New Delhi: An independent Rajya Sabha MP has
suggested the government to extend its new surrender policy in
Jammu and Kashmir to Punjab, saying several of those from the
Sikh community who crossed borders after Operation Blue Star
are willing to come back and settle down peacefully in India.
In a letter to Home Minister P Chidambaram, Tarlochan
Singh welcomed the steps being taken by the Centre to
"normalise the situation in Kashmir" but wondered why it is
"hesitant to provide the same facilities (general amnesty) to
the Sikh youth who crossed borders in the wake of disturbances
in Punjab after Operation Blue Star in 1984.
"Many Sikh youth from Kashmir also took part in our
agitation and are now living in Pakistan and other countries
... they are willing to come back and settle peacefully in
India," he said.
Singh said the "general amnesty scheme" has been earlier
offered to many extremist groups in north-eastern states but
"we are sorry to observe that Sikh minority community is not
getting its due for the reasons best known to the government."
"I hoped the new policy on Kashmir will be extended to
Punjab also...Government should not discriminate on the basis
of religion and should be liberal towards Sikh demands also,"
Singh said underlining that Punjab is now "back to normal".
In his letter to the Home Minister, Singh claimed that
hundreds of applications for visas from the Sikh community
were pending in various Indian embassies to facilitate their
visit to Amritsar for pilgrimage. "We fail to understand why
the government is not showing positive response whenever a
demand is put up to solve the Sikh issues," he claimed.