WASHINGTON (TIP): The newly formed American Sikh Congressional Caucus, which is under a cloud over alleged backing from some pro- Khalistan elements, got a shot in the arm as Ami Bera, the only Indian American in US Congress, signed up for the caucus. The caucus, which was inaugurated on April 24, aims to tackle problems faced by the community such as hate crimes, school bullying, and discrimination in enlisting due to a ban on turban.
Bera, a California Democrat whose family came from Gujarat, was being claimed by both sides, especially after his name was not there on the list of members announced at the launch. The pro-Sikh caucus group claimed that he was one of the 30 lawmakers who had signed up. The other side, including Indian officials, were confident he hadn’t. Bera’s family came here from Gujarat, and, was seen as a deal in the bag by those who had pointed out the Khalistan connection of some of the prime backers of the caucus. But he clearly wasn’t.
“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 probable hate crime,” Bera said in a statement to media. “Violence and discrimination against the Sikh American community is a real and important civil rights issue in the US. That’s why I co-sponsored strong anti-hate crimes legislation earlier this year and joined the American Sikh Congressional Caucus,” he said.
That’s pretty much in line with the stated objectives of the caucus, as laid out by its co-founders representatives Judy Chu and David Valadao at its launch.