Temple inquiry needed

Globe and Mail
June 23, 1984

As an expatriate Indian, I fully support your suggestion (A Touch Of Healing — editorial, June 15) that if Indira Gandhi is interested in "defusing tensions" she should order an inquiry into "military excesses" following the storming of the Golden Temple.

Such an inquiry should be announced without any further loss of time. Furthermore, leaders of the Sikh community should be invited to associate actively with any such inquiry, so it is not subsequently accused of bias.

The situation in India is volatile: killings in Assam last year, and in Bhiwandi and Bombay last month; the continuing death toll in Punjab, together with around 1,000 casualties on June 13. These are ominous signs, and India's political leadership should not take lightly the implications of these deteriorating conditions.

Ajit Jain
Rexdale, Ont.

 

Your editorial A Touch Of Heal­ing (June 15) is perceptive, although parts of it are based on unconfirmed, and perhaps not unmotivated, reports. For example, it is difficult for those who know the Sikhs and the Indian army to believe that "Sikh soldiers were forced at gunpoint to lead the charge into the temple."

As regards the unfortunate loss of lives you have, by now, seen that official sources in Delhi have given the figure as 84 for the army and 492 for the rest as a result of the encounter at the Golden Tem­ple complex.

You imply that no restraint was shown by the army. This is far from true, as seen from reports of foreign media representatives who visited the Golden Temple on June 14.

K. P. Fabian
Acting High Commissioner
High Commission of India
Ottawa

 

While you have printed many photographs of angry Canadian Sikhs and reported their exaggerated claims of "injustice" in India, there has been little effort to clarify the history of Hindu-Sikh coexistence in India.

Sikhs and Hindus have lived together harmoniously for more than 500 years. There are few, if any, hstorically recorded instances of violence between the two people. Sikhs have succeeded as engineers, governors, film stars and in other professions. Their martial prowess and business acumen have been highly regarded and rewarded. Sikhs and Hindus have intermarried, celebrated one another's festivals and rubbed shoulders in factories and on farms.

Vivek K. Mathur
Markham

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