. Zail Singh was exonerated bu t

Buta Singh and the Nihang were excommunicated by being declared tankhaiyas. The excommunication order passed on Bamala is a continuation of the

same kind o! political vendetta practised by the faction now in control 'of the Harmandir and the Akal Takht against its rivals. The. Takhts or the thrones. Pre-eminent amongst them is the Aka! Takht facing the Hal'mandir ,built by the Sixth Guru, Hargobind. Three others are connected with Guru Gobind Singh. One is at Patna where he was

born,

the

second

at

Anandpur where he proclaimed the Khalsa Panth in 1699 and the third at Nanded IMaharashIra) where he was assassinated

in 1708. A fifth takht where the Guru's two sons were martyred was added to the list. Till recent years no great importance was

attached to the caretakers of these takhts nor, .conclaves of the five head priests. Tankhaiya - One punished for transgressi ng the Sikh religious code. There were no clearly prescribed procedures for appointing head priests, convening their

concJaves,

summoning

Sikhs to appear before them to explain their conduct or the form of punishment to be imposed on them. The prestige of the Jathedar of the Aka! Takht rose during the incumbency of AkaIi Phoola Singh, one of Maharaja Ranjit Singh's famous generals. The Maharaja held him in great esteem. However, there is an instance on record of Maharaja Ranjit Singh voluntarily SUbmitting himself to censure and asking forgiveness before manying a young 'Muslim courtesan.

There are also instances of ostracism pronounced on cer-

tain people and sects. II is an article of faith with the Sikhs that the line of Gurus ended with Guru Gobind Singh {A.D. 17081 and thereafter the Granth Sahib is to be ' regarded as the only "living" Guru. Any sect that recognises Gurus other than the recognised ten puts itself beyond he pale of the Panth. Thus Namdharis (recOgnisable by their white turbans worn Oat across their foreheads) and Nirankaris who subscribe to succession in

guruship after Guru Gobind Singh and worship a living Guru are not regarded by the orthodox as members of the fraternity. The order of excommunication against the Nirank;Jris was formaUy proclaimed from the Aka! Takht. Apart from these stray instances, the only otller wellknown examples of this form of censure aregainst the i!hasaurias who published unauthorised versions of the Granth Sahib. Use Of Hukllmnama and imposing tankha by ostricism for political purposes nas neither religious nor histol'ical sanction. The only justification for declaring Buta Singh and Santa Singh Nihang tankhaiyas was that they deliber-

ately flouted the prevailing sentiment among the Sikhs by rebuilding the Aka! Takht. Even this excuse is not available to Darshan Singh Ragi, the mouthpiece of the extremist faction of Akalis in excommunicating Bar-

nala and Jathedar Rachhpal Singh of Delhi. The Ragi has only devalued' the importance of Hukumnamas and reduced Tankha .to an instrument of political vengeance. Samat Khalsa Sarbat mealls "in entreaty". Calling meetings of the entire community were instituted druing the misl period between the death of Guru Gobind Singh and the consolidation of the Sikh Kingdom under Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Their sole purpose was to get the Chiefs of the different misls together with their followers to plan military manoeuvres against Persian and Afghan invaders and prevent their fighting against each other. What they decided became the Gut'mata - order of the Guru. Maharaja Ranjit Singh abolished both the Sarbat Khillsa and the Gurmata after he was firmly established as the ruler. The , proliferation of Sarbat KhaIsa meetings whether called by Buta Singh, Tohra or . 'the Longowal-Bamala factions of the Akalis are pure political gimmickry, Ghallughara - or the massacre. There are two recorded in 'Sikh history. The first took place in June 1746 when over 7000 Sikhs were slain north of Lahore and is known as the Chota Gallughara. The other took place on February 5, 1762 -at the hands of Ahmed Shah Abdali when between 12,000 to 30,000 Sikhs were killed {oddly enough on their way to village Bamala, the home of the present Chfef Ministerl. They were' making for Patiala in the hope of getting help from Raja Ala Singh, ancestor of Amarindra Singh. The promised help did not meterialise. This is known as the Vadda ("the big) Ghall ughara. \ The Gazette ,Vol.1 NO.9 I-IS Oct 86 and Vol.2 NO.1 dated 5-19 Jan 87) carried features and articles on the 'voluntary movement' in the coun try; its various

problems and relationship with politics, the government and the State. Srilata Swaminathan who has been working near Banswara in rural Rajasthan for the past - years, responds to the debate: ' • Court., y: The HlndustBtt Time.

6- 21 February 1987

19


F~unn __~_ _____'______Sa..::g=___e'_s_w_o_r_ d _________ _ _ _ GaZette ,

HISTORIC GU'RDWARAS

Farewell Preminder!

Excerpt from VIOLENT' LANKA

'Sis Ganj' Delhi

\

Sis Ganj - or the market place of the holy head in Delhi's Chandni Chawk. It was here that the ninth Guru, Tcgh llahadur I t62 1· 16751 was imp,;soned on the orde,'S o f Empemr Aurangzeb and beheaded o n November 11, 1675. ' According 10 legend he was asked by Ihe executioner to perf01111 a miracle. The Guru wrote a message on a piece of paper and stnJhg it round his neck saying that it would prevent his head from being severed . Afte'r the execution the message was seen to read "Sees diya pal'Sir na diya ':-I gal'e n,v he:ld bllt not nU' secret LVOlllh). \

The man ",ho ",rote this column for almost a year is . I1Jking a fe", months off to combine business, /ravel, medil1Jlion . .. and IIIe hope a little ",riting. So, as of this issue, until adeast the end of sumUJer, Preminder Sipghs scintillating, cutting and tongue-in-cheek metlia analysis ",ill bl! I1Jking a rest. , From the next issue the Gazette ",ill do its best to iill the gap with another coluinn on the media. \ •

THE DAY FOR SLAUGHTER

by Sevaka Yohan Dev,\nimda And what of Hiroshima and Viet Na m? Let us no t blame It all on the USA, or the Soviet Union or China, ' We cannot abso lve ourselves. Hiroshima and Viet Nam happened because of hatred in the hea rt of man evel'ywhem, I am res~on sibl e. It is my fault \'\Ie mus t change ourselves, change our society, our world, We must never finally commit ourselves to the"stat us·quo anywhere in th e world. Another political scientist has su mmed it up : "Kingdoms are robber pas·. sessions", '" '

ANNOUNCEMENT. This issue of the Gazette combines Vol. 2 Nos. 3 . and 4 and consists of 24 pages. Given the limited 'man and woman power at our command, com: -bined with no investment, grant-in-aids funds and 1l1ininlaI advertisement reve nue) sometimes we have also been late by a week at a time. [nspite of our limited resources, we shall try our best to come . out on the 5th and 20th of every month. Subscribers should however note that their' copies will only be mailed on the 9th and 24th of every month, the despatch dates given by the pos t . office. .

So, establisbed law and order it is no t as simple as all that There is established injustice, established disorder, massive institutionalised disorder naked oppression, masqu erading under the guise of law and order. continuously. all the time. I What has this to do . With that higher law and order, th at,sublime dha/ma, whi ch takes precedence over,all human laws, and towards whi ch ",II human laws must tend? fhat has been p ut vel)' simply I by Karl Marx himself' 'From eac h according to his ability to each according 10 his need," fhe Buddha. too : "Go ye now, monks, and wander for .the good ,!f the people ror the happiness of the people out of compassion for the world."

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In This Issue

Border Military Movements

• Jetlunalanis' Call For Akali Unification On Misra • Spotlight Commission Nayar, Satindra • Kuldip Singh and Gautam Navalakha On Punjab

• Short Stol)'By Sukhbir • A Muslim Aunty By Kamla Bhasin.

<\nd Jesus Christ : T he Sabbath was made for the sake of man not man ror the Sabbath, therefore the Son of Man is sovereign eve n over th e Sabbath." Saint Paul p ut it another way "The wri tt en law condemns to death but the Spirit gives life." So, laws and institutions , musr seIVe the peo ple not dominate them, "they must liberate not enslave the peo ple. All this, the people are learning. There is a world·wide movement of his tal)' a movement for liberation. So, however bad things may seem, let us always remember, the people are awakening, the people are on the march from slaveI)' to freedom from egotism to brotherhood the struggle for emancipation is going fOlWard, That is the meaning of histol)'; the nature of man, of dharma, of God. /


F8'rum

_Thi_ ' ·s_F_O_rtni_·~gh_t'_sS_to_ry..!:....-_ _ _ _ _ _ _ Gazette _______________

Pattern I-n Blood Sukhbir

newspaper reporter worth just three hundred rupees ... I sometimes ask myself, what other val",e do I possess? Wherever an exciting event takes place I rush to the spot and, after spicing up the news, present it for publication in the paper. All day long I drift about the dty in search of sensational news items. If, on afiy given day, no burglary has been committed, no kidnapping inci-

A

dents have occured, no house has been gutted by fire, or no one has died under a speeding vehicle, on such a day I feel rather let down and begin to fear I may lose my job due to my inability to dig up hot tidbits to feed the headlines. You mayfind it hard to believe but it happens to be true, every morning. upon rising. my first act is to pray that the coming day may bring some calamity upon the city - a disasterous fire, a spurt of rioting. a daring bankrobbery - else I may have to go hungry. A Life Worth Three Hundred Rupee.

However, ever since the breaking out of communal rioting in the city, and from the time various nation-wide strikes have gathered momentum, my fears of a shortage of sensational 'news' have completely vanished. If the worl<ers decide to march into the streets today, defying the· ban imposed on processions vide Regulation 144, and are lath; -cl...arged as a consequence, tlhln tomolTOW all \he factory-worl<ers in the city are certain to call for a general strike. The police will forcibly attempt to break this strike, and, faced by the fumness of the workers' defiance, resort to firing upon them. A large number of labour-leaders will be taken into custody. And the next day a procession of women, sympathetic to the workers, wiD go round the city denounCing the police firing. And when the police open fire on them, too, the university students wiD reply Ion the fourth day with angry protest marches and rousing. speeches in open meetings_ In this way a chain-reaction is set in motion. And, .. compared to the news value of tllese strikes and police firings, fl\e routine items of news sucn as kidnapping cases or an accidental death or two lose their importance and fade into insignificance_ I

Relating My Job

And I grow more confident of although these days a reporter's task is generally very excitiqg. it is also ~erous_ Who knows when a bullet meant for someone else may not pass th;rough one's own head? Or wing its way th;rough one's stomach? Can a buDet see where it is going? Sometimes, when· I think of meeting such an unexpected and senseless death, my scalp turns cold · with dread. The price of death just three

20

6-21 February 1987

hundred rupees! Not the satisfaction of being sacrificed for a worthwhile ideal, o~ a life given for a national cause, but just three hundred rupees ... And if, God forbid, such a thing were to happen, what would become of my blind mother? What would become of my widowed sister and her two little daughters? What would become of my three younger brothers? And where would my poor wife go? At such moments I am seized with a desire to give up this job forthwith. But then I realise that with all the pressures in my life, I cannot, in any case, aspire to become anything but a newspaper reporter worth th;ree hundred rupees. National Strike

Sometime ago a nation,wide strike had been organised by the combined strength of the railway-workers' unions. I used to attend their spectacular public meetings, knowing weD that this was a great opportunity for inspirational reporting. There would soon be strikes everywhere, thought as weD as

attempts to break then, and the whole affair would erupt at any moment into violence and rioting. And when rioting spreads allover the country, who knows when such vast public unrest may take on the shape of a revolution? And to report a revolution! ... Even a spiritless reporter would be fired with life at such a prospect ! But the police faced the strikero; with such stringent arrangements that the strike could not come off successfully .. nor could there be a revolution! Jail Strike And Women. Demonstration

The union leaders and workers atTested in connection with this affair later went on a hunger strike to protest against the treatment they were receiving at the hands of their jailors - a treatment allegedly of a sub-human standard. Their voluntary fast went on and on, day after day, prolonging itself indefinitely. In the end, just last week. the wives of the arrested worl<ers took out a large procession to show their sympathy

with the hunger strikero; - and at that time I was present, too. My eyes fairly popped out at the sight of this surging mass of our country's womenfolk. The police were there, to.o, keeping a wary eye on the processionists. The women were marching forward ingreat strength. From every lane and by-road more and more appearing and joining forces with them. The sloganshouting was getting louder, their rousing spirit stronger every passing moment. These workers' mates, who were themselves workers, were also raising their voices this day against the forces of oppression, and were demanding justice for their menfolk. There was, among t!lem, many a mother of a fasting striker, many a sister and younger daughter, many a wife . .. And there were also quite a few middle-class women who had joined the marchers out of a genuine sympathy with their cause. At the sight of these surging. highspirited wOl)len it seemed to me for a short while that my own mother, too, was a part of this great procession,

;z.

'- '- -1IJi -

~

.

and my own sister, my own wife Terror And Resistance.

I was suddeniy startled by the sound of six or seven shots fired all at once. The women fall back. and a quick wave of terror swept through them; but soon they raised their voices, louder than before. Again a brief volley of shots sounded down the street. This time the bullets were aimed directly at the processionists instead of being fired in the air_A few women at the head of the procession screamed. The rest halted uncertain ly, and then the procession scattered. Groups of demonstratoro; helter-skelter into the side-lanes. A few remained behind to attained to· their companions who had fallen with bullet-injuries. I stood to one side, staring around me. A processionist in her thirties lay in the middle the street, biting her tongue between her teeth, her shoulder bleeding profuse~ Next to her a young girl in he. late teens was lying stiD as death, her eyes wide open, blood streaming out of her drenched 'choli' flowing down the black road. Some distance away another small group of women had fallen, two of them obviously dead and the othero; wounded. Within a few minutes· there was no sign left of the procession. The police were left alone on the spot, guarding the dead and the wounded. I was still rooted to "the spot, watching the fresh warm blood of the young girl Howing down the black road. Then I dragged my feet up to the group of other women whose blood had merged to form a large expanding pool. I stood looking at it fo'k _ long time, then turned ~\ walked quietly away_ J A Dlatortal Pre.. Report I sent in a repOrt. The news was published in thick black I was silent, as I watched their, tensed, grieving faces . . _ and in front of me again I saw blood flowing over the black road, spreading wider until the little red pool turned into a river and then into a great Hood. I saw my th;ree hundred rupees .disappearing into the Hood - I saw my blind mother and my nieces and my younger brothers all struggling in the terrible, rising deluge . . .. lettering down five columns on the front page under big headlines. 'CIlY POLICE FIRE ON WOMEN PROCESSIOtvISTS. TIlREE DEAD; SEVEN WOUNDED. COMMUNIST HOOLIGANISM MARS PROCESSION. ACID BULBS AND BOMBS TIlROWN ..

