India Condemns Connecticut citation on Sikh ‘independence’

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Indian flag- REUTERS photo by Francis Mascarenhas

The Indian government has strongly condemned the passage of a citation on Sikh ‘independence’ by the Connecticut State General Assembly April 29, 2022, and vowed to pursue the matter with U.S. lawmakers.

Meanwhile, the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin-Connecticut Chapter, a leading Indian-American organization, lashed out at state lawmakers for passing the citation and said it would follow up with the legislators.  Another organization, India World Forum, described the Connecticut General Assembly action as promoting separatism in India.

A statement from the Indian Consulate in New York said, “We condemn the so-called Citation of the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut in the USA regarding an illegal act,” calling it an attempt by “some mischievous elements to use the name of the Assembly for their nefarious purposes,” in a bid to “divide communities and promote bigotry and hatred.”

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The statement added that the Indian Embassy in Washington and the Indian Consulate in New York, “will take up this issue appropriately with the concerned US lawmakers.”

Statement of from the Indian Consulate in New York condemning the Connecticut General Assembly citation on Sikh ‘independence’ day April 29, 2022.

The community organization, GOPIO-Connecticut, in a statement released May 2, said it “deplores the citation by a few members of Connecticut General Assembly congratulating declaration of Sikh Independence.” It said it has written to Connecticut State Assembly and State Senators to dissociate themselves from the resolution.

“This initiative is from a few fringe elements who have no interest in the State of Connecticut, but promoting their own personal divisive agenda,” Thomas Abraham, chairman and Trustee of GOPIO-CT, is quoted saying in the press release, noting that the “Indian American community in Connecticut consists of Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Parsees. All these communities live together as one Indian community and Connecticut state has no business to comment on issues pertaining to local issues in India or supporting fringe elements to promote their divisive agenda.”

“There are 20 million Sikhs living peacefully with all other communities all over India and this citation goes against the integrity of India,” said Ashok Nichani, president of GOPIO-CT.

Another organization, Indian World Forum, said the Connecticut citation was the work of “anti-India elements” outside India to disturb communal harmony in Punjab.

The action of Connecticut lawmakers was condemned in India. The Bharatiya Janata Party national spokesperson R.P. Singh  tweeted a copy of the Connecticut resolution describing it as a “highly condemnable” move by Connecticut lawmakers, which he said, showed “open support for an Independent State, ‘Khalistan’ within India.”

Singh tweeted, “Connecticut State, in US, has “recognized” April 29th as Anniversary of declaration of Sikh Independence. It is highly condemnable & not at all acceptable. @JoeBiden govt. should intervene, as it is a open support for an Independent State, ‘Khalistan’ within India.”

The Connecticut ‘General Assembly Official Citation’ reads as follows: “Be it hereby known to all that: The Connecticut General Assembly offers its sincerest congratulations to the World Sikh Parliament in recognition of the 36th anniversary of the declaration of Sikh independence.”

On April 29, an estimated 60 members of the Sikh community held a rally to celebrate ‘independence’ in Norwich, Connecticut, the media outlet The Day reported.

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