‘US made U-Turn on Kashmiris, Sikhs’

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Srinagar: Top Sikh leader and chairman of an Akali Dal faction, Simranjeet Singh Mann, on Saturday said that the US had taken a U-turn on its stand over Kashmiris and Sikhs “as it gave primacy to its own interests rather than uphold human principles.”
A former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer who reigned from a top position during the Sikh insurgency in the Punjab, Mann advocated solving the Kashmir issue in accordance with the resolutions of the UN security council, demanding the pre-53 constitutional position for the state prior to a final settlement.
“There can be no two opinions about Kashmir being a dispute as accepted by the United Nations,”the Sikh leader said in a conversation with the KNS.
“The Kashmir issue will be solved only when the people of Kashmir put their stamp of approval on any particular proposal,” he said.
“The central government’s economic packages will not solve the issue,” he added.
“The human rights situation in Kashmir is unsatisfactory. People are still being subjected to oppressive and inhuman tactics to crush the freedom movement here,” he said.
“The Kashmir movement is indigenous, with no involvement of Pakistan, which is facing a serious situation due to internal crises and the presence of US troops in Afghanistan,” he said.
Referring to the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton’s Indian visit, Mann regretted that the American leader had made no mention of Sikhs and Kashmiris during her stay in the country.
“Actually, the US has made a U-turn in its policy on Kashmiris and Sikhs, as it has preferred its own interests over the principles of humanity,” he said.
“The Sikhs in the Punjab and the Muslims in Kashmir are being subjected to all kinds of injustice, and regrettably the US has maintained a studied silence,” he said.
“Increasing US interference in South Asia is highly dangerous for the entire region,” he said.
“The Sikh community of Kashmir is far more loyal to its Muslim brethren than leaders like Farooq Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad,” he said, pointing out that members of his faith had not migrated from the valley even during the turmoil of the past two decades.
“They have suffered hardships and difficulties shoulder-to-shoulder with their Muslim brothers,” he said.
Mann regretted that there was no Sikh representation in the state’s council of ministers, accusing the government of neglecting the community.
“The governor of the state should have been a Sikh to vindicate the state’s claims of being secular,” he said.

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