My mother said, are you silent? .• true that buHets fired on those women?JI

"Why • Is It were poor

I could not say a word, and rose silently and went out of the house. My sister and my wife read this news. They stared at me in Wonder and demanded, "When did the women throw stones? And whom did they th;row bombs at? Can unarmed women

create rioting in the streets? They were simply lending support to their menfolk fasting in· jail, and trying to bring their . Continuedonpage21, coil .


:The

----------____________~G~~~-------------------------

Pattern in Blood

,

•••

Custodial

Crim~

• • •

~ ill-treatment, hunger, lathicharges, police firings ... " This Bihar, of course, has a long hisdemands within the hearing ' of one-legged, torty-ye.....old union Continued from page 6, col3 tory qf police excesses to which the authorities. " worker fell with a bullet in hi. I could have said something chest in a meeting which is still mortem. So I can only presume it recently added a grue-some or other to quieten their fears, if fresh in my mind. The meetings that the senior doctors' commit- chapter in the cold-blooded was a result of his own valiant tee has some concrete evidenc~ shooting down of 32 persons, I had wanted to. They are not literate women. But this thorn ,efforts, a challenge to the armed before it which justifies the re- including women and childnm, in my soul, this thorn born out police cordon which had besie- examination though, at th e at Arawal and Kansara villages. of the many pressures su .... ged the street from all four moment, I cannot easily imag'ine .Amazingly, or perhaps not amazrounding my life, does not corners. Ramdeen paid the the existence of concrete evi- ingly since we are talking of ultimate price , , . and I stared dence after the body of Dayal Bihar} the Chief Minister conallow me to say anything. tinues to resist th e demand for Besides, a woman who has wide-eyed at this fallen rebel Singh was duely cremated. My interest in the case of a jud icia l inquiry into the lately befriended my wife has whose hands still t:l'itched the I tried marly a time to comer me banner with its red flag flying in Dayal Singh' is not confined to matter. its unusual features. There will We also gqt to hear more and with her pointed questions. I the air. Before me, suddenly, the sky be time enough to take care of more frequently of' those enavoid getting into any discus- , sian with her, knowing well I burst into tri-colour flags. They them when the senior doctors counter.s where we ll -arm e d have no answers to offer, , , She fluttered high, then faded and 'eventually submit ,their report. gangs of criminals are overcome comes to my house and tells blended into a . myriad of My main interest is the alann- by policemen who are such my wife and my sister the truth colours. Suddenly the colours ing rise in the incidence oJ cu - experts at this particular job that they come out of it without of what is happening in our turned black as bat-wings, todial crime in the Capital. We are becoming accustomed, so much as a sGr3tch. countly. I cannot face their thenswooped down to explode Cu'Stodial crime, such as simple, innocent questions. And into. a blood-red sea, rising on to our shame as a democracy this thorn in my soul keeps all sides in huge waves. The sea which by definition must sub- <loath under third-degree meth,king my blood like an infe.... shra!,k quickly into a globe of scribe to the civil and political ods and, in the case of women' ..<iJ leech. ' blood - fresh, warm blood rights of its citizens, to police rape, are i lso becoming more My restlessness is increasing flowing on the black road. It atrocities, in so me parts of the common and in Andhra Praday by day. I am ashamed of began to spread wide into a country more noticeably than in desh we had recently five ablebodied men dying in police the kind of reporting I am pool, engulfing the road and others. forced to do. Whenever I then blotting out the entire city, I I am not refening to Punjab. custody in th e course of a few a!temp! to write genuine and turning at last into a vast ocean Though Punjab has a thoroughly days. The nation 's capital, I always truthful reports, that bastard of whose fiery waves were reflected bad record in the last two years, a editor. looks at me as if saying in the sky. And then once more I do take account of the fact imagined, had a better record' of scornfully, "So? You've started the colours began to change . . that Punjab has become some- police behaviour. But here, too, thing of a special case, without instances of death and rape in becoming a communist, too, eh My wife's new friend came conceding that this justifies the custody have increased. I long . . .r ' And he forces me to twist my own report out of sliape, so into the house} and said} "The security services and the police for an investigative reporter to women·workers are taking out going overboard in the manner turn his attention to getting that I am left staring at it. together • catalogue of such At such moments I remember another procession today, They they have., instances in the last two years, the words of Ramdeen - a are being joined by the refugeeBihar Murders what punishment if any was short lean trade-union man women, as well as the girls from Let us leave Punjab alone, visited on the men responsible, with a limp in one leg from an the university classes. Whatever old bullet wound received in happens, we will go round the Q,owever. Let us consider the and compare the score finally more habitual offenders like with that in previous years. I the heat of a protest march. He whole city this time." Without a pause, my sister Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya think such a report will bear once proclaimed angrily in a . workers meeting, 'We are not said, "We too will come with Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. out my impression that we have: free! This flag flying over our you today." .My wife glanced at me, then is the same under' which S';>rei fought for our freedom turned away, and the three of in his My Days as · Governor vi.iting hi.toric Hindu temsuccinctly assessed iGiani Zail ple. periodically and decided ~a'inst the Britishers! But today, them left for the procession. I followed them out to get my Singh's stewardship of the State to be tough, with the minoriunder this very flag, we are sufthus: tie., She dismi ••ed the Dr. I fering the same old indignities report. . .• "Giani Zail Singh is one of the Farooq Abdullah'. Mini.try in shrewdest politicians 1 have Jammu and Ka.hmir and Continued from page 14, colS seen. in my life. He always has in.talled G.M. Shah'. puppet government instead. She Sabha resul,s had indisputably this ami act he won the hearts his finger on thds" (p 234) broke the ongoing taIb with shown that the people at large- of the Sikh masses for the ruling Darbara Torpedoes Sendor the Mizo leader, Laldenga, had voted for a change at the party. To wean them away from Approach anll egged on Darbara Singh State level too. the Akali ,Dal, he also organises! But Giani Zail Singh's policy to talre on the traditionally the tricentenary of the ninth The Zall Singh Touch Sikh Guru, Tegh Behadur's of weaning away the Sikh recalcitrant ·Akali., But all the masses frOm the AkaJi Dal to while .he coun.elled him not '''Giani Zail Singh started his term martyrdom. preserve communal harmony t'i' take any dra.tic action of office with some major hanHindus In Good Humour was abruptly abandoned by fluntil the time is ripe". . dicaps. He belonged to the backward class of Ramgarlrias To keep the Punjabi Hindus Darbara Singh who became whom the Sikh Jats hold 'in in good humour, Giani Zail Chief Minister on June 7, 1980, Thi. policy of ' countinued contempt. He had not received Singh earmarked Rs 25 lakh for This reversal stemmed as much confrontation also .uited D,",Western . education. But he was the development of Ram Tirath, 'from his innate antipathy to- bara Singh, So long Punjab the only Chief Minster of Pun- the birthplace of Luv and Kush, wards the Giani as to prove his simmered, he was sure to jab to complete a full term. Lord Rama's two sons. His ,secular credentials. He had, it remain safely enconsed in What is more, his regime was governm~nt also donated Rs, 5 appears, developed a guilty the Chief Mini.ter'. office. one of political stability and lakh for the Silver Jubilee cele- conscience for his proximity to After ~, only foolschange caste and communal harmony, bration of the foundation of 'Babu Labh Singh, his political horse. in mid-.tream and To win over the Sikh masses, Arya Samaj. Besides, he pe.... mentor, who was the S.G.P.c. M..... Gandhi was no fool whahe ordered expeditious comple- suaded Punjab University, chief at the time of his murder tever else might have been tion of the 1640-kilometer Guru Chandigarh, to establish Baba on the eve of partition. her faulm. But hi. neat calcuBy giving up the Giani's pol- lation went haywire when Gobind Singh Marg to link Farid Chair and donated Rs 5 Anandpur Sahib With Damdama lakh for the purpose, Although icy, Darbara Singh inevitably eight Hindu pa ••enge.... of a -Sahib and other 99 places of (a satrap of Mrs Gandhi, he put himself on a collisjon . bu. were allegedly murdered religious importance connected rejected her award on the dis- COI1l'8e with all and sundry, in cold blood by Sikh extremWith the life and travels of the tribution of river waters between Rather than wean him away i.m on October 3, 1985. That . last Sikh Guru, He also orga- Punjab, Haryana, 'Rajasthan and from this suicidal COI1l'8e, M.... wa.s a golden opportunlty for nised the Mahan Yatra (the Delhi. By this singular act, the Gandhi goaded IiinJ on to that whkh M.... Gandhi had been Great Pilgrimage) from / Anand- Giani's standing among the Jat path for her own seliish politwaiting for too long. She ical ends. She had by then . unceremouiou.lY dismi.sed pur Sahib on April 10, 1973, Sikhs sky-rocketed, ' which temlinaled at Damdama the Darhara Singh GovernThus, Giani Zail Singh ran the realised that secularism would Sahib three days later, State in an effective and efficient not bring votes to her party . menl tl? make a public demThe AkaJi leaders were not manner and without any caste any more. The populist slo- on.tration of .ympathy for only constrained to join the or communal consideration, gan, "Gharibi Hatao" (Banish her Hindu . brethern. The procession, but also to honour thereby winning over all' section Poverty), too, had lost im lus- road to the accursed OperaGiani Zail Singh with a sword of the Punjabis, He made a dent tre. Only the Hindu votes tion Blue Star had been well and a saropa at the conclusion in' the Akali strong holds, a feat could help her bring back to laid, though it was trodded of the Yatra, Although he was which even the legendary power after the ~ general upon the iron heel. of the vehemently criticised by his Pratap Singh Kairon had mis- election to the 1.01< Sabha. !indian anny only eight In pursuance of that stra- months later, on June 3, traditional detractors, mostly erably failed to perform. The belonging to his own party, by then G~vemor, Dr.D.C. Pavate, tegy, M.... Gandhi had begun 1984. '

Continued from page 20, colS

·r "d.

a.

here an alarming decline in police discipline .in terms of what is owed to the rights of a citizen. ~ I am inclined to wonder whether part of the answer to the charge is not to be fO[1nd in tbe consuming obsession we see today with security. I have had politicians, let me say in all fairness not belongi"g to the ruling party, telling me that this is not time to be unduly harsh with policemen lest you demoralise them. _Delhi Scene I have been involved myself in

an unpleasant brush with a police officer in a matter related to security on what I believed was a highway mistakenly as it appeared to him. I escaped being ' manhandled but I know of others who were not so lucky, especially on some of the roads which the police now tell you, with an arrogance they did not display quite so unashamedly earlier, are VII' roads, whatever that may mean. I am aware of the exacting demands of security for those in the highest public office but I do not see that these demands have to be wildly inconsistent with the rights of a citizen. There is something going horribly wrong if the police forces are to get away with the idea that their special responsibilities in today's disturbed conditions confer a special dispensation to be a law unto themselves. • Prime Minister Concedes Bluestar A Falture Had Darbara Singh faithfully pursued Giani Zail Singh's policy of "humouring" all sections of the Punjabis, especially the Sikhs, neither the present gruesome situation would have come to pass, nor would we be witnessing now the mindless murders being committed daily by the Sikh extremists and the police and paramilitary forces. That Operation Blue Star was a palpable blunder was candidly conceded by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi at his last press conference on January 20. Replying to a question, he said: "Operation Blue Star did not succeed in controlling the situation. It caused hurt but was ~nable to go to the root of the problem." , Thus, the genesis of the Punjab problem lies in denial of the "glow of freedom to the Sikhs in free India" as promised by Jawaharlal Nehru and other Congress leaders on ' the eve of partition and reversal of Giani Zail Singh's policy to allow them a, dominant role in the affairs of the State, while ensuring fair opportunities to Hindus and Muslims in its polity and ' administration. (Incidentally, the Giani's policy was in live with Maharaja Ranjit· Singh's.) Political toddlers who rule the countIy these days, can ignore this cardinal lesson of Punjabi's history only at a great peril to the countly if not more .• 6-21 February 1987

21

I


F8rum

------------------------GazeL~

Punjab's Torment ••• The State .& Religion

•••

Continued from page 15, col 5 Continued from page 4 col5

My

daughter offered to explain that she was a Hindu and yet had received the love of Guru Gobind Singh an d had understood Guru Granth Sahib to be the instrument of total ugiversality and brotherhood_ And she had come to say soThey expressed satisfaction but told us that they were doing nothing un-Sikh and did not feel doubtful about their acts. We saw that they were committed and they genuinely believed that. even in the case of killings inn ocent peopole as in buses, etc, there was nothing to be ashamed of in the face of cou ntless harms done to them. We saw that, at least in the spiritual context, ·they were definitely misguided but we also saw that from their own point of view, they were genuinely commitied. Therefore, while the earlier hostility changed )nto smiles, the penetratlon in terms of re.a1 Sikh vailles was not there. Angry Old Man Of God_ I am therefore CERTAIN that the hurt the anger and the reaction over the incation of the Central Government is MUCH

