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Archive for category SIKH RIGHTS & FREEDOMS

MPs to demand answers from Boris Johnson on torture by Indian police of 30-year old Scot that has the potential to re-set UK-India relations

MPs to demand answers from Boris Johnson on torture by Indian police of 30-year old Scot that has the potential to re-set UK-India relations

London – 19 November 2017

#FreeJaggi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mistreatment and torture by the Indian authorities of 30-year old Scot, Jagtar Singh Johal from Dumbarton is likely to cause a major headache for Boris Johnson and the UK Government this week.

Jagtar abducted by the Indian police more than two weeks ago on 4 November remains in police custody without charge and has alleged third-degree torture.  Remarkably, First Information Report (FIR) 193 that was used to make the initial arrest and now FIR 218 used by Ludhiana police both fail to name Jagtar.

The #FreeJaggi Now campaign within a week has gone global with Sikhs throughout the diaspora raising concerns and gaining support from leading politicians and personalities in the UK, Canada and opposition politicians in Punjab.

Ruling politicians and senior police officers in Punjab under pressure to address unresolved crimes have opted for media hype to try and declare Jagtar guilty by making wild accusations linking him to crimes without producing any evidence that would stand up in court.

On Tuesday Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary will be answering questions for one hour in the House of Commons.  Over 200 MPs have been approached by constituents so he is expected to get a rough ride and will need answers to satisfy their concerns.

Bhai Narinderjit Singh, the General Secretary of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:

“Following the letter writing to MPs last week we have organised a mass lobby in Parliament for Tuesday and constituents will be demanding answers from their MPs on actions taken by the Foreign Office.  They will want to know how much pressure has been put on India to assist in securing the release of the British national.”

“Specifically what steps have been taken to ensure Jagtar has had free access to discuss his situation with British High Commission staff without the presence of police officers that have been responsible for his torture.”

“Given the allegations of third-degree torture that the Foreign Office has stated it takes very seriously MPs will also want to know what efforts have been made by the British authorities to secure an independent medical examination to confirm the severity of his torture.”

“Unless Jagtar is immediately returned to the UK we will ensure this becomes a watershed case that will call into question the entire relationship of Britain with India going forward.  Both countries have much to lose as we will make sure MPs on all sides expose the atrocities in India..”   

It is widely known that for far too long Britain’s chequered colonial past in the Indian sub-continent and trade between Britain and India has been knowingly used by the Indian authorities to avoid virtually all public criticism by the UK Government of widespread human rights violations targeting minorities in India.  

When it comes to India, Britain must strike the right balance between promoting British trade and other interests abroad and human rights.  This case is too close to home and high profile that it may break the camel’s back unless India can be persuaded to immediately return Jagtar to the UK and allow the UK authorities to investigate if any crime has been committed.

The twists and turns in the last 72 hours in India against a law-abiding British citizen beggar believe for those closely observing the situation and complicated what Boris Johnson will have to say.

On Friday afternoon the decision to take Jagtar out of police custody and enter judicial custody until 30 November came as a huge sigh of relief for his family, lawyers, Sikhs across the globe and the UK authorities. 

Many knew judicial custody would bring an end to his physical torture at the hands of the police, although the mental torture of being held in prison without charge would continue along with trial by media statements preventing any possibility of a fair trial.

However, the relief was short-lived as a further twist came on Friday evening when the police visited a magistrate at home in a different district and persuaded him to allow them to keep Jagtar in police custody for a further two days by introducing an additional case. 

This morning to Jagtar’s dismay the police custody was extended by another five days.  The threat of brutal police torture, therefore, remains high and hanging over Jagtar’s head.

There are concerns that the police will continue to extend remand and add false and previously decided additional cases that make no sense to prolong Jagtar’s detention.

For the first ten days, Jagtar had no access to his lawyers, his family or a representative from the British High Commission.  As soon as he met his lawyer he gave details of how his legs were forcibly stretched beyond limits and electric shocks had been applied to his nipples, ears and private parts.

On Friday Jagtar Singh was not allowed by the police to have the business cards for his lawyers and the British High Commission as they clearly had other plans for him.  Today the police objected to his lawyer having access for one hour a day to meet Jagtar, although thankfully the magistrate dismissed the police objections given the high profile nature of this case.   

On Tuesday Boris Johnson cannot afford another botched case like Zaghari-Radcliffe and will need to have something positive to say regarding the return of Jagtar to the UK.

