Date: 13 Sep 2007


Sonia Gandhi
Should Not Address
UN on Nonviolence
(Open letter to Ban Ki-moon)
The Honorable Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-General of the United Nations
1 Dag Hammerskjold Plaza
New York, NY 10017

Dear Secretary General Ban:

It has come to my attention that you are having Sonia Gandhi speak to the United Nations on nonviolence on October 2.  Mrs. Gandhi has no moral standing to be discussing this subject.  I urge you to find someone else.  Perhaps the Dalai Lama, who will be in the United States the following weekend to receive an award, would be a good choice.  There are other people more qualified than Mrs. Gandhi, as well.

How could you pick the head of India’s Congress Party for this talk?  India is one of the most violent countries in the world.  According to the Punjab State Magistracy, over 250,000 Sikhs have been murdered at the hands of the Indian government.  Between 1993 and 1995, according to the United States Department of State, the Indian government paid out over 41,000 cash
bounties to police officers for killing Sikhs.  A report by the Movement Against State Repression (MASR) reveals that over 52,000 Sikhs are being held as political prisoners without charge or trial.  Some have been in illegal custody since 1984! Amnesty International reports that tens of thousands of other minorities are being held as political prisoners as well.  In addition, the regime has killed over 300,000 Christians in Nagaland, more than 90,000 Kashmiri Muslims and tens of thousands of Muslims and Christians in the rest of the country, and tens of thousands of Assamese, Bodos, Dalits (the dark-skinned aboriginal people of South Asia, referred to as Untouchables), Manipuris, Tamils, and others.   

The Gandhi family were perhaps the most cruel of Indian rulers., it was Mrs. Gandhis mother-in-law, Indira Gandhi, who suspended democracy and imposed martial law (dictatorship) on the country.  It was the Congress Party under Indira Gandhi, then under Mrs.
Gandhis husband, Rajiv Gandhi, who succeeded Indira Gandhi as Prime Minister, that the government carried out the brutal attack on the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the center and seat of the Sikh religion, in June 1984, as well as 224 other Gurdwaras (Sikh places of worship) throughout Punjab.  Sikh leaders Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, General Shabeg Singh, and others, as well as over 20,000 Sikhs were killed in these attacks.  The Sikh holy scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib, written in the time of the Sikh Gurus, was shot full of bullet holes by the Indian Army.  Over 100 young Sikh boys ages 8 to 13 were taken out into the courtyard and asked if they supported Khalistan, the independent Sikh state.  When they answered with the Sikh religious incantation Bole So Nihal they were summarily shot to death. After Indira Gandhi was killed, Rajiv Gandhi said, When a tree falls, the Earth shakes.  Then he locked the Sikh police in their barracks while the government murdered another 20,000 Sikhs in Delhi and the surrounding areas in the massacres of November 1984. Sikhs were burned alive, Sikh businesses were burned, Sikhs were chained to trucks.  The driver for Baba Charan Singh, a Sikh religious leader, was killed by tying his legs to jeeps which then drove off in different directions. 

Sardar Jaswant Singh Khalra looked at the records of the cremation grounds at Patti, Tarn Taran, and Durgiana Mandar and documented at least 6,018 secret cremations of young Sikh men ages 20-30.  These young Sikhs were arrested by the police, tortured, murdered, then declared unidentified and secretly cremated.  Their bodies were not even returned to their families.
They have never officially been accounted for.  The Punjab Human Rights Commission estimates that about
50,000 such secret cremations have occurred. For exposing this horrendous atrocity, Sardar Khalra was abducted by the police on September 6, 1995 while he was washing his car, then murdered in police custody.  The only witness to his kidnapping, Rajiv
Singh Randhawa, has been repeatedly harassed by the police.  Once he was arrested for trying to hand a petition to the then-British Home Minister, Jack Straw, in front of the Golden Temple in Amritsar.

Police SSP Swaran Singh Ghotna tortured and murdered Akal Takht Jathedar Gurdev Singh Kaunke and has never
been punished for doing so.  K.P.S. Gill, who was responsible for the murders of over 150,000 Sikhs in his time as Director General of Police, is still walking around scot-free.  He was even involved in leading the Indian Olympic field hockey team.  His
trip to the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 was protested by the Sikh community in the United States, which is over half a million strong, but he was allowed to come to the Olympics on an Olympic Committee visa.  Immediately after the Olympic hockey game, he was
shipped back to Punjab as a threat to peace and an affront to the Sikh community.  50 members of the U.S. Congress from both parties wrote to the President protesting his appearance in the United States. Unfortunately, other minorities have also suffered
greatly under the boot of Indian repression.  In March 2002, 5,000 Muslims were killed in Gujarat while police were ordered to stand by and let the carnage happen, in an eerie parallel to the Delhi massacre of Sikhs in November 1984 in which Sikh police officers were locked in their barracks while the state-run television and radio called for more Sikh blood.

Christians have suffered under a wave of repression since Christmas 1998.  An Australian missionary, Graham Staines, and his two young sons, ages 8 and 10, were burned to death while they slept in their jeep by a mob of Hindu militants connected with the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), an organization formed in support of the Fascists.  The mob surrounded the burning jeep and chanted Victory to Hannuman, a Hindu god.  None of the mob has ever been brought to justice; instead the crime has been blamed on one scapegoat.  Mr. Stainess widow was thrown out of the country after the incident.   An American missionary, Joseph Cooper of Pennsylvania, was expelled from India after being beaten so severely that he had to spend a week in the hospital.  None of the persons responsible for beating Mr. Cooper has been prosecuted.  Churches have been burned, Christian schools and prayer halls have been attacked and vandalized, priests have been murdered, nuns have been raped, all with impunity.  Police broke up a Christian religious festival with gunfire.
Amnesty International has not been allowed into Punjab since 1978.  Even Castro’s Cuba has allowed Amnesty into the country more recently.  What is India hiding?

My organization, the Council of Khalistan, is leading the Sikh struggle for freedom and sovereignty. Working with the Congress of the United States, we have internationalized the struggle for freedom for the Sikhs and all the people of South Asia since the
Council of Khalistan’s inception on October 7, 1987, the day that the Sikh Nation declared its independence from India.  We have worked to preserve the accurate history of the Sikhs and the repression of minorities by India by preserving the information in the
Congressional Record.  We continue to work for freedom for the Sikh Nation.  Self-determination is the essence of democracy.

We cannot accept the leader of the Congress Party, the party that carried out the bulk of these atrocities, speaking to an organization like the United Nations on a subject like non-violence, especially when there are much better spokespersons available.  I cannot urge you strongly enough to cancel this appearance.

Thank you in advance for your attention to this situation and for helping the people of South Asia.

Dr. Gurmit Singh Aulakh
Council of Khalistan