MORE PAINFUL than I had imagines earlier. Therefore, the question of spiritual insight appears impossible for them to be able to distinguish the right from the wrong. There is total justification to do even the wrong in the fact of wrongdoing by the adversary_ To my utter surprise I got the same reactions from Sardar Ram Singh Dhillion, 102, Rani-kabagh, and old man of God and genuinely spiritual. Even he thought that in the circums.t;mcesv this attitude was unavoidable, inevitable, even if it was - unspiritual. The Central Government, for reasons of politicru gain and vote-catchiI]g and the Haryana lobby in addition to the Hindu trader lobby of Punjab, was dishonest and inactive. They were adding fuel to the fire, rather than healing the wounds. Bluestar, Woodrose, Jodhpur detainees, Nov. 84 riots against Sikhs, Army deserters' questions and now inaction \over 8rahmpura excesses, all these were going to further Ialienate the youth and even the moderate Sikhs. BarnaIa is now loot. •

Bitter Harvest

• • •

over. Left Groups It ought to be remembered that the only force that is actually fighting the terrorists in Punjab · Villages are the left groups with their different socicreconomic constituencies and polilics. They remain, as ,a movemel\t, the single most serious enemy of the terrorists. In other words, in terms of political action it is the mobilisational efforts of the left that have the capacity to neutralise the terrorists politically at the grassroot. Since the left does not and will not receive any support under the present regime it does not mean that it should give up its radically different approach to the problem itself or fight to demand this. !...But the impression one gets !>l'rom the parliamentary debate shows that precisely the opper site is the case,

22

6-21 Fe~ruary 1987

The Muslim invasion Were th e'n dose one draw a line between relgion and politi cs? The advent of Muslim and Mughal rule in India saw the spread of Islamic influence in all spheres of the social, cultural and political life of the Indian people. This gained momen tum after the l'eign of Akbar, reaching its zenith under Aurangzeb. Soon thereafter it reached its nadir wi th his dea th in · 1707 A.D. Religion played a very prominent role in the governing of th e state of these time and Muslims were assigned high positions. All decisions taken and punishments awarded were high positions. All decisions taken and punishment s awarded were in consent with the Islamic law, the Sharial. Many I~rab countIics, and Pakistan, are 111le by Islamic lalw, even today, This law is upheld in all social and political decisions. Rise of Sikhism

Conffnued from page 12, col 5

must not be encouraged_ to divide. It al80 needs reitera, tion that BarnaJa's continuarice as the Chief Minister was not based o n his political credibility, but rather his malleability as far as the Centre was . concerned. Belabouring the Government for inaction, and demanding his dismissal may be rou tine parliamen tary work but cannot hide the fact that in Punjab it is actually the Centre that is in comand. \. UnaVOidably the question is whether temu;sm can be countered by cross indifference • towards . the Sikhs and their alienation or by winning them

became a Jain monk himsel[ The second cen tlilY B,C. ru lers of Kalinga IOrissa) professed Jainism, The religio n prevailed during the Kushan rule _and even Harshavardhana, \ a Buddhist king, helped in the spread of Jainism _in East India. The rulers of ancient India from 5th centul)' A.D. to 19th centul)' A.D. the Gangas, Kadambas, Chalukyas and the Rastrakutas all professed Jainism,

A 'Pollcyless' Government

Sikhism had 'Hisen as a PI'Otest and a revolt against the defeati st, fataJistic and non-aw'essive philosophy of th e Hindus in the face of Muslim version and rule. The Sikh Gurus always

However, the debate more forcefully establishes that the Government remains reactive, without a policy. The Prime Minister could therefore engage in scoring debating points by s hape of escalation in the use arguing th~t the opposition now of force, no eft'0I1 is made fo r should support the Govern- sustained Political response. ment's demand for more pow- II seems that this is being ers vis-a-vis the State. In fact he dispensed with. argued that were it not for Centre Calls The Tune pressure from the opposition, In this lies the miscalculation the Terrorist Act and amended Article 249 would not have been of the Centre. The important emasculated. And the Union- thing about Punjab is that since Home Minister would not have the split in the Akali Dal legislaspoken of how "fundamental tive wing the -State is being run rights" and other such "legal by the Centoo. Though the Conniceties" are less important gress legislative· party has been than the threat to the unity and vel)' reluctant to play the supintegrity of the country. 'l'he pO'1ive role in appearance, it point driven across was that the knows full well that for law and Punjab situation waITants CUI': order issues it is the Centre that tailing the rights of citizens and . calls the tune. Thus the disStates. And the Ptime Minister missal of the BarnaJa Governwent on to claim that the Pun- ment would affect things at ·jab police were ill-equipped and the ·margins only. Far more important is the fact that termust be better armed. rorism would be even more difficult to contain were CenBudget For State Violence tral intervention to become Budget allocations for. the de jW'e. Nonetheless it is cerpolice keep on .rising despite . tain that whether or not there is their proven incompetence. a change in the Government's The 2:J5 companies of BSF approach to Punjab Ithat is, if and CRPF, the largest such there was one to begin with) the deployment in anyone place, powers of the Centre will be have been in Punjab for the further enchanced, as evident in past few years. They do not th-e recent proposal made by suffer from lack of sophisti- the Minister of State of Home cated arms. If the solution lay Altairs to Parliament for identifying "Federal crimes", which it in use of force, the results implemented, would further would have s hown it. Howdeprive the States and citizens ever while time and again the Centre's response talces the of their rights. e

Challenged the existing tyra nt, protesting against tyrannical oppl'Cssion, Nanak, the firs t Guru, by declaJing 'mje sin/J lllukd,Wl kute declared the battle in political temlS .through the Sikh religion. The thi"d Guru, Amm' Das, directed the Sikhs not to pay toll tax to Mughal authorities for crossing th e river Beas at Goindwal. This was an-other step in the political struggle against tY'Tany by the Sikh religious leaders. The martyrdom of the fifth Guru. Arjan Dev saw th e conjun ction of l'eligion and politics. In t606, the Sixth GUI~' , Hargobind, announced that he wou ld wear two swords, 'Mid ' \temporall and 'Piri ' IspirilllalJ, thus fOJ1l1alizing th e marriage of politics and religion. According to him, politics is a mare and 'dhanna ' is its rider, This mal'e ca n be dJiven only with the stick Idanda) of knowledge Igyanl attained through religion. The establishment of the Akal Takht, the Supreme Seat of Justice ,was a major step in th e bonding,of religion and politics. ' , The ninth Guru, Tegh Bahadur, declared Anandpur Sahib as a tax-free town and~ even collected revenue from the n eigh ~ bOUJi!1g villages. His execution in 1675 ordered by Aurangzeb for upholding th e Hindu religion against Mughal oppression, waS an exa mple of the sup reme sacrifices made by men of religion against political oppression. The declaration of th e Sikh nation by the tenth guru Gobind Singh, by creating the Khal sa Panth in 1699, was the final step in establishing the inseparable natUJ'e of religion and politics. Bhai Gurdas in his verses has qu oted:

1\

·Raj bena na dharam chale huin, Dharam bena sab da le male hain ·' Co nfinning th e strong linkage betwee n politics, government and 1'Cligion . ~ Present nexus between religion and politics These are all instan ces of Olll' past histOlY, But in Ih.e pmsen t day, too, it is casy to find many exa mples at th e nexus between religion and polities in India, a so called ·sec ular· stat e. Take th e recent inauguration of the Ganga PUJification Project at Hardwar by Raj iv Gandhi. to th e accompaniment of chant s of Vedic hymn s. This .had more of religiolls o.venones than the e ll\~ronl11 en t cleansing aspect. How does the state preach se para ti on of l'eligion and politics when such overtones al'C part of evelyday life? .. ) In other instances, both rt.. gion and politics can be bl'Ought togeth er, for a price, as was don e in the case of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, when he was flown in a governmen t plane to Indore to de liver a mJigious semlon ! These are only two instances from a large mpositolY. Even the Father of the Na tion, Gandhiji cherished a dl'eam, th e Ram Rajvf], in which he visualised a sla'le governed by the principles and tenets of the Hindu re ligion. Last but no least, those who advise the Sikhs to delink religion and politics, wou ld do we ll to pond er over wha t Gandhiji, by whom they swear, said in his autObiography, "My devoti on to truth has drawn me into the Geld of politics, and I can...,Y without hesitation and yet in, _ humility that those who say -, that l'eligion has nothing to do with politics, do not know what they are saying. e

OH ! THIf1" E'tPLA'1/ S TH ED. FFEIC. r: Nce. I~ OU ~ WM-tr£s ••


F8rum ____________Gazcttc--'--' __________ two questions is "Yes", there is disappointmenl and anger, in

varyi ng degrees, to be expected from the vic tims, the survivors,

the Sikhs community and by all th ose int erested in seeing jus-

tice prevail. List Of Dead Accordi ng to the press leaks on

the

Misra

CQmmission

Report, Justice Misra has suggested that another inquiry agency be appointed to go into the number of the dead in those November days. Would this no t be adding insult to injUlY? During the Commission

proceeding Justice Misra had directed the Delhi Administralion to provide a list of those killed. The list submitted totalled 1419 names. This total included those non-Sikh member' of tRe mobs who were killed whether by accident or in the few instances when Sikhs' defended themselves. When the CJC pointed out the figure given to Parliament in 1985 was a higher

-,

the commission one, did not go ~ tinued from page 24, co/5

Commenting on the FIR, the Gurudwara Management Committee, in its written argumen t

one another described identical were present when witnesses happenings in widely separated .gave their evidence, the Comareas of Delhi, identical proce- mission did no t allow the PUCL dures. In Kanpur and Bokaro, or PUD R, who had carned out

before the Commission, said where the Commission also that the "police reached the held hearings, it was the same place when rioters were indulg- story. If all the evidence is made ing in criminal acts, yet nobody public it will be very clear that was arrested at the spot. .. The there was "a pattern, there was place of occurrence is only 3 organisation and planning. Besides the affidavits and Kms.· from the Police Station and a motorcycle takes hardly FIRs the e JC tried to assemble Kil- other evidence. Of particular fivenut es to reach there. ling so many persons and burn- · importance were government ing them to asheS takel a cou- orders of official action in those ple of hours. The police momentous days. Such docuknowingly allowed the miscre- ments, in the CJC'.s view, should ants to have their way and have been made available, reached the site to complete a automatical.1y, by the authorities mere fonnality. No one was to the Commission to enable Justice Misra to carry out a full arrested. investigation. But when the CJC FIR No. 37') da ted 1.11.84 ,.. \~~ St~t i on Srinivaspuri. Re- , tned to summon thesf! records, b ed by Sarvajit Katir wl o its attempts were frus trated, KulwaHt Singh ri o 68 A Hari initially by delaying and obstrucNagar, Ashram "that their house tive tactics of the Un ion was first attacked on 1.11.84 at government and Deihl adminislO.a.m. T heir car was taken out · tration. But to its dismay the and set on fire. The doors of Committee found that the house were also burnt. Then Commission refused to make the mob came again at 10 p.m. these documents available to and started looting and burning the CJC, when finally they were the house. Then her father-in- produced to the Commission. law and brother-in-law were So only Justice Misra saw the burnt alive in front of the evidence on what official action · had taken place during the viohouse. The CJC has listed the affidav- lence, or on the failure of the .its 'subjectwise.' The list of sub- authorities . The CJC was of the opinion jects includes "burnt while alive", "burnt while uncmis- that the evidence of nine officious", "role of police", "evi- cials, including the fonner Lt. dence showing supply of petro- Governor of Delhi and the ',Ieum products to the mobs, the Commissioner of Police, all of organisflrs", etc. A sampling of whom were responsible for affidavits is revealing. Prem Kaur maintaining law an d order in of A-4/ 104 Suitanpuri deposed the city, was vital to the investithat her husband and two sons They submitted that they should were burnt toge ther with kero- be allowed to cross examine sene oil; ReghuQir Kaur of DDA these officials in the public Flats, Slum tenements, Garhi interest. But the Commission stated that the "mob attacked informed the Committee that it my husband with iron rods and had already examined five of he was thrown into a hig oven these officials, that the others established by the them and would also be examined if the was roasted alive. In total 48 Commission felt ir' necessary. Sikhs were roasted alive in her But that the CJC's cross examistreet." Kirpal Singh Chawla of nation was not necessary. The WZ-235 A Inderpuri gave evi- CJC found that in this, as well dence that "Mahesh Yadav was as on many oi~er occasions, it leading the mob in a jeep ·incit- was excluded from the inquiry along with the public. ing them to kill every Sikh." A Delinte Pattern Commission's I"!spective of where the witRegulations Cause Concern

the immediate investigatio n of

the violence and issued the report 'Who are the Guilty".?, to participate

on

"techincal

grounds". In another unusual feature of the inquiry the Union of India and the Delhi Adminis-

back to the Administration but asked the CJC, which had none of the facilities available to the

the details pro'(ided: name of person, father's name, date of death, name of person reporting death. Addresses are also available, and one hopes that if the CJC does publish its expriences, that this list will be included. In its letter to the Commission

accompanying the Ust the CJC had suggested that the investigation agericy appointed by the Commission should complete the list. Eleven months later, it is obvious that this was not done. Will another agency, still to be ap pointed, be able to draw up a list of those killed nearly three years ago, in those chaotic conditions?

But will the Misra Commission report be made public? This remains the unanS\vered question. But one "'tliing is unfortunately becoming clearer and c1e~rer . There is little hope that the Report will help towards healing the wounds of November 1984, inflicted not only on the . Sikh community, but on the India democratic state. We do not know if the eminen t citizens of the Citizens

Admi nistration, to submit a li st. 11 did· so, and the to tal, in the

Justice Commit·tee selected their name wi th prophetic foresight. But since they chose that

three lists submitted the CJC emphasised that the list was still incomplete - is 3870. The authenticity of the list Ues in

justice for the citizens of the country by sharing their infor~ation with the public.•

nomenclatul'C they can promote

tra tion produced no witnesses.

Nor obviously di d the Commission feel thi s was necessary,. or

else it could have insisted on this being done. The CJC was also unhappy about Justice -Misra's selection of which affidavi ts should be taken up for oral.