 
 

Gurjeet Singh
National Press Secretary
Sikh Federation (UK)

 
www.sikhfeduk.com |sikhfederationuk@yahoo.co.uk | facebook.com/Sikh Federation UK | twitter @Sikhfeduk

 

 

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Statement: Conviction of Ram Rahim and the violence that has followed by Gurjeet Singh

Statement: Conviction of Ram Rahim and the violence that has followed

London – 25 August 2017
Ram Rahim a controversial self-styled “godman” who has been at loggerheads with the Sikh community for many years for causing serious offence has been convicted for rape.  He has been accused of forcing followers to undergo castration to “get closer to god”.
Despite the army being employed and using teargas and water cannon dozens have killed and hundreds injured within hours of the guilty verdict.  The media in particular has been targeted by Ram Rahim’s followers and thousands have been arrested.
Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:
“He has brought shame not only on his cult, but on the entire Indian political establishment who have for the last 15 years turned a blind eye to countless accusations of murder, intimidation and rape and sought his support in elections.”
“Only in India can people murder and carry out arson attacks in support of a rapist without any firm action being taken against them.”  
Further unrest can be expected when Ram Rahim is sentenced on Monday.
 
Gurjeet Singh
National Press Secretary
Sikh Federation (UK)

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A Sikh Man Was Harassed In Pakistan And What Happened Next Was Totally Unexpected! by parhlo.com

 

According to the West, Pakistanis are one of the most intolerant people in the world. That on the back of labeling Islam as a religion of fury instead of peace. As it is, the Pakistani diaspora that resides in different parts of the world is harassed due to their religion and color.

Have you ever wondered, what would happen if a non-Muslim was harassed on the streets of Pakistan? If he looked different, if his beliefs were different and if he didn’t sport the common Pakistani’s attire? Well, one social experiment conducted by a few Pakistanis will shed light on all these questions.

Source: logicalpakistani

Waqas Shah, Ahsan and their Sikh friend Jesse stepped up to see what would happen if a Sikh man was harassed in public. How would the common Pakistanis react if somebody was harassing a non-Muslim in front of them, would people react? Would they come to help? Would they join in on the hate or would they ignore?

Shockingly, the way these random strangers reacted to protect Jesse is something straight out of a fairy tale. No matter how the world looks at Pakistan and its people, this video showcases the true spirit of the country and its people. Random strangers, in all the different shots of the video, gathered to protect their Sikh brother from the racial hate.

The social experiment documented how Pakistanis involved themselves in somebody else’s business, for the better, to protect them and prove to the world that the white color on Pakistan’s flag which showcases the minorities will forever be upheld by the common man. One man was angered by the incident that he literally slapped Waqas, the guy acting in the experiment.

Source: logicalpakistani

The guys conducting the social experiment wanted to document the real face of Pakistan, which the media does not portray to the world. They kept saying mean and hurtful things to Jesse the Sikh, who in return would tell them he’s Pakistani but they kept asking him to move back to his country or Pakistan was only for Muslims.

The video concludes on a strong message: “This is Pakistan. If somebody is a non-Muslim, Pathan, Hindu, or anything else, we are all brothers. It doesn’t matter if they are Sindhi, Balochi or anyone else. We take them as brothers from our hearts and souls, no matter where they come from. Pakistan Zindabad!”

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Holy well: ‘Water held sacred by Sikhs to be exported’

ETPB chairman says arrangements are being made to print Guru Garanth Sahib in the country. PHOTO: REUTERS

ETPB chairman says arrangements are being made to print Guru Granth Sahib in the country. PHOTO: REUTERS

LAHORE: Preparations were underway to start export of Amrit Jal – water from a well in Nankana Sahib held sacred by the Sikh community, Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Chairman Siddiqul Farooq told the APP on Sunday.

He said the ETPB was also making arrangements for printing Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of the community, in the country.

Farooq said the first initiative he had taken as the board chairman was to restore the Be Be Nanki well in Nankana Sahib. He said the board would soon start bottling and exporting water from the holy well.

 

Farooq said the decision to print the Guru Granth Sahib had been taken to facilitate Sikh yatrees visiting the country from abroad. He said they would no longer need to bring the book with them.

He said yatrees had to pass various checkpoints set up for security reasons at their arrival in the country and during travel inside the country. “There is a possibility that the holy book may get desecrated during the journey,” he said. He said that with the printing and availability of the book at gurdwaras and other holy sites the community would not need to carry it during the journey. Assistance would be sought from the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), India, and the Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee for printing, he said.

The ETPB chairman said the number of pilgrims from foreign countries on Sikh and Hindu religious occasions was increasing every year. The ETPB had decided to register travel agents to facilitate these visitors.

Farooq said the ETPB had undertaken several initiatives to promote infrastructure at religious sites of minority communities. He said construction of a residential complex and installation of a water treatment plant was underway at the Katas Raj temple. He said work on the two projects would be completed before the arrival of Hindu pilgrims in November.

Thousands of Sikhs converge at Panja Sahib

Farooq said renovation work had been started at all gurdwaras and mandirs in the country. He said the board was installing a turbine at Gurdwara Punja Sahib, Hassan Abdal, to generate electricity from water.

He said these guards would receive training from police officers.

The ETPB chairman said the board was considering a proposal to construct a multi-storey plaza on a property it owned in a prime commercial zone in Lahore.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 12th, 2016.

