U.S. Congress Urged to Blacklist Gujarat Chief Minister Modi for U.S. Travel

“Architects of genocide have no right to cross the borders of the United States,” say Sikhs

(SACRAMENTO, August 10, 2013) Sikhs in Northern California launched a campaign on Friday seeking assistance from local congressional representatives in obtaining a U.S. visa denial for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, arguing that “architects of genocide have no right to cross the borders of the United States.”

The campaign began with delivery of a 9-page letter to the only Indian-American in U.S. Congress, Representative Ami Bera (D – Elk Grove), who recently expressed interest in expanding California’s economic relationship with Gujarat. The letter details concerns about Modi’s human rights record, including his recent eviction of Gujarati Sikh farmers from their landholdings, and states: “We also urge you to make prosecution for genocide a priority above and beyond discussion of economic partnership…. Partnering with terrorists like Narendra Modi is contrary to the principles on which the United States of America was founded.”

“Sikh farmers dwelling in Kutch, Gujarat are the most recent targets of state-sponsored communal violence by the Modi administration,” said Bhajan Singh Bhinder, director of Sikh Information Centre, the group coordinating the campaign to deny Modi a visa. “To make way for centrally-planned Special Investment Regions, as they are called, Modi is kicking Sikhs off soil over which they have toiled for 50 years. Five thousand Sikh families are being robbed of their homesteads because the Modi government thinks it can create a better economy than these small business-owners. Nothing is crueler than evicting these farmers from land transformed into fertile soil by their sweat and blood.”

The campaign, beginning with Bera, will also approach Doris Matsui (D – Sacramento), Jeff Denham (R – Modesto), Tom McClintock (R – Roseville), Jerry McNerney (D – Stockton), and Mike Honda (D – San Jose), among others. Bhinder emphasized the campaign will also urge all other minority advocacy and human rights groups to initiate similar campaigns in their spheres of influence.

The letter to congressional representatives articulates three requests: 1) “We urge you to work for denial of a visitor’s visa for Narendra Modi and seek a permanent ban on his entry into this great nation”; 2) “We ask you to take the first step to combatting violent extremism in India by seeking removal and punishment of violent extremists like Modi who are currently sitting in the nation’s highest political offices”; 3) “We request you use all the good graces of your office to seek restoration to Gujarat’s dispossessed farmers of the land stolen from them by the government.”

Narendra Modi, who hopes to become India’s next Prime Minister, has recently indicated interest in traveling the U.S. to drum up support for his bid. He was denied entry to the U.S. in 2005 due to his orchestration of the Gujarat Genocide, an anti-Muslim pogrom occurring just four months after he first took office. An estimated 2,000 Muslims were massacred by rampaging Hindu mobs armed with addresses of Muslim-owned homes and businesses. Police joined in the violence. Post-mortem reports indicate police employed execution-style killing techniques of a shot to the chest and a shot to the head against scores of innocent Muslims. Several witnesses were told by police: “We have no orders to save you.”

Harvard professor and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen last month warned that Modi “generates concern and fear among minorities,” saying he would like “a more secular person” to be Prime Minister. Such fears were elevated in 2010 by Sanjiv Bhatt, a former police officer turned whistleblower. Bhatt testifies he was present at a February 27, 2002 meeting at Modi’s home, hours before the riots began, at which time Modi ordered police to cooperate with the rioters.

An investigation by Human Rights Watch in 2002 arrived at similar conclusion. HRW’s senior South Asia researcher Smita Narula said: “What happened in Gujarat was not a spontaneous uprising, it was a carefully orchestrated attack against Muslims. The attacks were planned in advance and organized with extensive participation of the police and state government officials.”

“Ami Bera has long-standing support from the Sikh-American community,” said Bhinder. “We welcome him to continue in the tradition of other South Asian congressmen like Dalip Singh Saund, the son of Stockton who was the first Sikh to serve in the hallowed halls of this great nation’s capitol. Sikhs played a crucial role in Bera’s election and we are counting on him to lead the way in defending human life and liberty above all else.”

German Consulate Promises Bhullar Family Opposition to Death Penalty

Brother of Professor Bhullar Seeks Germany’s Aid to Halt Imminent Hanging by India

(SAN FRANCISCO, April 18, 2013) The German Consulate in San Francisco promised the brother of condemned Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar that the German government opposes the death penalty in all circumstances during a meeting on Thursday.

“Konsul Stephan Boehm was very reassuring,” said brother Tejinderpal Singh Bhullar after the meeting. “My mother Upkar was unfortunately feeling poorly and unable to accompany us. Her spirits will be lifted by the Konsul’s promise to swiftly transmit our request for Germany to withdraw her ambassador to India unless Davinderpal is freed.”