The Commission did not explain in the basis for its seleclion and affadavits considered

to be. of vital importance to the CJc.. ~ere omitted. Nor did the Cciinrnission call on any of the persons named by the victims in their affidavits to appear acd explain their actions in reply to the allegations against them. Had Justice Misra decided from the very start fhat he would not assign responsibility, no matter what the evidence produced before him? Was the exercise of filing affidavits, bringing witnesses to depose in the face of threats and intimidation, a mere fonnality? If the reply to these

nesses lived, in every subject

covered by affidavits, whether the witnesses were Sikhs or nonSikhs, the account of what happened is strikingly similar. People who were total strangers to

The Commission held nine sessions for receiving evidence

between January to March 1986. While the somewhat questionable parties mentioned earlier

A Hindu in Punjab has grown hili heard and sports a safran pagri as protection

6-21 February 1987

23


:The '

_S_p_O_tli __·gh __t____________________~-----(l~U9---------------------R.-N-.4-57-6_3/_86_:_D(~S~EI_1_5/__ 86

Misra .Commission Report On the Casualty List

I

nquiry commission

been a major casualty of the Rajiv Gandhi government so far. Such commissions always arouse a certain amount of

skepticism but presently the credibility of government appointed commissions has touched a new law. We have had the Mathews Commission, the Venkatararniah Commiss\on,

the Thakar Commission, the Misra Commission and the Eradi Commission, to name just

a few recent inquiries. The fate of the last two is still unknown. Of them all the Justice Jlangaoath Misra Commission arouses

the most human interest because of the vast number of tragedy. struck persons -who expected from its report some element of comfort for the suffering they had undergone, and a modicum of justice for the unprecedented injustice .they had experienced. The word "expected", the past tense, is used deliberately, for after the apparently inspired leaks aboui the report's contents to the national press, there is every reason to believe that the Commission's conclusions may only rub salt into angry wounds, rather than serve the cau se of justice.

The Prime Minister has twice given -an assurance that unlike the Thakar Commission report, that of the Misra Commission will)be presen,ted to Parliament, presumeably at the coming Budget .session. Justice Misra presented the report to the government five months ago, in

August 1986. In view of the leaks to the press indicating that the report in perhaps what will be called a 'whitewash job',

' Citizens Justice Committe many ' people are asking why The Citizens Justice Com· the government did not make the report public at that time. mitte - set up for the specifi c The eroded credibility of the purpose of assisting the Comgovernmen t vis a vis the anti- mission to arrive at the truth Sikh violence in November 1984 headed by the former Chief Jusleads to the other alternative tice of India Mr S.M Sikri and conclusion, that had the report including eminent persons such found that the violence was as Justice Narula, formC!' Chief organised, and that the ruling Justice of the Punjab and party and the government, Haryana High Court, JUptice central and local, were in part Tarkunde, fomlerly of thellomat least, at fault for the camage, bay High Court, Lt . General J.S. the Misra Commissioll conclus- Aurora (Retd.) and Mr Soli ions would have met the same Sorabji, represented strongly fate as ~hose of the Thakar against the presence of these Commission. So the public is organisations. The Committee still . . the dark. felt that this negated whatever justification existed for holding An In-camera the inquiry in camera. That I Inquiry Within provision could be justified only An In:camera Inquiry .if it .protected the identity of As it was during the proceed- witness from intimidation and ings of the inquiry conducted . persecution on the part of those by Justice Misra, an inquiry against whom they were giving described by the Citiu;ns Justice evidence. The CJC, which finally walked Committee as "an in-camera inquiry within an in-camera out or the Misra Commission on inquiry." In accordance. with March 31, 1986, after having put the right of every Commission in a tremendous amount of to frame , its own regu lations, hard work in colh!cling a!lidav· Justice Misra decided that the its and other evidence to assist Commission proceedings should the Commission in its work be in camera. However, initially, from July t985 to March 1986, the Commission secretary pro· was deeply concerned to see vided daily press releases. But that ultimately Justice Misra after just two sessions, Justice treated the CJC on a par with Misra doscontinued this prac- these somewhat doubtful organose and no information was isations. This was one or the , reasons why the Committee available. However, when it came to decided to dissociate itself from permitting various parties to the Commission. It would be in partici pate in the inquiry, a the public interest if the CJC permission which logically were to publish an account of should have been reserved for its participation in the Misra organisa)ions intimately . con- Commission, even though the nected with the events of proceedings were held 'in November, tbe Commission acc- camera. Publication would reveal epted the p3l1icipation of a what kind of evidence was number of parties which appe· placed before the Comrllssion, ared. to have doubtful antece- what was the information availdents. These organisalions, able on which Justice Misra some of which had never been based his findings. This is a he3l'CI of earlier, were allowed to ,matter of some import because p~rticipate without having to of the extraordinary character of state their aims and objectives the November 1984 violence Most of them did not contribute which set it apart from the in any way to the inqutry, and it normal pattern of communal became apparent that "particil'a- I riots. lion" consisted of keeping an ' Never before 'in our .posteye on the proceedings and, independence history did the presumeably, 0," the witnesses State appear, deliberately, to who came to depose before the deny succor against violence . Commission. The obvious expla· , and death to a section of its nation for their presence was own citizens. With the result that they were the eyes and that for many people the State ears of interested parties. and its arms of authority have l

l

I

I

I~ W~

WJ1H 1H~

24

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.

By Rap

NEWSHOUND .1101l8le

been put in the dock to answer These a!lidavits, together with why India's ca pital was virtually .the FIRs, fOlm the bulk of the handed over to the mob for 72 evidence presented to the hours. Commission. They are the living documen tation or those mur-. Evidence Before derous days, and even' a cursory The Commission reading is convincing indictment of those named by the The Citizens Justice Commit- witnesses. To give an example: tee was able to help file about FER No, 4'10 dated 1.11.84: Place 700 affidavits in Delhi before the of occurrance 3 Km. from Delhi Commission. To do this its Cantt. Police Station. Some anonymous caller info!'volunteer workers petfonned the herculean task of persuad· med the P.S. at 11.40 a.m. that ing the survivors of the carnage, in Sagarpur,_ acros~ ~he dra;q , most of them still huddled in mob comprising many P"~ , was moving about, and, WI.._1 a) p ri ~a t ely run relief camps in July 1985, living under great fear view to avenge the death of Smt. and tension, still tramatized by Indira Gandhi, beating Sikhs the holocaust which had hit and setting their houses on fire. When the ASI and other them, to come forward to give evidence. The perpetJ'ators of police personnel reached the site, they found many groups of viole~ce still walked freely in the areas where these men and people (groups of 50 eachl havwomen had lived previously, ing kerosene soaked rags tied to and potential witnesses faced sticks in thier hands and perconstant intimidation. Unfortu· forming bhangra, was causing nately the -Commission arid the loss to the property and perDelhi Administration took a rel- sons of Sardars. On being chalatively unsympathetic stand on lenged by the police party the the reality of such intimidation mob ran here and there. Heaps by the police, the local political of ashes were seen at many netas and others. But in spite of places and it came to be known these obstacles the 700 affidavits to the police party that sardars 6.led gave a complete picture of were killed and completely . the November events to the burnt at these places." Commission. Continueo on page 23, col 1

ARtNT ~a.UIPPt.l>

WfA PONS TO

D~1.

WllH ~~RORJSTS!

6-21 February 1987 Printed and'published ~Y A.S. Narang 'lo r the Sikh Forum , 3 Masjid Road , Bhogal, New Delhi - 110 014 atWordtron ic, 111 / 56Nehru Place, New Delhi -110019


F8rum

_~_OI_~D_"~gh_t_F_O_C_US_________________ Gazelto ______________~__~______

Malegaon

Vast Majority of Sikhs for Cou~try's Integrity

A ·Communal Flashpoint M ,

alegaon, in Maharashtra, is a sad example of how in our seemingly secular society a minor incident is enough to bring out in all its fury the communal venom in society, Rab idly sectarian elements easily transform, otherwise peace-loving people in to violent monsters, M ~ egaon , about 140 Km, from Nasik, an important powerloom and handloom centre with a population 01 over 4,00,000 has s uffered recurring incidents of communal violence,

Politicians and th ei r moneybags have a lways bee n iiltCl'ested in cl'Ca ting communal tension in thi s town ship of 75 per cent Muslim population. The first cOm munal riot dates back to 1921 during the Khilafat movement, when a police sub inspector was burnt alive and a place of wo rship set on fi re by th e fi..,nzied mob. Ti ll today this is a "live' issue in th e ' town beca use Hindus .m fil se to recognise the four Muslims hanged for thi s as freedom fighters. Former Chief Minister, Antulay's sche me to

YO llng, {lnd in encolll'aging cOlllmunal organ isations.

Cong ress Woos Muslims Local congressme n have always tried to woo the Muslims. '\\ textbook contl'Oversey ca used by the Muslims objecting to certain passages conccming MO!lammed Paigambfl', was explOIted by Congressmen. As a reaction, local Janata leader, Nihal Ahmed jumped into the fray and acti" sed his supporters. The Hind s nourished a grudge against the Muslims. As a result in I ovember, 1982 when one co mmunity took out a procession demanding that .one of the chapters in the eigh th standard h istory textbook be amended, there was looting and arson. The procession had been peaceful despite Janata and Congress III leaders tlying to upstage each oth er in communal fervour, but trouble broke out when a

I

1azla procession passing through Chandanpuri area 01 Malegaon

construc t Martyrs' memorials for freedom-figl; tcrs in several towns inadvert ently review'ed the con troversy in 1982.

Ganpati, Cow Slaughter, Riots In 1963 communal riots and erupted dUling the Ganpati celebrations. Again, in 1967 the pretext was cow sla ughteling. and since to en, regular anticow slaughter agitations have stoked th e commu nal fire. Thirty-six butchers were sente nced to t!;tree months imprisonment i}n~ cows au ctioned, fo llo""ng the efforts of the Malegaon Kri shi Go Seva Samiti. In pl'O test the butchers organised a strike. Ultimalely, a n agree ment was hammered .out in the presence of police officials '''''th the ' butchers agreeing not to slaughter cows. In 1975 a trivia l quarrel involving a paan-walla and his clien t, both from different communi ties, resu lted in a severe riot on Rangpanchni, when the e ntire town was set ablaze. Even a minor incident is given a communal twist by interested parties. A l'Oad accident involving a State Transport bus is given communal

.

overtones and the vehicle set on lire. Leaders of both com· munities irrespective of party aftlliations. are accused of '~' ng ""th 'each other in fan· riing traditi onal fears and hatred , paI1icularly anlOng the

.

Economic Interests

Some peo ple feel that eco- c ommenting on the events mi tt ed to.c1oud the basic reality nomic interes ts am involved in of 26 January 1987 at the of the sit uation. The vast majo rthis communal tension. Like Golden Temple, Amritsar, ity of th e Sikhs continue to Bhiwandi, Malegaon sun,ve, the Sikh Forum has poin ted ou t believe in the integrity of the on its powedoom s, 50,000 offi- that the '5arbat Khalsa' can only count!)' and happenings such cially in number and double be called by the Jathedar of the as these are not representative that numbel' unoffi cially. Tradi- 'Akal Takht'. Neither the Panthic ofthe whole community. tionally, it is the Hindus w ho Commi ttee nor the Damdami have supplied the yarn and Taksal is empowered to do so. But tbe Forum emphasises collected th e filii shed pl'Oduct. The Sarbat Khalsa of January 26 tha t all this could have been But now, Muslims have also was no more than a convention, avoided if the centre had imstarted making inl'Oads into no matter how large . the plemen ted th e ~njab . Accord these traditional Hindu areas. attendance. sincerely and speedily. On the , This has generated new fears The Forum, in a press miease, contrary the Prime Minister in amongst the established whole- 12 Feb.1987! points out tha t the his Press Conference of 20 Jansale dealers, They see a direct hoisting of a half burn t national "ary 1987 has vitiated the aithreat of Musli ms taking over flag and a so-called 'Khalistan ' ready difficult situation. It is , the enti,.., powed oom industlY: flag are not signs of maturi ty or ·regrett able that the ru li ng party According to a pl'Ofessbl' in responsible conduct. The emo- gives precedence to electo ...1 the local coll ege, the po\-ver- tional outbursts of a section of considerations over nationa l loom owners also have a self- ~S~ikh~Eo~u~th'..'...:s~h.!!0~u!!lC! d_n!!0~t~be:='-El'-7:....::in:::t::e:.: re::s::ts=:.•;-_ _-;;-_ _ __ ish motive in preserving commu~~ism. They instiga te com. ~glses munal tension in o rder to .. j W~ close down the powerlooms

Ra".ll'ar - Apo'I

during th e period when business is pOOl' and the powerloom owners want to SlOp wDlk According to the loca l Muslims, eco nomi c reaso ns pl'Ompt moneybags to activate politicians into using their goons to intimidate th e work ing class Muslims.

Tension In the air; Ganpati procession passing through Muslim dominated mohallas 01 Malegaon

Sunni gmu p in th e community took out its own morcha and we nt on a looting sp,..,e. There was retaliatOlY looting by the b ther community and 16 shops of one community and , four of th e other were !'ansacked by the time the police stopped the riot. . Te nsion was bl'C\>\1ng from 1982 onwards and the resentment over this 'unequal' looting is said to have sparked off the reaction ·in the last week of June, 1983 when some miscreant s fired crackers near a place of worship a day after India won the Prudential Cup in oneday cli cket. All the town rejoiced India's victDlY, so one community, therefore, sees no reason why crackers should have been burst near a place of / worship 2A hours after India won the Prudential Cup. The other side questions the "over-reactio n" to a Few crackers. The result was ""despread violence in the entire town. · . Three persons were ki lled and arou,n d 200 injured. This year there was tension in the Ganpati celebrations, and the 'immersion ' ceremony was delayed by a week.

