India: Then and Now

Thank you for providing accurate coverage of the elections, or lack of them, in Punjab, India, in the article "Punjab Sends Mixed Message to India's Ruling Party," Feb. 24. However, as Sikhs throughout Punjab consider their successful boycott of elections under the Indian constitution as a clear mandate for independence, the message sent is not "mixed" but crystal clear: The Sikhs want outright independence for Khalistan.

On Oct. 7, 1987, the Sikh nation declared independence from India, forming the separate country of Khalistan. Since 1984, more than 100,000 Sikhs have been killed by Indian government forces.

India, a country with 14 official languages and vastly diverse cultures, is not unlike the former Soviet Union. Clamoring with dissension, India is currently engulfed with movements for independence from Punjab to Kashmir, from Nagaland to Assam. Clearly, the time for freedom on the subcontinent has arrived.

Despite attempts by Indian police to force Sikhs to vote under the threat of retaliation, Sikhs persevered in making the boycott virtually complete. The Indian government holds no legitimacy among the Sikhs. The Sikh nation has delivered to the Indian government a clear mandate for Khalistan. Dr. Gurmit Singh Aulakh, Washington , President, Council of Khalistan

I am shocked at the inconsistencies in the article "Dishing It Out: India's Battle of the Airwaves," Feb. 24.

For instance, while talking about the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984, the authors state, "The news of the event and her death went unreported because no one dared broadcast such important news without her approval." I wonder how they came to such a conclusion. There is a more logical reason why the news was delayed.

Once before, Indian TV (Doordarshan) blundered by reporting the death of the veteran Indian freedom fighter Jayaprakash Narayan when he was only hospitalized in serious condition.

The conditions under which Mrs. Gandhi was assassinated were very explosive. The late prime minister was assassinated by her Sikh body guards. This news would trigger communal violence between the Hindu majority and the Sikh minority, which would be difficult to control with no proper leadership at the center.

Eventually, when the news was released, there were communal riots in New Delhi and other parts of India resulting in many deaths. This is why the news media had to show restraint before breaking the news. Sudheer Marisetti, Tinton Falls, N.J. Embracing Iran?

In the Opinion page article "Iran Through a Distorted Lens," March 2, the author bemoans that Iran's "role in gaining release of US hostages" is forgotten.

While acknowledging that this act was in Iran's own self-interest, she fails to mention that there is little doubt that Iran was behind the taking of many of the hostages in the first place.

She also completely ignores the unlawful taking (and holding for months) of scores of American hostages at the United States Embassy in Tehran during the Carter presidency. Willam Roberts Laguna Beach, Calif.

The author insists that we must not become paranoid if Iran shops the world for weapons and continues to support terror groups. Iran has also recently issued a postage stamp depicting a child throwing a rock through a window inscribed with the Star of David.

If we follow the naive thoughts of the author it is plain that we have (again) not learned from history. Richard Voss, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.

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