Thursday, November 28, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Mann seeks Pak help for Sikhs in India
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 27
In a letter dated October 30, 2002, written to Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner Jalil Abbas Jilani, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP, has made insinuations that Sikhs in India were not being allowed to practise their faith and has sought his help “formally and informally in speaking to our rulers in allowing us Sikhs to practise our faith.” A copy of the letter was made available to The Tribune by a Pakistani source here today. It shows that Mr Mann has kept Mr Jilani abreast of his recent efforts with the Government of India regarding the Sikh jatha’s visit to Nankana Sahib in Pakistan on Guru Nanak Dev’s birth anniversary.

Mr Mann has also stated that “Sikhs who are neither Hindus nor Muslims, can act as bridges between these two (India and Pakistan) historically embittered civilisations.”

Well-placed sources in the Vajpayee government expressed a sense of outrage over Mr Mann’s letter to a diplomat of a hostile country, more so because Mr Mann is a Member of the Consultative Committee of the Ministry of External Affairs and also considering that Mr Mann is a Member of Parliament who is oath-bound to bear faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India.

Each MP has to make the following oath or affirmation: “I... having been elected (or nominated) a member of the Council of States (or the House of People) do swear in the name of God that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established, that I will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India and that I will faithfully discharge the duty upon which I am about to enter.”

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