Ominous Developments In 1983 Malegaon resident s from bbth communities po~nt out that in 1963,1967, 1975 and 1982, th e di sturbances were over in a ' matter of hou rs. But they obselved an ominous difference in the . t 983 di sturbances. These lasted four days and sophisticated weapons were used freely. Relib'ious festh' ties have become the appl'OpJiate occasjons to stage such communa l riot s and during these celebrations Malegann is converted virtually in to a police camp. Heavy police forces escort the rcligiolls pmcessions of both communit ies. According to some Hindu idents, criminals and antisocial elements are bl'Ought in from outside to create riots. Though.. the tOl"" limps back to nDlmalcy after every ri ot, an uneasy feeli ng persists in the minds of the , people. Unelss the Governm~nt identifies and extel11s the elements who (ll'C respon sible for the riots, Malegaon ""II conti nue to sit on a volcano which may erupt any time in the fu ture, a microcosm of many similar places in "secular" India. •

' ' S-

for Hurt to SI-khs /

The Sikh Forum's complaint to the Press Council against the \ views of Rajendar Mathur, Chie( Editor, Navbharat Times, in the Ravivar of 7 September, 1986, was discussed by the Co uncil on 29 JanualY, 1987. Mathur had stated that the responsibility For the- situation in th e Punjab I..,sted on the mad sardars who are shlieking abo ut identity and what not. He had ri diculed the ide ntity aspect and suggested that Bal Thakre and SUlindel' Kumar Billa will now give the Sikhs thein identity. Justice A N. Sen, Chairman of th e Press Council, deprecated these remarks and stat ed that the paper has now published an unqualified apology. This reads: "Shri Rajendar Mathur, Chi ef Editor, Nawllara, Times had give n some views on violence in the issue of Ravivar dated 7 September, 1986 ~h ich he later clenied . We would like to reitel'-

ate that we have no aniI)losity agai nst any particular commun ity. the RaviVi.r has been raising its voice at the atl'Ociti es committed against the Sikhs. We ""II still apologies to them who have been hurt ~y the said pub· Ii cation. _We are s ure that OU I' Sikh bl'Others will not ma ke 'this issu e an emotional one an d will pardon us For this unintentional mi stake". Shri Gurmuk Singh Jeet, Secretary, Sikh Foruril, described th e views of Shri Ma thur as utterly reprehensible and impressed upon the Press Council to take seriou s not e of such rabid writings whi ch inci te communal hatred and in fact violate proced Ul..,s of the Criminal Procedure Code. He wanted Shri Mathur to be bl'Ought before the bar of the Press Council for his views. Justice Se n asked the Counci l to accept the apology of

Rav;var.•

f--- - -- - -- - -- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Misra -Commission Report , A Whitewash . I In a press re lease dated 2 February 1987 the Sikh Forum has poin ted ou t ' that if the Mishra Commission report is "a whitewash I..,port" the hurt to the Sikh psyche ""II be aggrava ted and "th e faith in the words and deed s of the govemmen t . ""II inredeemably lost ". The.. release states "The Cit izens Jus ti ce Co mmitt ee headed by Just ice Siloi had to withdraw its coopera tion from the Misra Commission in March 1986 .-when Justice Misl'a announced that its tenns of reference did not include identil'ying the culprits responsible for the carnage. This developme nt could not have led to any outcome other than a whitewash job perforrned by the Misra Commission, as reported." IThe report appeared in a national dai ly!. The release e num erates three importan t points: iI the lapse of six months between the events

and . the appoin tment of the Commission, under press ure; iii the terms of reference of the Commission were different from those of any other similar Commissions in the past ; iii) the pl'OcedUl'" followed was "one sided ". "Everything thus was loaded .against an bonest and impartial 'enquiry." The Sikh Forum emphasizes tha t so fa, not a single guilty person has been pl'Osec uted, leave alone punished. On the cbntrary "14 people who defended themselves ""th the help of duly licensed arms are und er p l'Osec tuion." ·The rc lease goes on "In this exercise of committees and commissions, the biggest casualty· has been tUl1h. "It stresses that although the November 1984 killing was unpreceden ted camage, the governmen t has not expressed a word of regret, nor has a resolu tion of condolence been passed in Parliament. e

. 6-21 F~bruary 'l987

3


_________ Focus Gazette -~m __________ _Fortnight

Punjab's Growing Ferment And Torment An Insight Into Anger, Bitterness and Resistance of The Sikh Youth . Hoshiarpur?" I asked, "Surely they could not be considered guilty as they were neither from .the police nor army etc. They replied: If we cannot get the guilty ones, we have to send a message that we shall not tolerate such indignities and repression. If it is possible, we will destroy all those who have contributed to such a situation. When Guru Gobind Singh sent Banda Bairagi to Punjab and he attacked Sirhind, no one could see whether a

From Bhagwanl Singh Dalawari in Amrilsar

3 Feb.,,1987 Bhagw.tnt Singh Dalawari, who has been to Punjab with Baba Arnte and his group many times in ·the recent past is once again travelling in the State, On 'a mission of peace, understanding and e~ucation, he is accompanied this time by his daughter Rajlakshmi. They will be writing . back to the Gazette as they meet more p ople in different part of the State.

M

y daughter Rajlakshmi and I anived in Amritsar on 1st February and staying in Akal Rest House, met the All India Sikh Students Fed· eration leaders, Swaran Singh Khalsa, Gen. Secy and Jagdish Singh Malhi, Vice President IGurjit Singh faction!. We ex· plained that we, as a Hindu daughter and a Sikh father, had come to express to them the anguish of a distinguished body of eminent persons in Delhi who realised the injustices done to the Sikhs and has ' pleaded for release of Jodhpur detainees or public trial of those charged with crimes, the punishment for perpetrators of crimes against Sikhs in the Nov. 84 carnage, but were bewildered at the killing of innocent people

in the streets or in ' buses in Punjab) Apart Ij'om the fact that

sisters and daughters, attack on our religious places, destruction of our very culture, cruelties of the Army, CRPF AND BSF on the Sikh yout h and crushing of their spirit. So you can consider the question of innocent Hindus being killed. we are facing the systematic destruction of our innocent people being kille in fake encounters, "escapes" and so on. So, whom do you call guilty and whom innocent.'? For us, anyone who indulges in such acts against us or. who abets or tolerates or keeps quiet in the face of such indignities on us, is guilty and we approve of such people being killed. In other words, when Golden Temple was attacked, Hindus supplied ciga· rettes and food to soldiers in the PaIikarma, they always ask for Anny and more repression,

/

these ki llings were against the tenen ts of Sikhism and tar· nished our image, the result of such acts was that government which was taking no urgent measures for solution, could sleep further because the Hin· dus throughout the country expressed horror at the killings. During Olir 3-hour discussion, . the A1SSF leader made the following points: _

Killing. of innocents: You do ' not understand, what kind of a Sikh are you? The indignitie's heaped on the Sikhs Iik~ burning of Guru Granth Sahib, assault and rape on o.u r

4

6-21 FebruarY 1987

'

theyl never' sympathise with usfor army's or security Forces' repression. They rejoice at our discomfiture, etc. So, they are all guilty.

W

We must have our own Constitution. Call idlgnity.

Pressure on Govt. "No Punjabi Hindu has bemoned the fact of repression, Sikh leadership is after kursi and power and everyday the atroci· ties continue. We are acting like true Sikhs and we shall not deviate from this path. If you say that eminent people realise the injustices done to us, why don't they give a dharna in front of Parliament or Raj· iv's house to solve the problem to our satisfaction? Merely writing of reports is not useful. Why didn't Baba Amte ofter himself for such an act?" Contin:'ed on page 22 call

Report from P,unjab Khadoor Sahib BabaAmte

. Iar person was gUl'1'ty or particu not; they were destroyed because they had witnessed the martyrdom of Guru Gobind Singh's sons and done nothing about it. We are clear that we are doing only what Guru Gobind Singh would have liked us to dr . When all other means fail, it IS lawful to take up the swor J. I said I did not understand at all the killing of innocent HindU!i on the street, or in the bus just at random. I think it is basically, an un-Sikh aCL

Amtel addreSSing thenational con vention of the Sikh Forum in Delhi

tion is run by a Presidum and is with Baba Joginder Singh. We are with Damdami Taksal because ,ve think the true posi'tion of l;Uru Gobind Singh's instructions is held by Dam· dami Taksal. Bhindranwale has taught us that we must get hold of that nerve of the adversary which is most painful. Guilty or not guilty is not the question. for us, Bamala, Badal, Tohra, no one is relevant. We want to Ilive.in India with dignity for" ~ich we have made 80 per cent sacrifices_ This is our country. Central GoV!. and Hindus should decide whether they wan t to live with us. We shall riot live like second class citizens. We do not want to live under the Constitution which makes ~s KeshadhaIi Hindus.

"Ail right," th ey said, "you find ollt the guilty for us and point them out. 1n any case we do not kill; we own such kil· lings because they are the result of cruelties to us. For example only on 30th January, our brother Nishan Singh Chitarkar, stated to have been killed while escaping was actually tortured and deliberately killed by police. What do we do then . .We know Brahm Dutt Inspector, H.S. Kah· lon, SP and Azhar A1am Khan, SSP are responsible for this, but if we do 'not get them, naturally some others will be killed. We can't take things lyi\'g down. In every village, they are systematically attacking and dishonour· ing Sikh youth, men and women fS in Brahmpura and wewill not leave them in peac~. We think all Hindus and others who do not protest,.are guilty".

h en I said, knew many Hindus who deplored such action and were against such Factions in AISSF We atrocities, they replied. No one has come to us. We recognise are all the same, but when only Chander Shckhar who government offers some crumbs, opposed them. In any case we some back out. Our President is have no wherewithal to identify also ManjiTSingh IJodh!lur Ja;li the guilty and we try our best as the other faction claims. b .ll to get them but along with the \ our convenor is Gurjit Singh guilty, anyone standing near whereas the other ' faction may also get hurt. 'What about claims. But our convenor is Gurbus tragedies like Mukatsar and , jit Singh whe~s the other fac-

Bhagwan Singh Dilawarl ery Sikh one meets is day. He blamed the central thoroughly disgusted with government for giving respec t~ ­ he Central Govel11ment's bility to terrorism by making dishonesty and its preoccupa- martyrs of those who killed. tion with votecatching in general Speaking of the youth he and the Haryana election in expressed the "ew that the you ng men-today are still deeply problem was not of unemploy· hurt because of the excesses of ment, but of underemployment, the past and the continuing and becallse of the wrong ed,,· excesses by security forces. No cation policy. The young Sikhs real effective measures have did not want to work on the been taken to assuage their feel· land, for which labour came· ings. They genuinely feel that from outside the state. But they their very survival is at stake, were not qualified for higher and that it is important that jobs. So, in their frustration and they fight for it, and to restore lack of employment, it was easy their self respect. They believe for them to get into misadventhat the Union Government is tures. The only solution was to trying to exterminate 'them and win their minds. Instead of they cannot remain spectators doing this the government was to this extennination. So in the alienating them further, and public views, uj'lless the Union alientating others also who suf· Government is made to realise fered from fear of, or experience this situation and behaves like of fake encounters and the an honest government of t)1e harassing behaviour of the people, Sikh youth will not police. Thel'e is a general feeling that listen. An eminent educationalist the Bamala government mayor express his vievvpoint that the may not fall but it has little Punjab Accord seemed to be backing among the Sikhs. Besort of regret of the nation for cause of .ts dishonest approach the injustices done to the Sikhs, the central government had but its parochial implementa· made the Punjab government a tion had further alienated the mere "chamcha" and the Sikhs Sikhs. Punjabi Hinqus and Sikhs know it. Many argue that Bama· outside Punjab, he said, were in la's inaction fuels the cause of a way responsible for giving the the extremists, giving them ne>\impression to the Central support in the form of incidents . government that it could · deal such as the Brahmpura excesroughshod with the Sikhs in ses, with no punishment meted Punjab. It was the Hindus who out to the guilty. The 'boys' are needed to concentrate on Pun· totally fed-up and the elders are jabiyat. Because QL their inter- not prepared ttl broach the sub· ests in the majority community ject of 'right' and 'wrong' with outside Punjab, they had never them for fear of being called cared for Punjab. The solution fools or 'darpoke'. Or even of lay in the central government's being eliminated. Whether or not the Jathedar healing the woup-do of Sikhs. A Sikh householder in Kha· of Akal Takht is procedurally door Sahib pointed out that the right or not, most of the Sikhs government's blunders had pro· seem to be with him. Although :,ded grounds for terrorism. If the Taksal seems to be the "Ie government had promptly authority, Jathedar Darshan . punished the' criminals of Singh' is seen as trying to bring No"mber 1984 'there would about a situation where Sikhs 1'a\ a been general condemna- speak with one voice. , 1'0n of the killers in Punjab to- From Bhagwan Singh DilawaIi .•

E


F&um __~\_____________________ GazeL~

Before The People's , Court ' ' Sagari Chhabra

History \Vas made at Delhi's Constitution Club on February 7 and 8, 1986 when the Indian People's Human Rights ribunal held its first hearnings. The case under investigation was the police firing in Arwal in Bihar, The verdict of the Tr;bunal can only exert moral pressure and the Tribunal has neither the authority nor the intention to pass penal orders, Some people within . the legal and civil rights circles question the meaning of a verdit where one side - in this case · the Bihar Government - refuses to participate, But the members of the young Human Rights Commission hope that . moral indictments by such a Tribunal will act as a "detel'rant against . growing state 'authoritarianism and violence."

T

The Human Rights liibunal

which also carried a mike. The persons attending the meeting did not carry any weapons, except sickles. About 50 children were present. The pqlice was gathered on all sides, and proven ted the participants from getting together'. The Rajak family sta"led throwing stones from their two-storeyed house and, under the circumstances, people started demolishing the wall constructed on the land by the Rajak family. The police burst tear gas shells. arrest of four persons in a dis-. pute over a quarter of an acre of land. The Bihar state govern· ment has until now not ordered a judicial enquiry into the AIw.J firing, let alone amest and prosecute the concerned police officers.

