Mayor Dhaliwal and Congressman Garamendi Lobby PM Modi During California Trip

Mayor Dhaliwal Challenges PM Modi
to Admit 1984 Genocide of Sikhs

On 9/26/15, Indian Prime Minister Modi was welcomed in San Jose by a diverse crowd of invited South Asian guests representing all of the cultures, states and religions of India. While many of the dignitaries seemed content to enjoy the gala and take selfies, Mayor Amarpreet Singh Dhaliwal of the City of San Joaquin, used this opportunity to take a principled stand on behalf of Sikhs worldwide.

Mayor Dhaliwal attended the event and delivered to Indian Deputy Consulate General K.J. Sirinivasa a letter addressed to PM Modi, calling upon the PM “to state the universally recognized truth that the government of India and its agents were responsible for the November 1984 Genocide of Sikhs.” The letter includes a copy of California Assembly Concurrent Resolution 34 (ACR 34, authored by American Sikh PAC) that memorialized the victims of the genocide.  Mayor Dhaliwal stated in the letter that “It is now time for an unambiguous statement from the Prime Minister’s Office acknowledging and denouncing the Indian government’s central role in the genocidal violence against Sikhs in 1984. India’s integrity as a democracy on the world stage depends on it.” The full letter is available at this link.

American Sikh PAC congratulates Mayor Dhaliwal for taking a stand on this issue. His advocacy, combined with the strong statement made worldwide by ACR 34, continues the campaign to keep pressure on PM Modi and his administration regarding the 1984 Genocide of Sikhs. Other Sikh leaders have joined in appreciation of Mayor Dhaliwal’s actions.

Harmeet Kaur Dhillon, vice-chair of the Republican Party of California, praised Mayor Dhaliwal’s actions in seeking justice for the Sikh Genocide, “Government after government ruling India since 1984 has failed to bring the guilty to justice, and failed to take steps to heal the wounds that continue to scar the Sikh psyche worldwide. As Indian Americans celebrate Prime Minister Modi’s visit to California and all that it symbolizes for much-needed change in India, those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. Thanks to courageous action from community leaders like Mayor Dhaliwal, the Sikh community will keep this issue in the forefront until it is satisfactorily resolved, and justice is obtained.”

Darshan Singh Mundy, American Sikh PAC Board Member, was instrumental in working with the California Assembly to pass ACR 34. “It is the duty of all Sikhs to speak out against injustice. The Indian government has a history of crimes against minorities, whether they are Christian, Muslim, Dalit or Sikh. We will not forget the 1984 genocide and we must ensure that such crimes do not happen again.”


Congressman Garamendi Lobbies
PM Modi to Respect Human Rights 

Although many state and federal elected officials met with PM Modi during his most recent trip to the United States, only Congressman John Garamendi (CA 3, Fairfield-Davis-Yuba City) advocated on behalf of those communities that are being persecuted in India. Two weeks prior to his meeting with PM Modi, Congressman Garamendi met with American Sikh PAC representatives to discuss the long history of human rights violations perpetrated by the government of India.

The congressman has a close relationship with the Sikh community and all South Asians, including a large population within his district. After the meeting with PM Modi, Congressman Garamendi posted the following via social media:

“Today I had the opportunity to meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to the Silicon Valley. As a member of Congress and as the Co-Chair of the American Sikh Congressional Caucus, I represent a large Indian American population, including many Sikhs. Many of my constituents are deeply concerned about the treatment of religious and ethnic minorities in India. I am grateful that my position in Congress afforded me the opportunity to bring up these concerns to the leader of the world’s largest democracy.Religious freedom and access to justice are rights we cherish here in America. But these are not just American values. We believe that everyone in the world deserves the same access to these fundamental rights. All of India’s religious and ethnic minorities, including its substantial Sikh population, deserve to practice their religion and customs without government interference as long as human rights and individual conscience are respected. I appreciate that Prime Minister Modi gave me the opportunity to discuss these critical issues. Rest assured that he knows where I stand and that the message of my constituents was heard loud and clear.”  (via facebook)


