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Clinton admits India visit spurred Sikh massacre in J&K

Clinton admits India visit spurred Sikh massacre in J&K

C. K. Arora
Rediff On The Net
April 15, 2000
Title: Clinton admits India visit spurred Sikh massacre in J&K
Author: C. K. Arora
Publication: Rediff On The Net
Date: April 15, 2000
United States President Bill Clinton has openly acknowledged that his visit to India and Pakistan last month was the driving force for the massacre of 35 "perfectly innocent" Sikhs in Village Chatti Singhpora in Kashmir.

Speaking at a function in Atlanta, Georgia, yesterday, he said, "I'm sure they were murdered because I was there. Those people lost their lives because I went to India and to Pakistan."

According to police, separatist extremists killed at least 35 people in Chatti Singhpora on March 20 as Clinton began his weeklong tour of the country, the first by a serving American president in 22 years.

The police have blamed two Pakistan-based terrorist groups for the massacre. The terrorists and Pakistan's government have denied involvement.

President Clinton made a reference to the Chatti Singhpora massacre after he spotted some Sikhs at the Atlanta function. "I see these Sikhs here, I thank them for coming here," he added.

"The most heartbreaking thing that happened on my trip to the Indian subcontinent," he continued, "is that about 40 Sikhs were murdered in Kashmir."

Clinton said, "People who don't want their turmoil to be eased used my trip there as a pretext to highlight the difficulties. And somebody, we don't know who, killed 40 perfectly innocent people -- who, I might add, had never before been targeted in all the conflicts in Kashmir."

He said the situation in Kashmir was interesting from an American's point of view because Indian Americans and Pakistani Americans, of the 200 ethnic groups that exist in America today, both rank in the top ten in per capita income and education.

"Obviously, if the difficulties over Kashmir could be resolved, people from South Asia would explode. There is literally no limit to the potential of the life that could be had there," he added.

"But they are sort of kept back from the modern world by this ancient tension -- or at least the tension that grew out of the founding of the nations of India and Pakistan."  (UNI)

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