At the meeting, Tejinderpal presented Konsul Boehm with a 4-page memorandum documenting the persecution of the Bhullar family by the Indian State and India’s failure to observe due process in prosecuting Professor Bhullar after his illegal deportation from Germany in 1996. Additional sections identified Amnesty International statements in 2003, 2011, and 2013 condemning Bhullar’s death sentence verdict and asserted the Indian Police have a history of lawlessness based on statements from US Congressman Dan Burton, the US State Department, and human rights sources.

Tejinderpal was accompanied by a 5-member delegation of Sikh-American leaders and human rights activists including Siri Pritam Khalsa, Manjit Singh Brar, and Jesse Kang, and Bhajan Singh Bhinder and Pieter Singh from Sikh Information Centre.

Tejinderpal and his mother, Upkar, who reside in California, claim that Indian Police began targeting the Bhullar family in the 1990s to punish Professor Bhullar’s political involvement. Balwant Singh, his father, was arbitrarily disappeared by police in 1991, along with his uncle Manjit Singh Sohi and two cousins. The cousins were later released, one with a leg amputated through torture. The father and uncle were never seen again.

“Professor Bhullar stands not only for the Sikhs,” said Bhinder. “He is here as a poster boy of the oppression of the Indian state, the oppression against all minorities of India, the killings of Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Sikhs. We will not rest until the victims of state terrorism in India see justice roll down like waters.”

The meeting on Thursday morning was followed that afternoon by a rally outside the San Francisco Indian consulate of nearly 500 supporters of freedom for Bhullar. A delegation of Sikh-Americans met with the New York German Consulate, also on Thursday, after which thousands of Bhullar supporters took to the streets in pouring rain.

Bhullar Family to ask US German Mission to Recall Ambassador to India

Pleads for German aid in stopping imminent Davinderpal Singh Bhullar hanging

(SAN FRANCISCO, April 17, 2013) In a last ditch effort to rescue the Indian death row convict Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar, his family in California will meet with the German Embassy to request Germany immediately recall its Indian ambassador to protest violations of due process of justice resulting in Bhullar’s imminent hanging.

Bhullar is accused of the 1993 bombing of All-India Youth Congress offices. He insists he’s innocent, pointing to the total lack of evidence and the 1991 killing of his relatives by Indian Police. Fearing a similar fate in police custody, he sought political asylum in Germany in 1995. He was deported to India in 1996. A Frankfurt court later ruled this illegal since German law forbids extradition of persons facing torture or death.

Because the extradition was illegal, Bhullar’s mother and brother will ask Germany to take action in a meeting at the San Francisco German Consulate (1960 Jackson Street) at 10:30 AM (PST) on Thursday. US citizens living in California, they insist Bhullar is only the family’s latest victim of state terrorism. They plan to ask Germany to sever diplomatic relations with India unless Bhullar is freed.

A rally demanding India free Bhullar is scheduled to take place outside India’s San Francisco Consulate on Thursday at high noon. Similar rallies are scheduled around the world, including outside New York City’s Indian Consulate. A Sikh delegation is also scheduled to meet with the New York German Consulate (871 United Nations Plaza) at 2 PM (EST) on Thursday. A rally in London on Tuesday drew thousands to Downing Street, where supporters of Bhullar have been camping since April 11.

Police began targeting the Bhullar family in 1991 to punish their political involvement, said mother Upkar Kaur and brother Tejinderpal Singh in an interview. The father, Balwant Singh, was arbitrarily disappeared by Indian Police, along with an uncle, Manjit and two cousins. The cousins were later released after suffering extreme torture requiring amputation of one’s leg. The father and uncle were never seen again.

After his deportation, Professor Bhullar was imprisoned without trial until 2000. He was denied access to an attorney during his initial imprisonment and trial. Of 133 prosecution witnesses, not one identified him as guilty. He was convicted to death solely on the basis of a confession signed with a thumbprint. Bhullar disowns the confession, saying he was tortured and ordered to thumbprint a blank page.

Tejinderpal is glad at the chance to meet with the German Embassy. He says, “My brother is an innocent man who was framed in criminal cases for organizing rallies against extrajudicial killing of Sikhs in Punjab.” He shakes his head, expressing frustration mixed with hope. His family has suffered since 1991, he notes, when his father and uncle were disappeared by Indian police. He has strong words, saying:

“First the Indian State killed my father extrajudicially. Now my brother is being murdered through judicial process. Both are innocent victims of a vampire government. Our family has been devastated. But we still stand strong with the Sikh nation.”

Upkar is more downcast. As she speaks, she weeps at the though of losing her oldest son, saying: “Davinderpal has suffered on death row for 18 years for speaking against the Indian State’s destruction of our family and our Sikh community. He saw police murder his father and my sister’s husband for nothing. While the sons of Punjab are bled by Delhi’s tyranny, we pray for justice, peace, and liberty like we find in USA.”

