Indian Minorities ask California Governor Brown to reject Indian Consulate Rally
By Gurtej Singh
Published: September 7, 2012
Sacramento, USA (September 09, 2012): A US based coalition of minorities of Indian origin asked Governor Jerry Brown on Thursday to cancel his planned appearance at a Sacramento rally intended to honor the victims of the Wisconsin Sikh Temple shooting. The group insists rally organizer North American Punjabi Association (NAPA) and the Indian state are using the September 8 rally, which features India’s Consul General N. Parthasarthi, to sanitize the reality of India’s ongoing human rights abuses.
“Governor Brown should disavow all involvement in this rally,” stated Bhajan Singh, a director of Organization for Minorities of India (OFMI). “His appearance alongside Consul General Parthasarthi validates India’s de facto policy of genocide against the Sikh people. The Wisconsin shootings were a horrible but isolated tragedy. The real catastrophe is that India’s security forces regularly torture and kill minorities and reward the most brutal officials with promotions. A perfect example is Sumedh Saini, who was appointed in March as Punjab’s top police official after building his career by killing thousands of Sikhs.”
Singh condemned the Indian Consulate for corruption, stating: “Virtually every Punjabi household in California can relate their personal and bitter experiences with the consulate. For instance, it was reported in 2010 as demanding bribes in order to issue visas to Punjabis to return to India, charging up to $5,000 to grant visas as reported by Hindustan Times. Many Indian immigrants to the U.S. have no choice but to accept this behavior as they must deal with the Indian state on issues such as of visas or settlement of property in India.”
The rally includes a fundraiser for police officer Lt. Brian Murphy, who was wounded defending the Oak Creek victims. Singh called Murphy a true hero, but said OFMI has asked him to refuse any monies from the event. “The Indian consulate is a den of corruption with the sole goal of sanitizing the blood-soaked Indian state,” said Singh. “Lt. Murphy represents the beauty and liberty of the United States, so we hope he will turn down this blood money raised by representatives of all that is twisted and tyrannical about India.”
In December 2011, rally organizer NAPA hosted a U.S. speaking tour by three top-ranking Punjab Police officers. At the time, OFMI requested the U.S. deny visas to officers Gurpreet Dheo, Parmodh Baan and S.K. Sharma because of sworn statements that the three had personally directed acts of torture.
“Officers in every Indian police station use torture,” said Arvin Valmuci, communications coordinator for OFMI. “On that basis alone, those officers should have been turned away at the borders of this great nation. NAPA is swiftly developing a reputation for endorsing state terror between its sponsorship of the police tour and of the Indian consulate’s involvement in this rally. To date, NAPA has not uttered a word condemning the killings of Sikhs and minorities; instead, it maintains strong relations with the government that appointed the architect of Sikh Genocide, Sumedh Saini.”
“It’s farcical for India’s consulate to involve itself in a solidarity rally for Sikh-Americans considering Indian police murder more Sikhs every day than did the rogue madman who attacked the Oak Creek Wisconsin Sikh Gurdwara,” said Valmuci. “Rather than punishing police, soldiers, and politicians who blatantly massacre minorities, the Indian state rewards them. Sikhs are one of the most deeply affected communities, yet victims hail from practically every minority group in India, including Christians in Orissa in 2007-08, Muslims in Gujarat in 2002, and Dalits on a daily basis.”
Noting examples of those rewarded for anti-minority violence, Singh said, “Take former police officer Mohammad Izhar Alam, who led the ‘Black Cats’ death squad to exterminate Sikhs. Last November, 34 young Sikhs killed by Alam were finally identified, but in October, he was promised a Punjab Legislative Assembly constituency by the state’s Chief Minister.” Singh also cited Union Cabinet Member Kamal Nath, who is accused of provoking mob violence during the 1984 Delhi Pogrom. Several Congress Party Members of Parliament, including Nath, were witnessed offering cash bounties, distributing weapons, and issuing orders to rioters. Journalist Sanjay Suri reported that Nath directed a mob of 4,000 people to burn several Sikhs alive and raze Gurudwara Rakab Ganj in New Delhi.
Issues of promotion for instigators of violence and widespread acceptance of torture were covered in OFMI’s November 2011 report, “Demons Within: The Systematic Practice of Torture by Indian Police.” OFMI’s report concluded: “Torture is so universally accepted and encouraged among the ranks of India’s police forces that it is a virtual certainty that anyone who is a police officer in India knows that torture occurs, has definitely been exposed to it, probably has participated in it, and almost certainly has helped cover it up.”