Recalling Statement by Former US President on Massacres of Sikhs – “Hindu Militants Murdered Sikhs in Cold Blood”

File Photo: Former US President Bill Clinton with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
File Photo: Former US President Bill Clinton with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

In the introduction to former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s book, The Mighty and the Almighty, former U.S. President Bill Clinton writes that “Hindu militants” are responsible for the massacre of 38 Sikhs at Chithisinghpora in March 2000.

During my visit to India in 2000, some Hindu militants decided to vent their outrage by murdering thirty-eight Sikhs in cold blood. If I hadn’t made the trip, the victims would probably still be alive. If I hadn’t made the trip because I feared what religious extremists might do, I couldn’t have done my job as president of the United States. The nature of America is such that many people define themselves—or a part of themselves—in relation to it, for or against. This is part of the reality in which our leaders must operate.

This statement by President Clinton reflects previous findings by the Punjab Human Rights Organization, the International Human Rights Organization, the Movement Against State Repression, and New York Times reporter Barry Bearak.

The Amnesty International had also released a similar statement –

The attackers wore uniforms of the armed forces and were led by a tall man whom they addressed as Commanding Officer (CO). All Sikh men were rounded up, ostensibly to check their identities, and made to sit on the ground in two groups against the walls of the gurdwaras [Sikh temples] a few hundred metres from each other; they were shot at point blank range. As the attackers withdrew, they reportedly shouted Hindu slogans.”  On August 2, 2002, the Washington Times reported that the Indian government admitted that its forces were responsible for the massacre. India finally admitted that the evidence it used to implicate alleged Kashmiri “militants” in the murders was faked.

A report issued by the Movement Against State Repression (MASR) shows that India admitted that it held 52,268 political prisoners under the repressive “Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act” (TADA) even though it expired in 1995. Many have been in illegal custody since 1984. There has been no list published of those who were acquitted under TADA and those who are still rotting in Indian jails. Additionally, according to Amnesty International, there are tens of thousands of other minorities being held as political prisoners. MASR report quotes the Punjab Civil Magistracy as writing “if we add up the figures of the last few years the number of innocent persons killed would run into lakhs [hundreds of thousands.]”

Editors’ Note: Statement by former President Bill Clinton was later removed from Albright’s book.



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