Mikey Hothi Promoted
to District Director
for Assemb. Cooper (AD9)

Assemblymember Jim Cooper (AD 9, Lodi-Elk Grove-South Sacramento) recently promoted Mikey Hothi to the position of District Director. Mikey has been working for Assemblymember Cooper since he took office in November 2014. Prior to that, he was employed with Senator Richard Pan. “Mikey has been a key member of my team since I was elected to the Assembly last year. He has been doing a fantastic job serving our constituents and I’m glad to have him take over as District Director.”  explained Assemblymember Cooper.

Mikey is also the president of the Young Democrats of Sacramento, a role that is well-respected by local politicians because of the strong record of activism by the organization. Regarding his new position, Mikey said, “I’m honored to be working as District Director for Assemblymember Jim Cooper and thankful to have the support of so many in the Sikh community. This opportunity would not have been possible without them.”  As District Director, Mikey is leading Assemblymember Cooper’s district office and outreach efforts to approximately 470,000 constituents in the 9th Assembly District.

Both Assemblymember Cooper and Mikey worked closely with American Sikh PAC in passing ACR 34, the resolution passed by the California Senate and Assembly stating that the government of India was responsible for the November 1984 Genocide of Sikhs. In his remarks to the Assembly, Cooper stated “Although we cannot change the horror of the events of 1984, as an assemblymember representing families of genocide victims, I felt it was important that we tell the truth about those events and honor the thousands of victims.  Sikhs around the world should know that, here in California, we will always stand against intolerance and will not forget the tragedy of 1984.”


AB 1964 Pays Dividends
As Yuba County Hires Sikh Sheriff

In June 2014, Assemblymember Mariko Yamada (now running for Senate) led the way in enacting AB 1964, prohibiting employers from discriminating against their employees for wearing religiously-mandated clothing or hairstyles.  The legislation was spurred by American Sikh PAC and could not have been passed without the amazing telephone and letter campaign of the California sangat.  Since its passage, a number of turban-wearing Sikhs have been hired by law enforcement agencies.  Most recently, Amandeep Singh was hired by the Yuba County Sheriff.  He had been

applying for positions for over a decade and had even testified in the California Assembly in an effort to change the law. “It brought my morale down, to get rejected over and over again, but I knew it was going to be a long, hard fight,” Singh said. “When I got the phone call saying that I had passed the test and got hired, I was speechless,” Singh said. “I was finally able to start pursuing my dream and the career that I’ve always wanted.”At the bill’s signing ceremony, Governor Brown spoke about the bill, “Sikh Americans are loyal citizens who have been targeted because of widespread ignorance of their religion and culture. The bills I sign today aim to ensure that Californians learn about our Sikh citizens as well as protect all of us from job discrimination based on religious observances,” he said.

The author of the bill, Assemblymember Mariko Yamada has a long history of friendship with American Sikh PAC and the Sikh community of California, “This bill is dedicated to all those who have suffered the indignities of ignorance and discrimination in the workplace because of the tenets of their faith. No longer will it be legal to segregate a worker from public view because their appearance did not fit a corporate image.”

American Sikh PAC Declines Meeting with Indian Consul General of San Francisco

Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh,

We are writing this letter to keep the Sangat informed of recent political developments.

After the California Assembly and Senate passed Assembly Concurrent Resolution 34 (ACR 34, regarding the culpability of the Government of India in the 1984 Genocide of Sikhs), American Sikh PAC was contacted by the Indian Consulate General of San Francisco. The Consul General was interested in discussing ACR 34 and determining our future plans.