Police firing on Library

"The people , then dispersed to hold a meeting at the Gandhi Pustakalay. The police surrounded the place on all four sides on the rostrum side, on the side of the police station and on the roadside. Then the S.P. sahib came and, imme· Three independent investiga- . diately on his arrival, the firing tions - by the .Citizens for Democracy (CFD), People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCLI, Bihar, and the Association for Protec· tion of Democratic Right (APllRJ

Former Juslice T_V. Mehta and P.S. Pall.Hearing the wllness Human RighI Tribunal. enquiry In 10 the Police firing of 19-4-86 al Arwa/, Bihar

·little. boy to peep outside to find out-whether they had left." , EyewItness Accounls Kashyap Sandwij, another ey~tness, also deposed before

people helped me and took me to a doctor. Till now 1 cannot .do any work; my hand is too weak" 21 year old Janaki Thakir has bullelt injuries in bpth legs and was in hospital for three months, and in jail for about · five months. He is on bail. He described how he was sitting when the S.P. .ordered firing. As he ran he was hit in the left leg. He fell and was hit on the right leg, and lost consciousness. "When I came around" he said "I was in Patna hospital, but I got a bed only after two days. I was not treated properly and my foot got pus in i.t. 1 was taken to jail and have received ation from the government. The meeting was totally peaceful and there wae no stone throwing. The charge was we had arms is untrue. We are poor people. How can we get firearms? AU that is only with the rich zamindars." The pollee firing at AIwal has been called another Jallianwala

set up by the Indian Calcutta, - have given somePeoples's Human Rights what different but broadly conCommission held its first sitting cuning reports. The concensus in New Delhi on FebruaI)' 7 and in the reports is that tho firing I 8, 1987. Its first case was the incident of police firing in was unprovoked, that although AIwal, Bihar on April 19, 1986 strong language may have been when 23 · people were killed .used in the speeches, the meet6f..":llle attending a public meet- ing was peaceful. l/1g. The police claim they fired 00 a "mbb of extremists", while A vIc," m of the Police firing In Arwal Clse Before Tribunal the ,,"ople claim it was a peaceful meeting held in the Gandhi The newly formed Human Pustakalay. Both sides agree, Rights Commission decided to started, without any wartting to the Tribunal. Speaking to this however, that the meeting was have the matter investigated by the people in the meeting. reporter after the hearing he held to protest against the the Human Rights Tribunal. The There was panic among the described how those attending Tribunal ·in Delhi was chaired . people who were being fired on the meeting had collected at by former judges Mr. p.s. Poti and lathi-charged. 1 saw eight to the library at 1,30 p.m. 'We sang and Mr T.U. Mehta. A notice nine people falling down be- shaheed songs and two janvadi was sent to the Bihar govern· cause of the firing, and 1 songs" he said "Juggal bhai was ment, inviting their cooperation thought of' running away. But giving a 'bhashan' when a jeep with the enquiry. But no reply there was no escape, because stopped at the gate. S.P. Sahib was received. The first sitting of the main gate had been blocked got out and said 'Tum salein the Tribunal had to be held in by the S.P:?; and the police sta- humein taba kar rahen ho. Tu!D Delhi because the 22 witnesses, tion was on the south side." Naxalite ban gaye ho.' Then the including the leader of the Janak Sao described how he firing started. The place is surMazdoor l(jsan Sangram Samiti, found shelter in a near by rounded by walls, on one side which has filed the case pre~­ house which had two doors is the stage, the other side, the ented to the Tribunal, are being and many windows. About 70 I police station, and ' the S.P.'s ·pursued by the Bihar Govern- persons found sheller in this jeep blocked the gate. To get ment. house. "When we were trying to out people had to jump a four A second two day hearing hide" he went on "The 'police to five feet wall. There were will take place in Patna on Feb- tried to enter, Qut because of about 1000 men, women and ruaI)' 21 and 22. The Tribunal the people inside resisting their children and about 250 police. entry, they were not able to do In the firing 218 people were will also visit AIwal. so. Then we heard a whistle, hurt, out of which 23 died." Twenty witnesses depose and the firing stopped." \ Ramayan Das, another witbefore the Tribunal in New From the window he saw the ness, barely 25, but looking Delhi at the' Constitution Club. police doing a lathi-charge on years beyond his age, was hit by While deposing, Janak Sao, an the woinen, and heard them three bullets in the firing. One Bagh massacre. There are sev· eyewitness , of the firing, stated abusing the women. He des· hit his chest, two his shoulder eral parallels that can be drawn. "We believed that land was cribed how 'Bharat sahib' was and hand. He had to be treated No wartting was given to the Bihar sarkar's land and so nine taken away by the police and by a · private doctor and has assembled · people, and there families built their houses on it. later , brought back to the open received no compensation for was no escape route available. This was disputed by the Rajak ground of the library, "Here he his injuries. He described "Police The Indian People's Human family, so we asked them to was Ueaten by lathis and when ne charo taraf se gheir liya. S.P. Rights Tribunal will deliver its show us the documents on the he fell down because of the Sahib ne order diya, maar· do judgement after the Tribunal basis of which they claimed the beating, he was ordered io be saalo ke, yein Naxalite ban gaye completes its Patna hearings, ·ownership .. But they failed to killed by firing. 1 heard the hain". Barnayan was sitting visits AIwal and has studied the produce any." order 'goli maar do' but 1 can· when the firing started and was reports of the independeht not recognise the voice, or who hit in the chest. He tried to run investigation by the organisa· He described how on the day fired af him. The police had but then was hit in ' the tions mentioned earlier. But of the incident "800 I?ersons started piling up the dead shoulder and then the hand, "1 what notice will the state had collected on thE\ disputed bodies which I could see nuni. kept running" he said "I ran far machinery take of the judgeland, including a band party . bered about 10. 1 then asked a away from the police. Some ment? • 6-21 February 1987

5


F8rum ___________________________ _O_ur__ Tlln_' _e_s__~________________Gazetto

C-ustodial Crime On the Increase

Bonded Labourers Cry out For Freedom On Human Rights Day About 300 bonded labourers celebrat e d th e INTE RNAT IONAL HUMAN RIGHTS DAYan December 10,1986 a t Raipur in Madhya Pradesh, India. This was the firs t time in their lives that they ever go t to hear abou t the _ HUMAN RI GHTS CHARTER OF TH E. UN ITED NATIONS, and their country's commitment to it. Organised under the banner of the Bonde d Liberation Front, these bonded labourers came from some 200 to 300 kilometers to register th eir protest over the slow pace of release and rehabilitation of bonded lab spoke of their age-old exploi tation and the general apathy of the government to their plight. The celebration of HUMAN RIGHTS DAY by the exiles of civilisation sent shock ' waves through the conidors of power as the bonded labourers interacted with various segmen ts of city's population narrating their woes of human boh'dage in the fortieth year of Indian Independence. Since early morning, four groups of bonded labourers, led by social , activists, visited universities and colleges, fac tories &. slums, court s and' bar council, shops and offices dislributin-g leaflets and challengi ng the e nlightened citizens to respond to the dehumanised practice of slavery in their own district. The entire exercise resulted in creating support groups , amongst students and teachers, lawyers and judges, workers and slum-dwellers, Journalists &. social workers.

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Various people 's organisati ons joined the celebrations expressing th eir sOlirlarity with the cause of the bonded labourers. Prominent among these were the Challisgarh Mahi la-Jagriti Sangathana, Peo ple 's Union for Civil Liberties, Raipur Slumdwellers' Organisations, Jan Jagriti Kendra and Jeewan Jyoti Ashram. A unique fea tu re of the celebra lions was the self-reli ant manner of organisation . The bonded-labourers came to the c ity the previous night and took shelter in a abandoned market place with only tin-roofs over their heads in the cold-winter of early December. They had brought their own food and firewood. Ranging from ten to sixty 'years of age, they all got to see a town for the first time in their lives. Wandering about in the town, they could see for themselves the vast disparities between I big cities and vi llages. They returned home wiser, asking distrubing qu estions about the causes of their poverty and, as to what happens to the unlimited wealth of their fields and forests that government takes away from them, A group of them returning from the Industrial Estate halted on an over-bridge to watch a train pass under-neath. Almost ninty per cent of them amassed to see a train for the 6rst time in their lives.

Illegal Existence \I may be noted here that the

Silent Procession In the afternoon, a silent procession was laken through the main streets of Raipur. The bonded labourers had tied 'black cloth' on their mouths, symbolising the "voicelessness" of the silent majority that they have been representing till now.

existence of bonded labour is illegal under law. The Bonded Labour Sys tem (Abolition) Act 1976 provides for the release of " kamiyas 'las the bonded laboureI'S are commonly known in the Chatti sgarh : region). Under the" kamiya system '; a labourer is bound to his master for forced labour against the principal ~um (murahi) of loan/ ad-

S, Mulgaonkar

vance. The daily wages paid equal to 1'h Kgs. of paddy. The Jan Jagriti Kendra, a social service organisation, work· ing in the area, has estimated that there are about 25,000 bonded labourers in Raipur di strict. According to a surveY' in 181 villalges in four out of eight blocks of Raipur, there are 4,382 bonded labourers. The list was submitted to the govern me nt in April 1986. But, only 480 bonded labou rers have been verified by the state government. The Jan Jagri ti Kendra claims that th e process of verification by th e governmen t is faulty and not without prejudice of th e local officials who are under the in fl uence of the ·Iandlords. The organisation is cont emplating action in the Supreme Court under the Public Illterest litigation. '

• S,N, Gardia, Secretary, BLF, handing over a memorandum to the Ralpur coffector, Sri N,P. Tewarl On Human Rights Day,

Only 1,856 bonded labourers have been released in Raipur district till November end, 1986. Out of these, all except 97 have been released at the interve ntion of the Supreme Court on the initiative of social activists. The first batch of 693 bonded labou rers were released in 1983 by the efforts of Indian Social Institute, . Delhi. \I is interesting to note that till then, not a single bonded labourer ha<;l been identified or released by the governmenl. e

A section of the Procession of KAMtYAS bonded labo,!rers with blaCk cloth covering their mouths

6

6-21 February 1987

,

n Friday, Septembe.' 19 at about 4.30 a.m, Dayal Singh was taken into police custody from his jhuggi in Govindpuri on the suspicion of being involved in a theft of goods fa VCR and c10thesl from 3, Friends Co lo ny. He had worked th ere for a chowkidar but had been ou t of work, except for temporary assignments, for nearly two mon th s. He had a clean police record. His friends l neighbours and relatives tried all day to locate the police station where he had been taken but were un successful.

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Police Excesses At 9.30 p.m. three policemen anived at a house in Maharani Bagh to search the servants' quarters there. They claimed that ' Dayal Singh had divulged that he had hidden the stolen good s wit h his sisterl Kamala l and her husband Baisakh Singh. This was denied and no stolen good s were found. \I was at thi s point the police di sclosed that Daya l Singh was in cu stody a t Srini vas pu ri police s tation . According to an eyewitness. Dayal Singh was ac tually sitti.ig in the police van at the time of the searc h . \I wou ld not be too wild a surmise that he brought the police to his sister's hom e only because he was being tortured into co nfessing a Clime he knew nothing about and hoped for a respite andhelp in his predicament from a household he was familiar with. On Saturday, September 20 at 6 a.m.1 a man not in police unifonn ann ounced from the mad to the inmates at the Maharani 8agh servants' . quarters that Dayal Singh was in a criti cal con dition and ha d been taken to hospital. The caller was rec·

ognised as one of the policemen who had come for the search the previous evening. Later that morning Dayal Singh 's relatives and friends anived at Srinivaspuri police station arid were infonned ...~("" the SHO that Dayal Singh was dead and had been taken to the Al l-India Institute of Medical Sciences. From 9.30 a.m. to 4 p.m. the police, doctors, Dayal Singh's relat ives and friends had all assembled at the AIIMS for recording s ta teme nts iden ti fi ca tion of the body and the co ndu ct of the post-mortem by D" R.K, Sharma whose findings showed that' the cause of death was a head injury. At 4 .30 p.m. Dayal Singh's body' was handed over to his relatives for cremation. There have been attempts since to show that Dayal Singh was in frail health, had a history of tuberculosis and had died of natural causes. As a matter of fact Dayal singh had been cleared of tuberculosis and was not in frail health. A sub-inspector a tt ac h ed to the Srinivaspuri police Slatiol'l has since tfeen. suspe nded. Things now take a curious tum. A committee of three doctors was set up to re-examine the post-mort em report. The co mmittee has not reported though it is now more than a month since it was consti tuted. l

Concrete Evidence \I is rather, strange at first sight that senior doctors should co nsen t to sit on a committee to re-examine a post-mort em report by a junior member of their fraternity who is presumably qualified to conduct a post-

Continued on page 6 folS


F8'rum

_______________________Gazel~------------------------

Jodhpur Detenus Al11nesty 'Report

Mysterious Military Movements ... Continued from page 1, col 2

correct, can it not offer a clue to Pakislani motives for a .build up on the border now? Advantage Pakistan and India

The foUowing is the text of - the portion· of the Ammi.ty International Report dealing with the Jodhpur Detenu•.

detained in the wake of Opera· tion Bluestar to, be charged with 'waging war' have 'reportedly taken the stand that th'ey are only pilgrims who were caught in the cross fire between the army and the terrorists. There is also speculation that the two dozen women, who have been detained, may be innocent."

