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India Delhi Sikhs Protest Kashmir Threats


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Delhi Sikhs protest Kashmir threats

2010-08-22 19:20:00

A breakaway fraction of the Akalai Dal held a demonstration here Sunday to protest the anonymous letters received by the Sikhs in Kashmir asking them to embrace Islam or face dire consequences.

'The government is just concerned about the Commonwealth Games. We fear that because of the games, we will lose Kashmir to the terrorists,' said Paramjeet Singh Pamma, president of the National Akali Dal (NAD).

Around 200 protesters holding banners, posters and placards demanded the safety of Sikhs and Hindus in the Kashmir Valley while some warned Pakistan to eschew terrorist activities.

Ranjeet Singh, a 26-year-old protestor said: 'Article 370 should be scrapped in the Valley and the armed forces should be given more powers. All the violence in the Valley is happening because the hands of the armed forces are tied.'

The rally culminated with the protesters burning Pakistan's flag and shouting slogans against the country.

'We are in talks with the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (DSGPC), Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and many other Hindu and Muslim organisations on the issue. We are planning to visit the Valley this week and meet the frightened people,' Pamma said.

'We are with the Sikhs in Valley and they need not be afraid. Nothing should happen to them otherwise the whole country will react negatively. The government has to wake up and take action,' Pamma added.

The issue had created an uproar in both houses of parliament Friday.

'Let the house be assured that the state and centre are working together and Sikhs will be protected,' Home Minister P. Chidambaram had said in the Rajya Sabha after the uproar.

The 60,000-strong Sikh community is the single largest minority group in the valley after Hindus fled in the early 1990s when an armed separatist conflict backed by Pakistan erupted in Jammu and Kashmir.
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