LONDON: The World Sikh Parliament has said that Hindutva chauvinism is responsible for the current crisis in South Asia which has brought nuclear armed Pakistan and India to the brink of war.
The World Sikh Parliament (WSP) said that the event following the Pulwama attack showed India’s incessant journey to an ever more right-wing Hindutva position, in terms of its treatment of other nations, minorities and even neighbouring states.
It said that the spectre of full-scale war with Pakistan over the disputed territory of Kashmir has, quite rightly, led to global alarm and even casual observers of the crisis will know that the current crisis is being driven entirely by the vote bank politics of the forthcoming Indian general elections.
Rajit Singh Srai said in a statement to this correspondent that both Indian PM Narendra Modi’s BJP and the main opposition Congress parties are desperately vying to play the ultra-nationalist card in order to gain the Hindutva vote and this is being done at the expense of the people of Indian Occupied Kashmir and, in case of war, the people of Punjab where experts have long believed that any military conflict will be largely fought.
He said: “The Sikh homeland in Indian-controlled Punjab, which itself is going through its own struggle for self-determination, is therefore at the heart of the issue and the World Sikh Parliament will hold India strictly to account for any loss of life or destruction in our homeland. The World Sikh Parliament urges the UN to take the lead in seizing this moment to nurture peaceful conflict resolution in both Kashmir and Punjab, based on international law which recognises the right of self-determination as a fundamental human right. The forcible denial of that right has led directly to hundreds of thousands of deaths in both regions over recent decades; it is time the international community woke up to the need to address the unlawful and morally indefensible position of the Indian state. Let us be clear; there will be no peace in the region until that happens.”
“Article 1 of the 1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, accepted as the bedrock of international humanitarian law, provides that all peoples have the right to self-determination. Incredibly, when India signed up to the 1966 Covenant, it officially informed the UN that it does not accept that Article 1 of the document applies to any peoples or nations held within its territory! The UN itself has asked India to withdraw that ‘reservation’, but India refuses to do so.”
The WSP demanded that the Indians stop using the Sikh homeland and Sikh troops in its military aggression against Pakistan. “The Sikh nation is not a party to the Indo-Pak conflict and our homeland and resources must not be utilised for that purpose. The use of nuclear weapons there risks the annihilation of most of the world’s Sikhs; no Sikh can support the war mongering antics of the Indian establishment and its hysterical media acolytes. We laud the peaceful posture and wise counsel of Pakistan PM Imran Khan who has repeatedly offered negotiations and talks to his counterpart over recent days. We call on Sikh soldiers serving in Indian forces, in case of war, to refuse to engage in offensive actions and instead to go to Punjab to protect its people in the face of an existential threat to the Sikh nation and other Punjabis. The World Sikh Parliament extends its full support to those in Kashmir who are struggling to secure self-determination in accordance with international law.”