had been given a charge-sheet. However, on 14 March 1985 according to the same paper, the trial was said to have "been kept in abeyance, presufllably to ccording to official resee the Akali response to the ports issued by the gestures already made by the Inspector General of government;" since the Akali Police shortly after the fighting Dal party had reportedly dein the Golden Temple in June manded the release of those 1984, 20 persons, lincluding facing trial and the abolition of Legal Proceedings. AISSF leader Harminder Singh the Special Courts. Sandhu) had surrendered to the According to a May 1985 Since September 1984, there army in the Golden Temple in have been various reports that report by the People's Union for response to aR appeal, but oth- persons described as 'extrem- Democratic Rights IPUDRI, a ers had "opened intensive fire ists' arrested from the Golden civil liberties group based in with automatic weapons, anti· Temple, would be brought to New Delhi, charge sheets had tank weapons and firearms. trial. According to official reports been submitted to the detainees They raised anti-national slo· in the ·Indian press of 22 Sep- in Jodhpur Jail who had been gans. The anny returned the tember 1984, all the 1500 per- held under the NSA. Apparently fire and a large number of per· sons arrested in the Golden all were given identical charges sons died and the remaini ng Temple had been released, made under Section 121 of the were arrested and rounded up." apart from 431 persons who, it Indian Penal Code Iwaging war wa.s reported, would be charged or attempting to wage warl read with "waging war" against the with Sections 25 and 27 of the government undel' Section 121 Anns Act. As described above, of the Indian Penal Code. This per.;,ms can still be tried fOl charge, on conVIctIOn, may SllCI1 offences under the Terrorcarry the death penalty; the ist Affected Areas ISpecial minimum sentence is life impri- Courts) Act, and ,.,.i11 be pre· sumed guilty unless they can sonment. The main persons accused in prove their innocence. Accordthe case were annourrced, to be ing to PUDR report, all detaiHarminder Singh Sandhu, the nees in Jodhpur Jail had been General Secretary bf the All given the same grounds for det· India Sikh Students Federation, ention under the NSA and cycwho, according to an army spo- lostyled statements of "confeskesman, had surrendered before sions" allegedly made by them the fighting in the Golden Tem- in which the deiainees were ple bad started; and Virsa Singh, alleged to have confessed to be He also reportedly stated: "a a man described to have been members of !Jle AISSF or the case had been registered against close to Jarnial Singh Bhin· Dal Kh.alsa Illoth organisations JlJe AIl-India Sikh Students Fed- dranwale. On 17 December stated to have acted according er-ation, the outlawed Dal Khalsa 1984, laswan t Singh and six to the orders of the late Sant and terrorists led by Sant Jar- others arrested from the Golden Jamail Singh Bhindrailwalel. to nial Singh Bhindl'anwale for Temple challenged their deten- have collected anns and ammsedition, collecting arms and tion by bringing seven habeas unition from foreign countries waging war against the govern- corpus petitions Itheir outcome for the establishment ,of Khalisment." is not known.) All were reported tan and to have actively particiOver 1500 persons were later to have stated that they pated in the fighting. According officially announced to have belonged to the AISSF IIhen still to these cyclostyled 'confessibeen arrested at the time of the banned because the govern· ons',they hall stated that: even if anny action in the Golden ment accused it of having releaeed, they would again col· Temple. According to reports in indulged in illegal activitiesl. lect anns and fight for the the international press of late On 16 January 1985, it was establishment of a separate June 1984, some officials acknow- announced that a Special Court Khalistan State. ledged that among those arre- had been established in RajasThe new Punjab Chief Mini'ssted were pilgrims who hap- than to try the 379 Sikh sus- ter Sardar Surjit Singh Bamala, pened to be present at the time pects in camera ISection 4 of who assumed office in Sepas well as Temple ' employees the - Terrorist Affected Areas tember 1985, has given varying and that there was a need to 'ISpecial Courtsl Act permits the statements about ·the detainees screen those arrested in or~er state to ' request . the central held in Jodhpur. During the to release innocent people government to establish Special 1985 election campaign, the among ·them. A total of 4000 Courts to try alieged offenders Akali DaI had appealed for the people were reportedly arrested in another state. Such a request release of all persons detained throughout June 1984 during was apparently made under the during the Akali agitation against and after the military opel'ation previous administration in the whom there were no serious ..nd many were released in ·the Punjab in respect of the Sikh charges or insufficient evidence following months lincluding; in detainees to be charged with of involvement in criminal activSeptemebr1., ~omen detaine.;s as "waging war"l. All detainees ities. On 27 October 1985 the well as cruldren, released a were being tl'ansferred to Jodh· Chief Minister stated his governSupreme Cdurt Order.i However, pur Jail to await the trial and, ment had urged the central others remained on I!Qlitical gn 20 January, 1985, the Indian government in New Delhi to grounds: in July official sources press reported their trial would release the 'innocent persons were quoted as saying that start inside Jodhpur Central Jail arrestep on c1iarges of waging "nearly 400 terrorists, who had before a SpeCial Court headed war". He stated that " a majority surrendered during action in by Justice K Shanna. In a of the 369 persons arrested' on the Golden Temple complex, statement of 23 January, 1985, this charge lofwaging warl were have been detained under the the Akali Dal party IIhen in members of Akali Jathas IparticNational Security Act as they ' oppositionl condemned the pro- ipants in demonstrations of the were considered a threat to the posed 'hasty trials' and said Akali Partyl; or g.onthis lreaders security of the state':. A number that the provisions of the Spei· of the Sikh scripturesl. Most of of the detainees reportedly cal Courts Act (under which these persons were unarmed denied they had participated in they would be triedl contJ-a- when arrested." According to a the violence and said that they vened some fundamental rights Reuters report of 29 October were: in fact,'. unanned innocenl provisions in the Constitution. 1985, the new Chief Minister pilgrims. According to a 31 According to the reports of had given finn orders to release August 1984 rel?0rt in India February 1985, 300 of those 309 persons who had been Today, "most of the 443 persons arrested at the Golden Temple arrested at the time of the

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Whichever country might have provoked the other, the .net result of the threats from across the border and the 'retaliatory measures' has undoubtedly worked to the advantage of the ruling regimes in the two countries. Brasstacks has served to tack up Zia who has been under considerable pressure in

Sind and whose adminislJ'ation has faced widespread censure in connection with large-scale arson, rioting and killing in Karachi in recent months . .The wily Pak president has been able to use Indian's military posturing to stall his critics by suggesting them that India and not he is their true enemy. The · PiLkistani manoeuvres and the Indian military establish· ment's projection of them, has helped Rajiv Gandhi to move

Golde~ Teinple military action, . although he stated at tbe same time that his government would no,! withdraw cases against Sikhs held on charges of waging war against the state. IThe later portion was publicly urged by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and other central government officials in New Delhi, who had strongly ' opposed "indiscrimi· nate release" of 'extremist' detainees in the Punjab.!' In October 1985 the Punjab Government established a fourmember. comrrjttee headed by retired High Court Judge Ajit Singh Bains to review the cases of political detairiees who were facing prosecution or who )\ad been convicted in criminal cases registered after 1 August 1984 and which had arisen out of or in relation to political agitation in the Punjab. As of 4 March 1986 the Bains Committee had reportedly recom· mended that cases against 2162 people should be withdrawn. ,These apparently also included a number of those held on charges of waging war. The Punjab Government, aceording to the same report, had apparenUy expressed its con· cern to the union government about the ·delAy in the release of persons arrested from the Golden Temple complex and involved in cases of "waging

100,UOO troops into Punjab. The troop movement has caused panic in the civilian population, for whome the return of th~ army is fraught with memories of Bluestar and Woodrose. According to senior retired commanders of the Indian Anny, the main ·reason for army deployment in Punjab seems not to be the Pakistani threat, but possible military action to 'solve' the Punjab problem. The generals argue that with Russia still present in Afghanistan, Pakistan is no position to attack India. Moreover, most Punjab watchers do not estimate more than 400-500 telTOrists based across the border. The Problem, and thus the target would appear not to lie not in Lahore or Islamabad, but within Indian Punjab. In the circumstances, it is anybody'. gue.. whether or not the Indian . and PaJdstan governments engineered the cri.is to help each other >isa-vis their respective domestic problem.. •

in

Minister has been reported repeatedly to Irave raised the release of the detainees held in Jodhpur Jail with the Prime Minister. . According to reports of August 1986, the Special Court in Jodhpur had started trying 365 per· sons arres ted from the Golden Temple. So far, Amnesty Internalional, however, has not been able to confinn that their trials have indeed, started. Conclus.ion Amnesty International believes there is a possibility that there may be prisoners of conscience among those now held without trial for well over two years, apparently under the National Security Act. There may be men and women among them who did not use or advocate violence and who were arrested simply as a result of having been present in the Golden Temple for religious or peaceful political purposes. Moreover, Amnesty Interna· tional is concerned that, if tried under the Terrorist Affected Areas ISpecial Courts) Act, these detainees may not have a fair trial in accordance 'with interna· nonaJly accepted human rights standards. Amnesty international believes they sh6uld now eith~r be released or, if tried be brought to justice under ordi-

war" who were now detained in

nary procedures or criminal law

Jodhpur Jail. The state government was reported as having said a review of the cases had taken place but no steps were being taken for their release. Since then, the Punjab quef

with customary safeguards. They should not be deprived of the minimum legal safeguards for a fair trial laid down in international human rights standards to which India is a party.•

------~----------~----~~~~~6c21 February 1987 7


F8rum _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Gazette

AIOS Arrives In India Instead of Hospital Patient Sent to Jail Monideepa Benerjie

couPle of months ago, television viewers allover the country were suddenly deluged with information

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on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrom e, or AIDS; dos and

don 'ts to avoid contracting the new dreaded incIJrable disease and dire warnings about its fatality. All courtesy the Central government. Yet, when Aids finally arrived in India, nobody seemed as surprised as the government itself. The first batch of AIDS infected persons, detected in Madras in April, did not prove a poser to the government as 3)1' the six women, prostitutes, w ere

al-

ready in the custody of a remand home, though there were protests by residents in that locality. The two suspected AIDS cases in Bombay died. It was the detection of an AlDSinfected person in Calcutta in September that finally brought the matter to head. Pyari Bai, the victim, a prostitute in the city docks' red light area, in the absence of any government arrangemen t to deal with AIDS patients, was ultimately sent by the court to jail! West Bengal GOY!. Helpless

Worse, while Pyari Bai suffered a month-long imprisonment for no offence, wranglings in court revealed not only the West Bengal govenment's failure to make provisions for AIDS victims but also its reluctance to do so. Disclaiming responsibility and pleading its incapability to deal with a case of AIDS, the State Government tried to pass the buck to the Centre. The court finally ordered Pyari Bai free early in November. Within . days, Pyari Bai had vanished. Today, she may well be practising her trade in another part of Calcutta or the country, and passi ng on to her unsuspecting customers the dreaded, killer virus.

With Pyari Bai out . of public sight, the. government appears to have put her ou t of mind as well. The state health minister. Dr Ambarish Mukherjee candidly admitted that AIDS was "low on the government's list of priorities", that its hands are already full with the encephalitis and jaundice epidemics raging allover the state. Mukherjee incidentally is not alone ' in dovvn-playing AIDS. There are reports of many parliam~ntar­ ians and medical experts requesting the Central government to diffuse the AIDS-panic. A section of doctors has been expressed its dissatisfaction with enormous funds being diverted to research on AIDS, funds . which, they feel, would have been better spent in tackling the more prevalent epidemics. One Calcutta dodbr is even reported to have remarked, "By the time AIDS comes to India,

8

6-21 February 1987

American \ scientists will have discovered a cure",

Indian Vulnerability; Who Warning

But AIDS is in all probability already here: it is a reality that cannot be swept under the carpet. India's population of 750 million and its widespread poverty have made even the total eradication of malaria or tuber· cuIosis impossible and these very . conditions, researchers feel, make the entire subcontinent extremely vulnerable to an AIDS epidemic. Overcrowding, lack of hygiene and malnourishment may well tum the populace into an AIDS breedingground. No longer are only prostitutes, homosexuals, professional blood donors or l)aemophiliacs potential AIDS victims. According to the World Health Organisation IWHO) . director-general, Dr. Halfdan Mahler, there may be 5 to 10 million - carri ers of the AIDS virus worldwide. One ou t of every 225 Aniericans is estimated to be a carrier, 54 percent of prostitutes in Nairobi slums canry AIDS anti-bodies and 16 percent of a group of , young adult Zambians in the country's capital Lusaka have been exposed to the virus. There appears no reason why the disease may not acquire similar proportions in India. It 'would, however, be unfair to state that the Central government has not applied itself to the problem of AIDS in the country. Besides the media campaign which was launched some months ago, the Centre has ordered spot testi ng of all commercial blood donors an d announced that fu ture imports .of blood and blood products must be certified as free of AIDS virus. Hospitals have been asked to sterilize syringe needless and use disposable needles whenever possible. In collaboration with the WHO, the government plans to increase AIDS sUlvei!· lance centres from the present 12 to 29 an d distribute more 'ELISA' kits that are required for detecting AIDS. So far, blood samples of only around 7000 people have been tested for the disease. What To Do Abollt It?

