Sikhs protest over Indian diplomat interference in legislation of US state Connecticut


New York, Nov 13 (TNS):  A Sikh advocacy group has protested to the US State Department against what it called was an attempt by the Indian Consul General in New York to interfere in the state of Connecticut’s legislative process, after it declared Nov 30 as “Sikh Genocide Remembrance Day” to commemorate the killings of thousands of Sikhs in India following the 1984 assassination of then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh body guards.

In a letter addressed to Clifton Seagraves, Director of Foreign Missions at the State Department, the Sikhs for Justice said that Consul General Sandeep Chakravorty has tried to persuade State Senator Catherine Osteen, who sponsored the resolution for the day, to withdraw her support to the move, thus violating the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations forbidding diplomats from interfering in the internal affairs of host country.

The Sikh organization also called for declaring Consul General Chakravorty as “persona Non Grata”.

Earlier this year, Connecticut became the first US state to officially recognize Sikh Genocide Remembrance Day.

In his letter to Senator Osteen, a Democrat, the Indian consul general had accused what he called “fringe/radical elements of the Sikh Community in Connecticut of running a divisive campaign.

In a statement, The Legal Advisor to Sikhs for Justice, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, said, “the allegations of ‘radicalism’ and blaming the Sikh community for the November 1984 Sikh Genocide by (Consul General) Chakravorty are not only defamatory but also interferes with the legislative process of the State of Connecticut and infringes upon the constitutional rights of the US citizens to have their legislator reflect their needs and wishes.”