News on Operation Bluestar
Sikh MP shames Indian Parliament on Operation Bluestar awards by Parmeet Pal Singh 17 June 2009
NEW DELHI: Shaming Indian parliament, the country's rulers and its policies vis-à-vis the Sikhs right inside the Parliament of the nation, Independent Rajya Sabha Sikh MP Tarlochan Singh, the former chairman of National Commission for Minorities in India, asked why were gallantry awards given to Indian Army officers after Operation Bluestar. "They were given because they had killed Sikhs," Tarlochan Singh said, his voice aggressive and his tone angry, as Defence Minister A K Antony took notes.
Tarlochan Singh, who earlier said when Indians at large were celebrating their new UPA government under a Sikh Prime Minister, "We, the Sikhs, are observing the 25th anniversary of Operation Bluestar."
Tarlochan told the Defence Minister and the government of PM Manmohan Singh to withdraw these gallantary awards and tell the Army officers that it was no gallantary to kill one's own countrymen.
"Those Army officers who attacked and demolished GT and Akal Takht were given gallantary awards. It is shameful on the part of the government that within India, for attack on its own people, the government...gave them gallantry award."
"What for? They (had) captured Pakistan? (Had) They captured China? They (had) killed Sikhs, that is why you gave them gallantry awards. I propose that these gallantry awards be withdrawn, the officers be told that this was no gallantry."
“Gallantry awards are given to the soldiers for fighting the enemy and not attacking your own people.”
He said A K Antony was a good man and "we have known you as a good CM of Kerala. Now I request that you re-open the file and withdraw these awards."
Tarlochan Singh's impassioned speech was all the more appreciated by the Sikh community and all right thinking people in India because there was no pressure on him to even refer to Operation Bluestar. But he was unsparing in his choice of words and while not a single MP from the ruling Akali Dal, including the much hyped newly elected Harsimrat Kaur, even referred to a single Sikh issue, Tarlochan Singh went hammer and tongs and chided the government about its claims of having a Sikh Prime Minister.
"It is good that there is a Sikh Prime Minister, but this should not mean that Sikh issues will not be raised now," he said.
"The Sikhs have carried out protests in every city (to mark Operation Bluestar's anniversary). There is no city in this world where the Sikhs have not demonstrated. There is no town where the people have not been told what the army of India did to the Sikhs. Aap ne Golden Temple torra, Akal Takht torra, aur paanch hazaar Sikh ek raat ko maare gaye, but no one from the government has ever mourned."
"I propose that a resolution be moved in both Houses of Parliament and Operation Bluestar be condemned....All over India, about 10,000 Sikhs were killed in 1984 riots (genocide). Nothing has been done," Tarlochan Singh added, and asked the government to look after the welfare of the victims of the massacre.
He also slammed the government for not bringing about the Anand Marriage Act despite a recommendation by a Parliamentary Committee and a promise by the then Law Minister on the floor of the House.
"We are very happy there is a Sikh Prime Minister, but the Sikh issues should also be dealt with. Not that there is a Sikh prime Minister and no Sikh issue is taken up," Tarlochan Singh concluded his address. He was speaking in the Rajya Sabha on the Motion of Thanks to the Presidential address.
Tarlochan Singh criticised the government for not taking up the issue of jaziya imposed on Sikhs in Pakistan and said thousands of Sikhs had been ousted from their homes and were living like refugees in gurdwaras. “The Indian government has neither sent them any aid nor taken up the issue with the Pakistan government.”