Influential Indian-American groups have urged the Connecticut State Assembly to rescind its official citation that congratulated a separatist group on the 36th anniversary of the so-called “declaration of Sikh independence”.
In a statement, the Consulate General of India in New York condemned the “so-called Citation of the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut” as an “illegal act”.
“This is an attempt by some mischievous elements to use the name of the Assembly for their nefarious purposes. These vested interests seek to divide communities and promote bigotry and hatred. Their agenda of violence has no place in democratic societies like the USA and India,” the statement said. “The Embassy of India in Washington D.C. and the Consulate General of India in New York will take up this issue appropriately with the concerned US lawmakers,” it added.
Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) – Connecticut Chapter has deplored the citation by a few members of Connecticut General Assembly. “This initiative is from a few fringe elements who have no interest in the State of Connecticut, but promoting their own personal divisive agenda,” said Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin and Trustee of GOPIO-CT.
“Indian American community in Connecticut consists of Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Parsees. All these communities live together as one Indian community and Connecticut state has no business to comment on issues pertaining to local issues in India or supporting fringe elements to promote their divisive agenda,” Dr. Abraham added.
“There are 20 million Sikhs living peacefully with all other communities all over India and this citation goes against the integrity of India,” said Ashok Nichani, President of GOPIO-CT
GOPIO has written to Connecticut State Senators and Assembly Representatives who introduced this citation to dissociate themselves from the citation.
In another statement, the Association of Indians in America (AIA) said: “We, the members of The Association of Indians in America (AIA), the Oldest national organization founded 55 years ago in 1967. We are dismayed, disheartened, and bewildered at such cheap shot at India, the largest secular democracy of the world, whom America is very rightly courting at present to play a major role in saving humanity from theocratic and dictatorial states around the world.”
“With due respect, we have not come across such ignorant state senators or local elected officials like the ones in your group. Sir, you the signatories of this citation have poor or no knowledge of history, or importance and need of nurturing and appreciating secular democracies around the world. You are a disgrace to your Connecticut state senate colleagues and are bringing bad name to your great State,” said the statement issued by Gobind Munjal, National President of AIA.
The American India Public Affairs Committee (AIPC) has also condemned the citation. Jagdish Sewhani, the AIPAC President, said that it is highly condemnable & not at all acceptable as it is an open support for an Independent State, ‘Khalistan’. “This irresponsible act of supporting secessionist movement in India is absolutely unacceptable. The US is the oldest democracy and India the largest democracy and we share a very close and strategic relationships. How can a state in the US calls into question the territorial integrity of India?” said Sewhani.
“Sikhs are very patriotic and peace-loving community. They sacrificed their lives for india. Sikhs are integral part of very diverse society of India. They are in public service, army and have been President and Prime Minister of India. It looks like The Connecticut assembly has not done their homework. They have been misguided by few mischievous elements. The citation has been issued based on total misinformation which has not iota of truth,’’ said the president of American India Public Affairs Committee.