NEW YORK, Jan 27 (APP):Hundreds of American Sikhs staged a demonstration in Washington on India’s Republic Day to protest against labelling of Sikhs as “Hindus” in the Indian Constitution, and to press for their demand for the secession of Indian-held Punjab to establish an independent country of “Khalistan,” according to a press release issued by a Sikh advocacy organization.
India’s Constitution, which was promulgated in 1950, classifies people of Sikh religion as “Hindus”, subjecting the Sikh community to the personal, matrimonial and family laws of Hindu religion.
While India’s Ambassador to United States Harsh Vardhan Shringla hoisted the Indian flag in at the Indian Embassy in Washington on Saturday to mark the Republic Day, hundreds of pro-Khalistani Sikhs set ablaze the Indian flag amid slogans of “Sikhs Are Not Hindus” and “Free Punjab – End Indian Occupation”, the press release said.
“To suppress the Sikhs’ demand for abolishing Article 25(b) of the Constitution, India committed genocide of Sikhs in June and November 1984 as well as in extra-judicial killings in the following decade”, said Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal advisor to “Sikhs for Justice” (SfJ), which organized the rally.
Pannun said the only solution for the Sikh community to preserve their religious identity was the establishment of Khalistan.
Sikhism is the world’s fifth largest religion, with more than 28 million followers. It is recognized as a separate religion throughout the world except India, according yo the press release.
“Article 25(b) of the Indian constitution shows that India’s claims to secularism and democracy are a sham”, Dr. Bakhshish Singh Sandhu, President of Washington based Council of Khalistan, said.