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ENCOURAGING FEEDBACK ON SIKH FEDERATION (UK) ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING by Sardar Gurjeet Singh, National Press Secretary, Sikh Federation (UK)

ENCOURAGING FEEDBACK ON SIKH FEDERATION (UK) ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

London – 20 March 2017

In the third week of September every year, the Sikh Federation (UK) holds its’ annual National Sikh Convention.  The origins of the Convention can be traced back to 1984 and for many years the convention has been continuously held at Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Sedgley Street in Wolverhampton.
The Convention has organised in the same month that mainstream political parties hold their annual party conferences.  As the Sikh Federation (UK) is popularly described as the first and only Sikh political party in the UK this Convention is deemed by many politicians from across the political spectrum as the annual party conference for British Sikhs.
The September Convention where the mainstream media has often reported over 10,000 Sikhs take part provides an opportunity to look back at achievements and progress during the year and set out the future strategy of the organization.  Politicians and representatives of other Sikh organizations in the UK and other parts of the globe often speak at the Convention.     
Yesterday the Sikh Federation (UK) held its first ever Annual General Meeting (AGM) with around 150 delegates and supporters from 8 of the 12 regions in the UK and around 20 towns and cities.  It was timed to coincide with the first anniversary of the Sikh Federation (UK) successful legal challenge to have the ban lifted on the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) as well as the Sikh New Year. 
Judging by the response and feedback to the four hour AGM it is set to become a permanent feature in the calendar on the third week of March each year for Sikh Federation (UK) branches, members, and supporters.   Those that sent apologies or were unable to be present will no doubt want to attend next year when they hear about the AGM from other delegates or watch highlights of the AGM on KTV (Sky 858).  
The AGM provided as an opportunity to share with delegates in confidence the direction of travel and plans for the organization in a number of areas, listen to messages from those in Punjab with political links with the Sikh Federation (UK) and have an interactive question and answer session.
Bhai Amrik Singh, Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:
“We have had fantastic feedback about our first AGM.  This will be a permanent event in our calendar in the third week of March each year.  As word gets out we are convinced we will have more delegates next year and Sikhs from more regions, towns and cities across the UK will want to take part.  Sharing information not in the public domain with our members and interaction through the question and answer session will be developed to make the AGM even more rewarding.”
Delegates were told forcing the UK Government through legal action to lift the ban on the ISYF in the UK almost a year to the day and lift all restrictions on the ISYF in Europe in April 2016 given the pressure from the Indian authorities had been a huge achievement by the Sikh Federation (UK).  Since this all happen after the infamous Modi visit to the UK in November 2015 the Indian authorities regarded this as a major victory for the Sikh independence movement. 
Those present were told the leading role of the Sikh Federation (UK) in pushing for an independent inquiry regarding UK involvement in the events in 1984 and what followed with the help of a researcher and KRW Law has substantially raised the political stakes and worldwide profile of Sikh Federation (UK) activities.    Further legal action and publicity are inevitable and the current UK Government are increasingly realizing this issue will simply not go away.
Progress was provided on other issues in the Sikh Manifesto, such as a separate ethnic tick box in the Census 2021 and related matters, such as the Sikh Federation (UK) challenge of the hate crime action plan where we have established Sikhs were deliberately snubbed by specific references to Sikhs being taken out by Number 10.  We are now also aware the Prime Minister’s annual race audit she announced in August 2016 is expected to highlight a major data gap in central government as they are not collecting any information on Sikhs, although Sikhs are legally recognized as a race.
A number of Sikh Network representatives were present to talk about the impact of the findings of the UK Sikh Survey on different parts of government.   Other issues in the Sikh Manifesto such as a site in central London for a permanent monument to recognize Sikh sacrifices in the First World War and a Code of Practice on the 5Ks and dastar were touched upon. 
Delegates were told about the work of the Your Seva charity and the exciting opportunities offered by KTV (Sky 858) in providing an opportunity to regularly raise awareness on issues and the work of the Sikh Federation (UK), Sikh Network and Your Seva.
Video messages were recorded and provided specifically for the Sikh Federation (UK) AGM from contacts in Punjab.  These included Harpal Singh Cheema, President of the Dal Khalsa and its former President Harcharanjit Singh Dhami.  Sikh youth leader Bhai Mandhir Singh spoke specifically about the Khalistan situation and the leading role that can be played by Sikhs in the diaspora.  Advocate Jaspal Singh Manjhpur gave an overview of the situation of all Sikh political prisoners. He has been co-ordinating the legal campaign and made clear that virtually all temporary releases to date have been secured through unrelenting legal action.  Clarification was given that the various assurances made by Modi almost 18 months ago after the infamous meeting with Sikhs in the UK in November 2015 have proved to be empty promises. 
Bhai Harjinder Singh the son of former Akal Takht Jathedar and Sikh revolutionary leader Shaheed Baba Gurbachan Singh Manochahal, the founder of the Bhindranwale Tigers Force of Khalistan made a special appearance and was presented with a siropa and seva by the Sikh Federation (UK) leadership.
 
Gurjeet Singh
National Press Secretary
Sikh Federation (UK)
 For more information
 

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