American Sikh Caucus will focus on domestic civil rights: Bera
Ami Bera, the only Indian-American Congressman in the US house of representatives, has said that the newly-constituted 'American Sikh Congressional Caucus' will deal only with domestic civil rights issue. Bera's revised statement, three days after he publicly announced to join the Caucus, is considered to allay concerns of the Indian government that the newly-made Caucus in the United States carries some individuals and groups, who in the past had indulged in anti-India activities including the separatist Khalistan movement.india Updated: May 10, 2013 19:18 IST
Ami Bera, the only Indian-American Congressman in the US House of representatives, has said that the newly-constituted American Sikh Congressional Caucus will deal only with domestic civil rights issues.
Bera's revised statement, three days after he publicly announced to join the Caucus, is considered to allay concerns of the Indian government that the Caucus carries some individuals and groups, who in the past had indulged in anti-India activities, including the separatist Khalistan movement.
"I'm a proud member of the Congressional Caucus on India, and any matters involving India or US-India relations should and will be handled by that group. The American Sikh Caucus' work will deal with domestic civil rights issues," Bera said in a revised statement on Thursday.
The announcement for the formation of the Caucus was made on April 24 at the Capitol Hill in the office of Congresswoman Judy Chu.
She is the co-chair of the Caucus, along with Congressman David Valadao. So far, more than 30 Congressmen have joined it.
Chu, too, had said at the time of the announcement that the Caucus would focus on domestic issues, despite which there remain concerns among sections of the Indian-American community and also the Indian government, which had expressed its concerns to lawmakers about the presence of pro-Khalistan elements among supporters of the group.
Bera's statement is seen as a move by lawmakers to address those concerns.
"The memory of the tragedy at Oak Creek is still fresh, and in my own community of Elk Grove, two Sikh men were murdered in 2011 in a suspected hate crime. Violence and discrimination against the Sikh American community is a real and important civil rights issue in the US," Bera said.
"That's why I co-sponsored strong anti-hate crimes legislation earlier this year, and that's why I joined the American Sikh Congressional Caucus, to work on civil rights issues here in America," he said.
NCM condemns attack on Sikh outside US gurdwara
New Delhi: Taking a serious note of the "brutal" assault on an 82-year-old Sikh man outside a gurdwara in the US, the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) on Friday sought the intervention of the Prime Minister and the external affairs minister to restore the confidence of Sikhs living abroad.
Ajaib Singh, a member of the NCM, expressed shock over a media report of the suspected hate crime committed against Piara Singh outside a gurdwara in Fresno (California).
He appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and external affairs minister Salman Khurshid to intervene and stated that the sense of security and confidence of Sikhs living in the US and other foreign countries needed to be restored.
"The recent spurt in reports of hate crimes committed against the Sikhs in the US is a matter of grave concern," he was quoted as saying in a release issued by the ministry of minority affairs.