Tri-City Sikhs Recall the Past

June 5, 2006

Source: The Argus

On June 5, 2006 The Argus reported, "Jasdeep Singh couldn't help but laugh at the uproar over the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. 'We would have said that was nothing,' said Singh, who moved to Fremont in 1992, he said, after Indian authorities detained and tortured him three times because he is Sikh. Sikh nationalism, barely a blip on the international radar, was front and center Sunday at the Fremont Gurdwara Sahib, the local Sikh house of worship, where community leaders reaffirmed support for transforming the Indian state of Punjab into a secular Sikh-majority state of Khalistan... For the estimated 150,000 Sikhs living in the Bay Area, Tuesday marks the anniversary of two of the most devastating and seminal events in the history of the 500-year-old faith.

In 1984, with Sikhs pressing for an independent Punjab, where they are a majority, the Indian government invaded the Golden Temple � Sikhism's holiest place � and 36 other religious sites where separatists were hiding, killing thousands. The attack came on the 378th anniversary of the torture and death of a Sikh religious leader. Four months later, when Prime Minister Indira Ghandi was murdered by two of her Sikh bodyguards, rioters murdered thousands more Sikhs, who are easy to identify because the men wore turbans and grow long beards.

The bloodbath and ensuing eight years of repression drove many Sikhs to North America.

Now, 7,500 miles from their ancestral land, leaders of the Fremont gurdwara won't let their brethren forget about what transpired in India."