The question - what to do with an identified AIDS carrier or an AIDS-infected person however still remains unaits· wered. In Madras of course the question did not arise si nce the affected women were already in a state remand home. While residents of that locality did pro, test the presence of AIDS victims among them, there. was hardly any danger of the women coming in close coniact with anybody. Even at the home, they are reportedly free to move about in the premises during the dax and are isolated only at night. Moreover, they are under constant medical supervision. In Bombay, growing panic among the staff at the hospital where an AIDS patient was admitted petered out after

his death. It was Pyari Bai's plight (hat brought the problem in to focus. But , wi thout any solution in sight. "Prevention of AIDS is, of course, the best thing ," says Dr S.C. Pal, director of the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICEDI, By V. Raju Calcutta, which" has been notified an AIDS surveillance centre by the Indian Council of wn recent e""nts in and A1ieppey on the plea that Medical .Research (lCM HI. He Kerala, the banning of the bills advertising the show, feels that once a case is a contro""rsial play on which projected Christ not as the son of God but as an ordidetected, the patie nt must be the life of Jesus Christ and kept under strict medical su- police rampage in the pre- nary human l]eing, could instipervision and in the case of dominandy Ch ristian village gate commun unrest. prostitutes, like Pyari Bai, it of Thankamani in Idukki hill must be ensured that they do district, . has pro""d yet again Opposition To Cultural Fascism not practice their trade any- how the state's powerful comThe liberal segment within more. It was NICED which muna! lobbies freque ndy th- the churc!> however opposes ~rganised the blood sampling I \ reaten and browbeat the wobwnat they call "cultural mscamp in Pyari Bai's neigh- bly Congre.slIl led United Gism ". Prominent among the bourhood and tests for AIDS Democratic Front ministry. bishops opposed to the ban is were carried out by that The play, Christuvinleh Aram Bi shop Poulose Mar Paulose of Institute's persOnnel. ''The mi- Thriumurivu (Christ's sixth the East Ch\"de~n Church but nute we got an AlDS-positi"" wound), written by PA. Anthony the views of such liberals have test, we informed the state and based 9n the Greek writer been buried under the illogical gover nment!' say. Dr Pal. Nicholas Kaxantakis' work, The and senseless communal fury. Instead of ,any communica- last temptation of Christ, was Even if legal barriers to the stagtion ii-om the gO""Mlment, denounced by the Catholic ing of the play are ultimately Dr. Pal recei""d court orders bishops in the state who felt cleared, it is likely that the UDF to supervise Pyari Bai's Ire- that it tarnished the image of government will think of some alment during her stay in jail. Christ. means to ban its staging. He refused to comment on The second incident, which How far can such communal the West Bengal go""nunenfs incidentally marke" " ' return pressure groups continue to attitude towards Pyari Bai. of police repre..; , I in the state dictate terms to the governThe national media Blitz on after '~everal n'J nths, also pro- ment? The UDF government is AIDS appears to have left peo- YOked the Christian community. at the mercy of parties like the pie unmoved as well. Pyari Bai's Chief Minister K. Karunakaran, Muslim League and Kerala Condetention in jail, which was a who initially denied that the gress, which · is the political flagrant violation of civil rights, police had gone on a ramplage expression of the powerful and did not elicit any significant and raped village women, later afiluent Christian community in reaction from either ordinary yielded to pressure and not - the state. During the firs t half of Calcuttans or civil rights' groups. only suspended the concerned the UDF government's tenure it According to the police in Pyari police officers but also appoin- was the Muslim LE)ague which Baj's locali~, there was some ted a women officer to inquire tried pressure politics with the tension when word of her mys- into the incident. chief minister and wrangled terious ailment spread, but her For Karunakaran, who took concession for the community. almost immediate confinement the home portfolio after easing But after the two factions of the diffused the situation. However, out party colleague Vayalar Ravi, Muslim Lelague, the Indian Unpeople were still . in the dark the recent police repressions ion Muslim League and the All about what reall)"was the prob- culminating in the Thankamani India Muslim League which was lem. Even Pyari Bai said, "'I did episode, was a reminder of the in the opposition, merged, and not have any fever. I am in good post-Emergency period. Then some of its leaders were founcl health. Then why did they send t~o he handled the home port- to have associations with blackme to jail . . .?" All Pyari Bai folio and later had to resign his listed Arabs who clandestinely seemed to know was that she chief ministership following ad- visited Kerala, the party has had a ., KiJoon ki bimari. Iblood verse court judgements in the been effectively silenced. diseasel". In an interview just famous Rajan case. The UDF The Kerala Congress, howbefore she disappeared, she is ministry co,uld have done with- ever, took off from wfiere the reported to have stated that she ou t allegations of police brutal- Muslim League left, and has would go back to her native ity, especially with elections two been making life difficult for the tOW!', Blisapur in Madhya Pra- or three months awa,. The chief minister. Karunakaran redesh, and find work either in police attack on the helpless cently hit back when he took the fields or work as a maid Thankamani Villagers followed away the finance portfolio from servant. Pyari Bai is a widow clashes between two groups the Kerala Congress strongman and has an eighteen-month old triggered off by a minor fracas K.M. Mani and in return gave son. . between students and bus-ow- him the inigation portfolio. The With no cure for .AlDS in ners. One person was killed in Kerala Congress took the snub sight, preventing the virus' entry police firing; the police returned lying dovvn, mainly because a into the country would have at night to attack the villagers. section of its leaders are against been ideal, but a tall order. The The banning of the play on Man;' But when the opportunity need of the hour, in fact the Christ also did not win Karu- arose, like the police outrage in only course of action, would be nakaran too many friends : Kera- Thankamani village and the conto take steps to prevent any la's politically conscious and troversial play on Christ, the further transmission of the dis- highly literate population has party, and the community ease, especially from affected not taken too kindly to the which it represents, showed the prostitutes. But that is some- move. The ban is being con- chief minister what they were thing the government has failed tested in court by the playw- capable of. to do in the first instance of a right, PA. Antony, and if he is The UDF ministry, is howreal threat Pyari Bai. The media . successful, the state is sure to ever growing in strength with Blitz is a welcome step, also be plunged into another round the recent admission a section more AIDS surveiUance centres, of communal cold war. The of the CongresslS) into the Conmore ELISA kits and restrictions play Was in fact staged in some gressll). The CongresslS) in Keron blood imports are a must. parts of Kerala but the Catholic ala is not yet finished an d But,. in real terms, how many high-priests garnered their flock shows signs of living to ·fight prefessional blood donors will by the time the show moved to .another day. But with the oppoactually be tested for AIDS or the predominantly Catholic Tri- sition considerably weakened, it I for how long will hospitals chur district. The bishops, espe- will not be a surprise if the stringently use only disposable cially Trichur bishop Joseph CPIIM) led Left Democratic needles? And how will the Kundakuulam and the Archbi- Front makes la desperate attempt government deal with cases like shop of Trivandrum Mar Grega- to woo the Kerala Congress into Pyari Bai, cases which are per- rios, saw in the controversy the its alliance, contrary to their haps only waiting to be detec- right opportunity to flex Chris- earlier stand of not wanting ted? Unless these questions are tian muscle, and monks, nuns communal . parties ASsuredly, answered and soon, AIDS might and laymen took to the streets communal politics has come to stay in Kerala. (NEWSCRIPT attain epidemic proportion in at their command. India within the n~xt decades. _ The play was banned by the Syndication) • (NEWSCRIPT Syndica tion). e distri ct collectors of Trichur

Kerala: The Power Of Communal Lobbies

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The

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'Anti-Communalism-Workshop'

A Report

Sagari R. Ramdas

grou p of concern ed citi zens in Delhi, has been meeting regularly over the past months, to tl)' and understand the phenomena of communali sm and actively involve itself in a movement to fight it. In thi s con text a three day Workshop on 'Communalism ', was organised by the group on January 9th-11th 1987 at the Indian Social In stitute, New Delhi. The group hoped that through . 'round table' discussion, participants wou ld gain clearer insights int o the complex dimensions of thi s issue, and evolve an effect ive plan to fight communalism at the political and social levels. Speakers, basically academicians and 'grass-root' ac tivi sts, representing a cross-section of v.iews, were invited to make prese.ntations on certain aspects of communalism. These formed the basis of further discussion .

A

role in the events, provoked heated disagreement from a large section of the participants. The third hi storian professor Gyanendra Pandey, from the Hi story Department of Delhi University challenged the accepted idea of the 'already formed Indian Nation '. He felt that this was a dynamic process where the goals and form of thi s ' ~ation ' were continually being redefined, and could change. The aim of the 'Indian Nati on State' was to ensure equality to all its citizens. Dr. Pandey argued that as this goal is yet to be a reality, the 'Nation State' is still being achieved, with different groups working for thi s end.

Second Session - Nationalism and Communalism

The afternoon session began with Dilip Simeon, lecturer in Hi story, Delhi University, speak- ' ing on 'Nationalism and Communalism'. He stated that the First Session-historical creation of Pakistan and India perspective. as two separate nations was The subject of the first ses- itself an artificial one, where the sion was 'Hi storical Perspectives nationalists acted communallv - Nature a nd Forms of Com- in allowing this to happen. He munalism'. Dr. Romila Thapar, stressed that the increase in professor of Ancient History at State violence and terrori sm Jawaharlal Nehru University, cannot be tackled with counter argued that there appeared to violence, as is happening today. be a strong move towards trying The final point of his agrum'ent to rediscover the 'historical was to draw attention to the rotHs' of a homogeneous Hindu dangerous similarities between religion. She, however, pointed Fascism in .early 20th century. out that the term 'Hinduism' to Europe, and Communalism in describe a congregational reli- India today. The final speaker, Dr. Madhagion, is a term coined as late as ihe 18th century A.D. Uniting van Palat, professor at IN ,U., pe9ple on the basis of a com- expanded on the latter point. mon religious identity, does not Whether it is the superiority of necessarily mean social and 'Race' in Fascism or 'Religion " economic equality for each per- in Communalism, primacy is son within this group. Most given to the group identity ancient religions, she pOinted ¡ above all else. In his view this out, are founded - on intrinsi- irrational behaviour can only be cally, . iniquitous relationships, ' countered by the progressive possesing a strong hierachical forces which have a Utopian structure. Inequality is thus vision of a classless society. A lively debate on the similarwoven into the structure itself. Dr. Bipin Chandra, professor ities and differences of these of History at J.N.U., emphasised three 'isms' in relation to India, the complex nature of commu- concluded the day's proceeding. nalism which therefore, cannot Religion, State and be tackled simplistically. His Communalism view, that the November 1984 On January 10, Dr. Veena Das, riots in Delhi were an expression of intense communal feel- SOCiologist at Delhi University, ings amongst the North Indian and Gabriella Dietrich, lecturer Hindu community, with the in Theology at Madurai Univer- ¡ state machinery playing-a minor sity, spoke on 'Religion; State

Anti-Communal Workshop

and Communalism', during the morning session. Dr. Das discussed interesting aspects of the subject, such as the change in the mea ning of the word 'Communal ". Once a nurturing concept the word today has become a threatening one. She stressed the need to develop a nature of languages with which to .enter into dialogue with these 'Communalists'. She also highlighted the need to develop what she called a 'Theory of Passions", and study its role in determining the type of politics conducted in India today. An interesting aspect of her experience of working with the riot victims for over a year, she pointed out, was that the majority of 'criminals' involved in the killings, belonged to that section totally marginalised by Hinduism. They, ironically, emerged as the defenders of Hinduism in -November 1984. Gabriella Dietrich observed that it was the women and the poor who maintained religion, but never developed the dogma of it. She felt that the fundamentals of religion should be questioned from below. The last speaker of the morning, Dr. Satpal Dang, dealt with the present situ,ation in Punjab. He argued that it was only by strengthening the Worker-Peasant alliance in Punjab that tne HindU-Sikh divide could be effectively countered.

How to combat Communalism

The fin al day was devoted to regional presentations and planning future strategies to combat Communalism. Mr. Pritam Singh, lecturer in Economics in Punjab University, Chandigarh, spoke on Punjab. The thrust of his thesis was that the present Hindu-Sikh division was distortion of the repeated struggle of the Punjabis throughout history, to assert their identity. The only effective way to immediately fight this division, he said was to appeal to Punjabis of all religions to unite, with the aim of establishing their Punjabi Nationality or 'Punjabiat '. Achyut Yagnik a social activist froom Ahmedabad, gave an account of the grave situation in Gujarat because of the now endemic communal tensions prevailing in this highly caste/ religion splintered society. As a result of Gujarat having rio tradition of a strong Left, Gandhian or Non-Brahmin Movement, nor any distinct historical froms of knowledge or culture, he argued that there exists today only a handful of progressive fo rces to fight communalism. Social activist groups who, since the first Anti-Reservations Strikes in 1981, tried to fight communali sm in ' isolation from the mainstream Hindus, found themselves being mere 'Fire-Fighters' during periods of crisis. Since 1986 they have been forced to The Non-Brahmin Movements . revise their strategy, and enter 'The Non-Brahmin Movements' into dialogue with the mainwas the subject of the afternoon stream Hindu majority. They session.- Ms. Susheela Kaushik, hope to reach a greater section from Delhi University, investi- of the population by using religated the 'Anti-Communal' na- gion as an instrument of change. ture of such regional 'Caste This, the only remaining alterMovements'. Her presentation native in their view, might popthrew up a host of que:;tions ularly generate a movement ranging from the total rejection against communalism from withof religion to trying. to under- in the mainstream. stand its role as a force to bring In direct contrast to this about change. . means of struggle, was the

presentation on Bihar by Arvind Das from the organisation, CENDIT. He drew attention to the fact that while there is so much talk about Punjab, Bihar, which in 1986 alone had 3000 killings, goes practically unobserved. But he pointed out that since 1977, note a single death was due to a communal killing. Each Harijan killed is because he/ she is an agricultural labourer and killings are not motivated by religious chauvinisms. In Bihar, he said, we find a Class War in progress, with the people struggling to create an alternate culture. He echoed an earlier point of view of the vision of a classless society being the ultimate guide to fighting communalism.

.Plans for future action /"

What emerged from an intensive debate after the last presentation were certain concrete plans to be executed by the group. Firstly the group proposes to continue meeting regularly, and simultaneously develop greater contacts with anti.communal groups in other parts of the country. Secondly it wants to hold workshops in Hindi in order to enlarge the public participation in tackling the problem concretely particularly for activists in the field. Thirdly, it want~ to develop educational material with which to enter diverse forums, so as to motivate more citizens to join in the fight against coml11unalism. This was a significan t meeting where . academicians, student ~ and activists interacted with each other to try and combat communalism. There is a need for far even greater interaction between academics and grassroot workers, so that a truly effective strategy canmerge. This 'workshop ' is hopefully the first step â&#x20AC;˘ 6-21 February 1987

9

The Forum Gazette Vol. 2 Nos. 3 & 4 February 6-21, 1987  

THE FORUM GAZETTE VOL. 2 NOS. 3 & 4 FEBRUARY 6-21, 1987 Mystery Surrounds Military Movement: Zia, Rajiv Adopt Symbiotic Offensive Postures...

The Forum Gazette Vol. 2 Nos. 3 & 4 February 6-21, 1987  

THE FORUM GAZETTE VOL. 2 NOS. 3 & 4 FEBRUARY 6-21, 1987 Mystery Surrounds Military Movement: Zia, Rajiv Adopt Symbiotic Offensive Postures...

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