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INDIAN GOVERNMENT BARS VIEWING OF BURNING PUNJAB -- HON. DAN BURTON (Extensions of Remarks - October 02, 2001) [Page: E1780] GPO's PDF --- HON. DAN BURTON OF INDIANA IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Tuesday, October 2, 2001 Mr. BURTON of Indiana. Mr. Speaker, for quite a while, people interested in South Asian issues have had a valuable resource in the website Burning Punjab, located at http://www.burningpunjab.com. This website has reported many stories about the Indian government's tyranny against Sikhs and other minorities. Now the Indian government has banned the viewing of Burning Punjab in the northwest part of India , where Punjab, the Sikh homeland, is. Punjab, of course, declared its independence on October 7, 1987, calling itself Khalistan. The website has been blocked in Punjab and in the state of Haryana, which has a substantial Sikh population, and Delhi. Suppressing information is not the way that democratic countries do things.

This ban shows that India is a deficient democracy. It has about as much freedom of the press as Communist China. Burning Punjab was founded on September 15, 1997. On March 29, 2000, the site's founder, Sukhbir Singh Osan, was reportedly threatened with murder, apparently by the Indian government. Are these the acts of a democracy? The massive human-rights violations of the Indian government have been well documented. Over 250,000 Sikhs, more than 200,000 Christians, over 75,000 Kashmiri Muslims, and tens of thousands of Dalits and other minorities have been killed by the government. It holds over 52,000 Sikhs and tens of thousands of others as political prisoners with no charges and no trial. Some have been in custody for 17 years. There have been rapes of nuns, murders of priests, the burning death of a Christian missionary, attacks on Christian prayer halls, schools, and churches, on mosques, on the Golden Temple. A group of Indian soldiers were caught trying to burn down a Gurdwara (a Sikh temple) but were stopped by villagers. Why does a country like that receive U.S. aid? Do we support them so they can suppress the information their citizens need? Do we support them so they can maintain bloody repression against the minorities within their borders? We should stop all aid to India until basic human rights like the free flow of information are allowed for all citizens. Furthermore, we should put this Congress on record in support of self-determination for the people of Khalistan, Kashmir, Nagaland, and the 14 other countries seeking their freedom from India . This should take the form of an internationally-monitored, free and fair plebiscite on the question of independence. That is the democratic way and the way of major world powers. We owe it to the principles that gave birth to America to take these measures to promote the principles of freedom in South Asia and around the world. Mr. Speaker, I would like to place the article on the banning of Burning Punjab into the RECORD at this time. [From Burning Punjab News, Sept. 23, 2001] VIEWING WEB SITE ``BURNING PUNJAB'' BANNED IN NORTH INDIA NEW DELHI Here it is pertinent to mention that web site `Burning Punjab' was launched on September 15, 1997 by a Chandigarh based journalist and lawyer, Sukhbir Singh Osan. The staff and manager of the site were threatened number of time by the Indian Police. On 29 March 2000, France based organization Reporters sans Frontier's (RSF) also objected to various restrictions imposed by the Indian Government on the staff and manager of the web site `Burning Punjab' RSF General Secretary Robert Menard issued a letter to the Indian authorities opposing unwarranted `censorship'. It's worth mentioning that `Burning Punjab'--www.burningpunjab.com is an endeavor of IHRF. International Human Rights Forum (IHRF) is engaged in propagating the cause of Human Rights worldwide. Organization is taking special care for the welfare of state victims and is lending a helping hand to hapless and helpless to mitigate their sufferings. The activities of the IHRF have been appreciated by one and all irrespective of politico-religious affiliations. During the cult of violence in Punjab, Kashmir, Delhi, Assam, Bengal and elsewhere, the IHRF played a significant role in exposing inhuman barbaric treatment and excesses committed by the State against the innocent law abiding citizens. About web site Burning Punjab: Burning Punjab is Punjab's first ever media site on Sikh Holocaust. It deals with the situation in East Punjab. Site contains news views, [Page: E1781] GPO's PDF political scenario, human rights values and holocaust of Sikhs. Sukhbir Singh Osan has created site. S.S.Osan is a Law Graduate from Punjab University, Chandigarh. He is a prolific writer and a born journalist. The International Human Rights Forum is operating this site.