The White House on Friday refused to comment on a petition seeking support for Khalistan and invoked President Barack Obama’s comments during his last year’s trip to New Delhi that India will succeed so long as it is not splintered along religious lines. “While we appreciate your participation on this platform, we cannot comment here on the specific policy issue raised in your petition,” the White House said responding to a separatist Sikh petition which had garnered more than 100,000 signatures.
Responding to a petition created on July 10 by an individual, identified with the initials of GP, within the stipulated 60 days, the White House said the US President Obama has made it a priority to promote and protect religious freedom for all people, both at home and abroad. In an address to the people of India in 2015, Obama had reaffirmed the universal right for those who practice faith to do so as they choose and without fear of persecution, the White House response said, and quoted from his remarks then.
“The peace we seek in the world begins in human hearts. And it finds its glorious expression when we look beyond any differences in religion or tribe, and rejoice in the beauty of every soul. And nowhere is that more important than India,” Obama had said. “Nowhere is it going to be more necessary for that foundational value to be upheld. India will succeed so long as it is not splintered along the lines of religious faith – so long as it’s not splintered along any lines – and is unified as one nation,” Obama said in his address in January, 2015.
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The White House said the US has monitored and publicly reported on human rights issues, including the atrocities committed against members of the Sikh community during the 1984 violence in India. “For example, the State Department’s Official Country Reports on Human Rights Practices covered the violence and its aftermath in considerable detail. We will continue to report on important human rights concerns, and State Department reports are available to the public,” it said.