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LONDON, Jan 27: In a significant development, a broad-based coalition of leading Sikh organisations, based in the Indian state of Punjab as well as representing the worldwide diaspora, has formally asked India to remove all its nuclear weapons and facilities from the ‘Sikh homeland’ and called upon both India and Pakistan to undertake not to target the territory in case of war.A delegation of leading UK-based Sikhs delivered a document setting out their demands to the Indian and Pakistani high commissions in London. It was also delivered to the UN Security Council via the French Embassy, with France currently holding the presidency of that body.

The Sikhs are looking for the UN to intervene on their behalf if the two governments fail to act on their demands. The demands have also been passed to UN’s human rights bodies in Geneva which have been asked to warn the two states against carrying out any crime against humanity in the ‘Sikh Homeland’.

The Sikhs maintain that they are not a party to the Indo-Pak dispute and, as non-combatants in the event of a war between the nuclear rivals, their population centre and homeland should not face what military experts have said is the likely outcome - a theatre of war in Punjab which becomes a nuclear conflict causing horrific casualties on a massive scale.

They say that since 1947 their nation has not had its sovereign rights respected and has been denied the right of self-determination under international law and it is now effectively unable to defend its people and territory from outside attack.