The Consulate General of India in New York has condemned a statement by the Connecticut State General Assembly purporting to show its support for the so-called “Declaration of Sikh Independence”.
Calling it an attempt to use the assembly’s name to “promote bigotry and hatred,” the consulate said in a statement Sunday, “We condemn the so-called citation of the Connecticut State General Assembly in the United States as an illegal act.”
It said the consulate and embassy in Washington “will appropriately raise this issue with concerned U.S. lawmakers.”
The Consulate said that the adoption of the General Assembly’s declaration “is an attempt by some mischievous elements to use the name of the Assembly for their nefarious purposes. These pressure groups aim to divide communities and encourage bigotry and hatred.”
“Their agenda of violence has no place in democratic societies like the US and India.”
Thomas Abraham, the chair of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), told IANS the group’s Connecticut chapter would meet with the lawmakers behind the statement and explain the situation.
He regretted the statement, calling it “terrible”.
Abraham, who resides in Connecticut, said that a “fringe group passed it at the end of the assembly’s session without the knowledge of most elected officials.”
The GOPIO Connecticut Chapter “deplores such action by the Connecticut legislatures who initiated and/or approved this legislation and will meet them personally to rectify the situation,” he said.
The statement, which is attributed to the Democratic Party-controlled state general assembly, which includes both the House of Representatives and the Senate, was made at a ceremony in front of City Hall on Friday, according to video provided by TV84, a New York-based Punjabi online media outlet Reading Norwich .
“The Connecticut General Assembly sincerely congratulates the World Sikh Parliament on the 36th anniversary of the Sikh Declaration of Independence,” read the statement, allegedly signed by Senate President Pro-tem Mark Looney, Speaker Matthew Ridder and Secretary of State Denise Merril, according to the video.
“We join you and your friends and family in commemorating the historic resolution passed by the collective Sikh nation on April 29, 1986,” she added.
The World Sikh Parliament is a Khalistan organization.
The New London newspaper said Democrat Swaranjit Singh, who is a Norwich councilor (the equivalent of a councillor), attended the celebrations in Norwich.
The newspaper said that the leaders of the World Sikh Parliament had raised a so-called “Punjab flag” in front of City Hall.
As of Sunday evening, the General Assembly’s statement could not be found in its online records or on the websites of lawmakers who might have sponsored it.
There were also no US media reports of the statement.
Sikh issues have arisen in Connecticut in the past.
His legislature passed a resolution in 2018 declaring November 1st as “Sikh Genocide Memorial Day” for those killed in the 1984 Indian government action against Sikh separatists at the Golden Temple.
The Norwich Public Library put up a “1984 Sikh Genocide Memorial” which featured a large portrait of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Khalistan’s separatist leader in 2019.
But the display donated by Swaranjit Singh was removed within weeks after the Indian consulate protested.
A Sikh issue also reached the US House of Representatives in Washington last month.
On April 18, Massachusetts Democrat Richard Neal issued a statement wishing for the World Sikh Parliament for Baisakhi, stating, “Despite their goodwill, the Sikhs have faced violence and have fought relentlessly to protect to defend their faith, most notably in 1984 with Sikh genocide during the anti-Sikh riots in India”.
The statement is in the Congressional Minutes and it is not clear whether he actually made it in-house or if it was added to the Minutes, as many such statements are due to the Congress’ tight schedule.