We declined the meeting with the Consul General because our demands are non-negotiable. The position of the Sangat has never changed; the Government of India should make the following simple statements describing the truth regarding the events of November 1984:

  1. The Indian government and law enforcement officials organized, participated in, and failed to intervene to prevent the rape, torture and murder of thousands of Sikhs across India in November 1984.
  2. The actions of the Indian government constituted a genocide through intentional murder and intentional destruction of Sikh families, communities, homes, and businesses.
  3. The vast majority of those responsible, including governmental officials and law enforcement, have never been prosecuted for their crimes.

We have made our position clear in the response letter to the Consul General which is shared with the Sangat at www.americansikhpac.us. Once the Government of India accepts the truth, then it will be up to a coalition of Sikh religious organizations, international human rights groups and Sikh community organizations to address prosecution of those responsible, reparation and reconciliation. For now, we will continue our nationwide campaign to make the truth known and place pressure on the Government of India to admit its responsibility for the genocide of Sikhs.

We thank the Sangat for their support in this campaign and encourage you all to keep up the pressure.  It has only been with your efforts that this significant step forward has been possible. With your blessing, we will keep pushing forward regarding the 1984 Genocide and also our efforts to enact local legislation and support American candidates that are beneficial for the Sikh Community.  It is only by fully participating in American civic life that we will achieve our goals here and abroad.

Please share this email with your friends and family.

Thank you to all.  Chardi Kala.

California State Assembly Recognizes Responsibility of the Government of India in the 1984 Genocide of Sikhs

California State Capitol, Sacramento, CA (4/16/15) – In an historic and unprecedented move, the California State Assembly has recognized the responsibility of the Indian government in the rape, torture and murder of thousands of Sikhs across India in November 1984.  Assembly Concurrent Resolution 34 (ACR 34), co-authored by Sacramento area assemblymembers Jim Cooper, Kevin McCarty, Jim Gallagher and Ken Cooley, states “government and law enforcement officials organized, participated in, and failed to intervene to prevent the killings.”  Further, remarks on the floor of the assembly declared that the atrocities were a “genocide” since it “resulted in the intentional destruction of many Sikh families, communities, homes, and businesses.” (highlight video)

American Sikh Political Action Committee (PAC) wrote and sponsored the resolution as a means to memorialize the atrocities committed by the Indian government and to honor the victims.  The PAC has been increasingly active in California politics through fundraising, education and legislative campaigns.  “This resolution is the first time that any nation or government has officially declared that the government of India was responsible for the slaughter of its own Sikh citizens across the country in November 1984,” explained Amar Shergill, attorney and American Sikh PAC board member.  “Indian officials and police officers led the way in the rape, torture and murder of thousands of Sikhs just a few miles from the prime minister’s residence.   Even today, Christians, Muslims, Dalits and Sikhs are at risk.  The time has come for the Indian government to admit its culpability and make a commitment to protect all of India’s minority communities.”

Representing the official position of the citizens of California, the resolution remembers the victims of the genocide and those that fought against it, “Many Sikh lives were saved from the massacre by compassionate Indians of all religious backgrounds who put their own lives at risk by providing shelter to their Sikh friends and neighbors.”  The Assembly welcomed Sikhs from across Northern California, including representation from Sikh Temples in Stockton, Yuba City, Roseville, Sacramento, Fremont and many others.

Assemblymember Jim Cooper spoke from the heart regarding his work on behalf of this issue, “Although we cannot change the horror of the events of 1984, as an assemblymember representing families of genocide victims, I felt it was important that we tell the truth about those events and honor the thousands of victims.  Sikhs around the world should know that, here in California, we will always stand against intolerance and will not forget the tragedy of 1984.”

Dr. Gurpreet Singh Chahal, of Elk Grove, California, survived the genocide and was instrumental in lobbying local leaders, “”I was a young student living with family in New Delhi during the genocide.  I was on my way home from my aunt’s house when the mob saw me.  They pursued me and shouted that they would kill me.  God granted me an escape from that madness and protected my family in the days to come, but others were not so fortunate.  The government, police and army did not protect us and were often leading the genocide.  I am so thankful to God and this country for giving me safety, security and freedom of religion.  Perhaps, one day, the government of India will admit that they are responsible for so much pain, torture and death.”  Also attending the assembly session and officially recognized in the transcript was 1984 Genocide survivor Saran Singh Chawla of Sacramento.