Sikh-Americans Hail US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as “Truth-teller”

Call Hagel “right on the money” for saying Afghanistan is India’s “second front” against Pakistan

(SACRAMENTO, March 8, 2013) Recently revealed remarks made by newly confirmed US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel suggest India’s involvement in Afghanistan is part of a wider strategy to secretly destabilize Pakistan. Hagel’s comments, made in a 2011 speech at Cameron University in Oklahoma, are earning him praise from Sikh-Americans.

In the speech, Hagel said: “India … has always used Afghanistan as a second front, and India has over the years financed problems for Pakistan on that side…. The tense, fragmented relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan has been there for many, many years.”

Elaborating on Hagel’s assertion, Bhajan Singh Bhinder of US-based NPO Sikh Information Centre said, “If India’s policy of promoting domestic terror is to be used as a yardstick, then Hagel is right on the money. He clearly recognizes historical realities. Afghanistan was the only country to oppose Pakistan’s membership in the United Nations. India is encouraging continued tension because it sees influence in Afghanistan as a hedge against Pakistan. The underlying philosophical purpose is that Afghanistan was once ruled by Brahmins, who still fantasize about restoring both Pakistan and Afghanistan to the fabled akhand Bharat.”

Afghanistan was indeed controlled by the Brahmin Shahi dynasty until its Muslim conquest in the 11th century. Proponents of Hindutva (an ideology viewing non-Hindus as foreign to Hindu) like senior BJP leader LK Advani advocate creation of “akhand Bharat,” an undivided India uniting Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Afghanistan.

Former US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott dealt extensively with Advani in the late 1990s. Talbott records in his autobiography how Advani “mused aloud” about reuniting Pakistan and other Indian neighbors into a “single South Asian ‘confederation.'” Talbott says Advani was not alone in his views, writing: “Many Indians … regarded the idea of Pakistan not just a mistake but as an insult to the idea of India.” In his own autobiography, Advani declared: “Sindhi Hindus … still cannot accept the absurdity of Sindh’s separation from India.” Sindh, Advani’s birthplace, is Pakistan’s second most populous province.

In 2009, then NATO commander General Stanley McChrystal warned “increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate regional tensions and encourage Pakistani countermeasures in Afghanistan or India.” With strong US encouragement, India has poured over $1.5 billion USD into Afghanistan’s infrastructure since 2001. Former Indian ambassador to the US Lalit Mansingh recently cited the financial aid as reason for India to be given broader control of Afghanistan after US troop withdrawal in 2014, protesting: “The peace plan seems to give primacy to Pakistan’s role and nothing to India despite the fact that India has invested a good deal of money for aid and reconstruction in Afghanistan.”

“India’s support for Afghanistan is based not in neighborly love,” said Bhinder, “but in a Hindutva strategy for creating the undivided India yearned for by upper castes. They have no qualms about funding and instigating violence to achieve that goal. These malicious tactics were used in 2007 when the Samjhauta Express was bombed by Hindu terrorists just one day before Indo-Pakistani peace talks about Kashmir. Before that, we saw the same tactics in Chittisinghpura, Kashmir in 2000 when Indian soldiers massacred 35 innocent Sikhs before kidnapping five innocent Muslims, killing them in a false encounter, and blaming them for the massacre. In 1982, Indian State agents used the same pattern to spark sectarian conflict between Hindus and Sikhs by planting severed cow heads at a Hindu temple in Amritsar.”

In November 2008, Lieutenant Colonel Shrikant Prasand Purohit, an actively serving Indian Army intelligence officer, was arrested for a September 2008 bombing in Malegaon, Maharashtra which killed seven. Mumbai’s Antiterrorism Squad leader Hemant Karkare, the arresting officer, swiftly also tied Purohit to the February 2007 bombing of Samjhauta Express, which killed 68. Both attacks were perpetrated under the auspices of Abhinav Bharat, a group Purohit founded in 2007 for “propagating a Hindu Rashtra [nation].”

Karkare’s investigation additionally linked Purohit to Indian Army Colonel S. S. Raikar, commandant of the Bhonsala Military School, where Army and Intelligence Bureau officers provided weapons training and RDX explosives to Hindu supremacists. Purohit was additionally implicated in the 2007-08 killings of Adivasi Christians by Hindu rioters in Karnataka and Odisha.

On November 24, Karkare further identified Pravin Togadia, General Secretary of the VHP, a Hindu supremacist group, as a funding source of Abhinav Bharat. The following day, Karkare was murdered in the Mumbai terrorist attacks. Subsequently, the ATS dropped its investigation of Hindu supremacist terror ties.

Bhinder continued: “Minorities in India such as Adivasis, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, and Sikhs are used as pawns in the Brahminist’s expansionist agenda. Their strategy is a complex one of subterfuge, misdirection, and false flag attacks to create division, destabilize society, pit one minority group against another, and justify draconian suppression, including violence against Pakistan and neighboring countries. That’s why we are so proud of Secretary Hagel’s role as a truth-teller in recognizing and calling out India’s similar power play in Afghanistan. We hope he continues to pursue the truth.”