Sikhs Massacre averted on the visit of Obama

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SIKHS ACCUSE ARMY OF HARASSMENT (Anantnag), Nov 6: Massive protests erupted here on Saturday against Army following alleged harassment of the members of minority Sikh community in Hutmurah village here last night. Police has registered a case against “unknown persons” and initiated inquiry into the case. According to eyewitnesses, panic gripped Hutmurah village of Mattan last night when about a dozen troopers belonging to Army’s 3 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) appeared in the village in a Tata Sumo. The Army men, eyewitnesses said, knocked at the doors of the Sikh community members and asked them to come out of their houses. However, the community members refused to obey them and instead raised an alarm. Within minutes, eyewitnesses said, hundreds of men, women and children of the community carrying swords and Kirpans came out on the Khanabal-Pahalgam road and chased away the Army men. They informed the Mattan police and the civil administration. The Sumo (JKO3A 3077) in which the troopers were travelling was also seized and its driver arrested. Only 11 households, all from the Sikh community, reside on the K.P road area of Hutmurah village while the rest reside in the interior area. Narrating the incident, Pupinder Singh, on whose residence the army men first knocked, said, “The Army men appeared in the village at around 7:30 pm on Friday and knocked at our main gate. My wife who was in the compound of the house was asked to open the door. But when she refused they enquired if there was any male member in our house. When she refused to open the door, they left and started knocking at the doors of our other neighboring houses.” The Army men, according to the eyewitnesses, later knocked at the doors of four other houses including that of Jeet Singh, Jarnail Singh, Deedar Singh and Jagjeet Singh and also tried to force their entry through the back side. “They army men asked us to come out of the houses. When we refused, they pelted stones,” said a resident, Jagjeet Singh.

He said that they informed their fellow Sikh community members residing in the interiors of the village and also the local police on phone who reached the spot. Though the troops fled from the spot but the locals managed to catch hold of the Sumo driver along with his vehicle and handed him over to the police. Jeet Singh, another local, said that after fleeing from the village, the Army men reappeared and threatened the community members in front of a senior police official. He said had the top police brass and civil administration not reached the spot, things could have turned ugly. The incident happened hours before the arrival of United States President, Barrack Obama, in India. On 20th March 2001, when then US President Bill Clinton was in India, gunmen dressed in Indian army fatigues entered the village of Chattisinghpora, also in Mattan area of Islamabad district. The group ordered all Sikh men and boys to assemble at the village Gurdwara and shot and killed 36 of them. This morning hundreds of Sikhs from many Mattan villages assembled near local Gurduwara in Hutmurah and staged demonstrations. They were shouting pro-freedom and anti-government slogans. The protesters blocked the Khanabal-Pahalgam Road at Mattan by erecting barricades. Later, the local Muslims also joined the protests. Many Sikh leaders reached the village and addressed the gathering. Talking to Greater Kashmir, Secretary Gurduwara Prabandhak Committee, Kuldeep Singh said, “There is a probability that they (Army men) wanted to repeat Chattisinghpora massacre. But the Sikhs mustered courage and chased them away.” Kuldeep Singh appealed the Sikh community of the valley to maintain calm and maintain strong vigil.

Chairman of the Sikh Coordination Committee, Jagmohan Singh Raina, demanded a time-bound inquiry into the incident for exposing the elements behind this act. “We have taken up the matter with the Chief Minister and Union Home Minister. Whenever American President is on visit to India an atmosphere is created by various agencies to intimidate the minority Sikh community of the valley,” said Jagmohan adding that a sense of insecurity has crept into the community. He appealed to the Sikh community to be cautious of the nefarious designs of various agencies who want to repeat Chattisingpora and wanted mass exodus of the minority community. Jagmohan demanded that the matter should be thoroughly probed and the elements behind the act exposed within a week. Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), South Kashmir, Shafakat Ahmad Watali said, “A case has been registered in this regard and an enquiry will be conducted into the incident.” “An FIR no 400/ 2010 under Section 447,427 and 506 RPC has been registered,” said a police official. Residents of Upalna, a Sikh dominated area of Baramulla district, had also accused troopers of Rashtriya Rifles of harassing them by knocking at their doors during the intervening night of November 3 and 4.

Police said the vehicle of 52 Rashtriya Rifles had developed some snag in the area and in order to seek help from the residents, troops knocked at their doors. But Sikhs question why such things happen only when President of the United States is scheduled to visit the country. “It can’t be coincidence that the community members in Islamabad (Anantnag) and Baramulla were harassed on the same pattern and at a time when US President is visiting the country,” says Sardar Surjeet Singh. The President of Sharomani Akali Dal Kashmir, Janak Singh Sodhi, while talking to Greater Kashmir over phone said, “We seek the direct intervention of the Prime Minister into the incidents.” “Sikhs of the valley are living in peace with the majority community and any attempt aimed to disturb the peaceful atmosphere between the two communities will not be allowed,” he said.

Nov 6: The Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Saturday condemned the harassment of members of Sikh community at Hutmura village in south Kashmir’s Islamabad (Anantnag) district allegedly by the troopers. He termed it as an attempt to repeat the Chattisinghpora massacre. Geelani also urged the Muslims to undertake patrolling of the Sikh dominated areas across the Valley to thwart any conspiracy against them. “New Delhi is leaving no stone unturned to defame the sacred cause of Kashmiris. In 2000, during the visit of then US president Bill Clinton, 35 sikhs were massacred. The communal forces have been always targeting the minorities. The killings of Sikhs after the killing of Indira Gandhi in 1984 clearly establishes that the minorities including Muslims and Christians are not safe in India,” he said. Geelani maintained the minorities communities including Sikhs are part and parcel of Kashmiri society. “I appeal the Kashmiri Muslims to undertake patrolling of the Sikh dominated areas along with the members of the minority community till US president Obama stays in India to thwart conspiracy against them,” he added.

jammu sikhs protest Members of the Sikh community today blocked the Jammu-Pathankot highway near here during a demonstration to protest against the recent incident when uniformed gunmen went to a Sikh hamlet in the Kashmir Valley.

Sikhs Block Jammu-Pathankot Highway During Protest

About 150 members of the Sikh community blocked the highway for about an hour at Digiana near here around noon today, official sources said.

They were demanding action against the armed men who had knocked on the doors of houses of Sikhs in Hatmura village in Anantnag district on the intervening night of November 5 and 6, the sources said.

The protesters demanded that security be provided to minorities in the Kashmir Valley and strict action be taken against those who had threatened members of the Sikh community, who had come out from their houses and raised an alarm to wake their Muslim neighbours.

Addressing the gathering, leaders of Sikh organizations said that this was a design by some vested elements during the current visit of US President Barack Obama to repeat the incident of 2000 when 35 innocent Sikhs were killed in Chattisinghpura in Kashmir Valley during Bill Clinton's visit to India

Sikh leaders demanded a CBI inquiry into the incident and urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the J and K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to look into the incident and ensure that minorities live without fear in the Valley