Assemblymember Kristin Olsen supported the resolution, stating “I decry the violence of 1984 that occurred against the Sikh community, remember those that lost their lives and honor the survivors.”  Assemblymember James Gallagher addressed the Assembly, “We remember and recognize the pogrom which claimed the lives of thousands of Sikhs in 1984. The best way to combat evil is to confront it and shine a light upon it. We do this by speaking truth; the light of truth extinguishes the darkness.”

Assemblymember McCarty stated, “During my time as a city councilmember and assemblymember, it has been my honor to represent and work with many of the hardworking Sikhs of Northern California.  We must remember the victims and their families of the anti-Sikh pogroms of 1984.  This resolution sends a clear message that Californians appreciate the contributions of the Sikh community and understand its difficult history.  I am proud to stand with my Sikh brothers and sisters in support of this resolution.”

Darshan Singh Mundy, American Sikh PAC board member and Sacramento Sikh Temple public relations officer, stated, “I am blessed to live in a country which honors freedom of religion and speaks out against human right violations around the world.  Now that the California State Assembly has clearly described the role of the Indian government in leading the anti-Sikh pogroms, we hope that our nation’s congressional representatives will have the courage to do the same.”

California Republican Party Vice Chairman Harmeet Kaur Dhillon worked diligently with Republican legislators and built a consensus to support the resolution.  She spoke about the resolution, “I feel proud as a Sikh American and a resident of California today that legislators from across the political spectrum marked the tragic days of horror for Sikhs worldwide in 1984 with this resolution; this remembrance will help ensure that such horrific crimes against the Sikhs are never repeated, anywhere.”

Mikey Singh Hothi, District Director for Assemblymember Cooper, was instrumental in ensuring that all legislative obstacles were quickly overcome and that ACR 34 received a full and open hearing in the assembly.  Harmeet Kaur Dhillon,.  The American Punjabi Chamber of Commerce assisted in lobbying assemblymembers, as did Ruby Singh Dhaliwal, Mayor of San Joaquin, and Aman Singh Gahoonia of Rocklin.

The video of the entire legislative session is available at this link: California Assembly website.

The full text of the resolution, along with relevant links, is provided here: ACR 34 Resolution. For further information contact Amar Shergill at americansikhpac@gmail.com.

American Sikh PAC is a state-registered political action committee.  The organization encourages Sikhs to take an active role in the public and civic affairs of California.  www.facebook.com/AmericanSikhPAC.

Special thanks to Jagdev Singh Bhandal of Global Punjab TV for broadcasting the event and providing pictures.

Elected Officials and Community Leaders Sign Letter of Solidarity re 1984 Genocide

In a groundbreaking effort, a diverse group of elected officials and community leaders from the Sacramento region has signed a letter of solidarity acknowledging the responsibility of the Indian government in the November 1984 genocide of Sikhs. Signatories include Senator Darrell Steinberg, Asssemblymember Mariko Yamada and Assemblymember Roger Dickinson along with representatives from the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh and Asian Pacific American Communities. The letter is available for review at this link: Letter of Solidarity in Remembrance of the 1984 Sikh Genocide.

This letter comes on the heels of strong work by the American Sikh Committee to Evaluate Congressional Candidates in evaluating congressional candidates across Northern California. Sacramento area congressional representatives Matsui, Garamendi and McNerney acknowledged the Indian government’s role along with many other elected representatives and candidates.  Additional information is available at www.americansikhcommittee.org

American Sikh PAC presents seminar re 1984 Genocide

In what is thought to be the first event of its type, the American Sikh Political Action Committee held an educational seminar regarding the 1984 genocide of Sikhs perpetrated by the Indian government. Attending the seminar was a diverse group of elected officials, religious leaders and community representatives. Among the attendees on 7/16/2014 were Assemblymember Mariko Yamada, Assemblymember Roger Dickinson, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, District Attorney-elect Anne-Marie Schubert and congressional candidate Doug Ose. There were also many other elected officials, including city councilmembers, county supervisors and school board members.

Winty Singh, a civil rights advocate, started the program with a basic introduction to Sikhism. He was followed by Jakara Movement representative, Omar Singh Khunkhun, who discussed political events leading up to the assassination of Indira Gandhi in October 1984. Ensaaf staff member Bachittar Singh, gave detailed information to the attendees regarding the November 1984 genocide.

Former Congressman Doug Ose, and current congressional candidate, told the attendees, “It was clear that what the (Indian) government did was wrong and the fact that nobody was held accountable is inexcusable.”

Assemblymember Mariko Yamada added, “The first step towards reconciliation is acknowledging the facts.”  She also thanked the PAC for organizing the “important & informative seminar”.

Lisa Kaplan, Past-President of the Jewish Federation and a Natomas School Board Member, said “I understand when you talk about genocide. We (the Jewish community) have to continue to educate to make sure we never forget, just like the 1984 pogroms, you must educate so that we don’t forget.”

Basim Elkarra, of the Council of American Islamic Relations, stated “Our communities will work together to make sure that people remember 1984 (Sikh Genocide in Delhi) and remember 2002 (Muslim Genocide in Gujarat) to hold the Indian government accountable.”

Marielle Tsukamoto, the president of the Japanese American Citizens League, explained, “As human beings, on this earth, we have a responsibility beyond our borders and our lifetimes.” She encouraged all attendees to educate others about the 1984 genocide.

“Prior to the seminar, the majority of attendees had very little understanding of the events leading up to and during the 1984 genocide. They all now have the true facts of the horrific events, including objective information regarding the participation of government, law enforcement and political officials,” noted Amar Shergill, Sikh PAC Board Member.

The seminar was hosted by, Amrik Singh, owner of the Holiday Inn Express. Global Punjab TV attended and will be broadcasting highlights to its worldwide viewership. For event photos, see our facebook post. Provided below is a partial list of attendees:

Mariko Yamada Assemblymember
Roger Dickinson Assemblymember, Candidate for Senate
Dave Jones Insurance Commissioner
Anne Marie Schubert District Attorney-elect
Bobbie Singh-Allen Elk Grove School Board Member
Doug Ose Congressional Candidate, Former Congressman
Kevin McCarty Sacramento Councilmember, Candidate for Assembly
Allen Warren Sacramento City Councilmember
Phil Serna Sacramento County Supervisor
Oscar Villegas Yolo County Supervisor
Susan McKee District Director, Senator Darrell Steinberg
Steve Miller Citrus Heights Council Member
Lisa Kaplan Natomas School Board Member, Jewish Federation
Doug Haaland Candidate For Assembly
Jag Bains Candidate for Natomas School Board
Monica M. Miller FBI Special Agent in Charge
Basim Elkarra Council on American Islamic Relations
Fawzia Keval Council on American Islamic Relations
Wazhma Mojaddidi Council on American Islamic Relations
Andy Noguchi Japanese American Citizens League
Marielle Tsukamoto Japanese American Citizens League
Jane Okubo Japanese American Citizens League
Jon Fish Sacramento Interfaith Council
Carol Velarde Jewish Community Relations Council
Diana Rude Jewish Community Relations Council
Ryan Pessah Jewish Community Relations Council
Linda Ng Organization of Chinese Americans
Tom Bhe Asian & Pacific Islanders American Public Affairs Assoc.
Honey Lum Chinese American Council of Sacramento
Alex Eng Chinese American Council of Sacramento
Joyce Eng Chinese American Council of Sacramento
Norm DeYoung Filipino American Community