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Archive for category SIKH RIGHTS & FREEDOMS

India’s ban on Sikhs for Justice shows it has no respect for freedom of expression and the basic right to self-determination

 

London – 11 July 2019

The decision earlier this week by the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs to ban Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) from operating in India shows India’s total disrespect for basic human rights and its desire and desperation to silence the Sikh Diaspora.

SFJ is a human rights advocacy group based in North America that has been highlighting human rights violations and the 1984 Sikh Genocide by the Indian state for the last 12 years and has in the last five years been underlining the right to self-determination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sikhs for Justice

Sikhs for Justice

 

During the 1984 Sikh Genocide and in the decade that followed the Indian State perpetrated what can only be termed crimes against humanity.  Following the 1984 Sikh Genocide, the rape, torture, disappearances, fake encounters and extra-judicial killings of Sikhs was nothing short of Indian State terrorism.

Not content with its gross violation of human rights for over a decade the Indian authorities turned its attention by killing human rights activists in Punjab like Jaswant Singh Khalra.  He was eliminated by Indian police as he highlighted to the global community 25,000 Sikh disappearances, including unidentified bodies and illegal cremations.

The “Sacrificing Sikhs” report published in November 2017 based on around half of the UK Governments own official papers released after 30 years provides evidence the Indian State was active in the 1980s to try and silence the British Sikh voice of opposition and calls for Sikh independence that followed the 1984 Sikh Genocide. 

There is little doubt the Indian state would have tried to do the same with other foreign governments like Canada and the USA to varying degrees of success that no one has yet uncovered to the extent as in the UK.  The Sikh Federation (UK) has also in recent years become aware of some of India’s anti-Sikh activities in countries like Germany and Switzerland to try and silence Sikh opposition.  

UK politicians have confirmed in 2001 the Indian government pressured the UK Government to ban the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF). The ISYF was the main Sikh organisation operating in the Sikh Diaspora highlighting human rights violations by the Indian State and advocating for an independent Sikh State.  The 9/11 act of terrorism was misused by India for its own purposes to push for worldwide restrictions on the ISYF and bans in India (December 2001) and Canada (June 2003).     

In the UK Sikhs have successfully lobbied and used the legal process to have the ban on the ISYF lifted in March 2016 and two months later to have all restrictions lifted on the ISYF across Europe.  There has been recent talk that Sikhs in Canada may be legally challenging the Canadian government to justify the continued ban on the ISYF.

The US Administration has stood up to the Indian government and never banned any Sikh organisation, but the authorities have been pressured to act against individual Sikh nationalists.  What is abundantly clear is the Indian government has been constantly complaining to foreign governments for up to 40 years about Sikhs in the Diaspora raising human rights violations in India and pressuring them not to engage with Sikh organisations and individuals advocating for the right to self-determination.  Instead, the Indian authorities have increasingly pushed with foreign governments Sikh groups, businessmen and individuals that are totally silent on criticism of India or who are pro-Indian as Sikh representatives with whom they should engage.

The Indian authorities are increasingly worried about the inroads being made by Sikhs in the Diaspora into the highest levels of the political arena in countries like Canada and the UK.  They are struggling to understand many of the Sikh politicians have been born in Canada or the UK or lived most of their lives there and are duty bound to respect human rights and act as champions for the minority Sikh community.   

As shown with Canada India has gone to extreme lengths in the last 18 months to discredit the current Canadian Prime Minister and exert pressure on the Canadian government to act against individual Sikh activists with a no-fly policy or try and demonise the entire Sikh community through official reports.  With federal elections taking place in Canada in October 2019 the Indian authorities are unashamedly approaching the opposition Conservative Party to change their position on freedom of expression and those campaigning for Sikh self-determination.

Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:

“We want to make clear the Indian authorities will never be able to silence the Sikh Diaspora from highlighting human rights violations and our right to self-determination.” 

“Banning Sikhs for Justice in India where it does not exist, pressuring foreign governments to take actions against Sikh nationalists and interfering in the Canadian federal elections are signs of desperation by the Indian regime.”

“Sikhs in the Diaspora are increasingly politically active and media savvy and foreign politicians will find it more and more difficult to appease the Indian authorities at the expense of their own Sikh citizens.”

“In the long run, India’s actions will backfire as foreign governments will eventually realise they have more to gain from a large independent Sikh State in the Indian sub-continent than from bowing to the blackmail of the Indian authorities.”

 

 

Gurjeet Singh
National Press Secretary
Sikh Federation (UK)

 

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

 

Note 1:

 

The Sikh Federation (UK) is by far the largest, most prominent and influential campaigning Sikh organisation in the UK that leads to political engagement for the British Sikh community.  The organisation is often referred to as the first and only Sikh political party.  The Sikh community in the UK and throughout the diaspora look to the organisation for leadership and direction.

 

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Sikh businesses commit to provide massive £500m injection into Pakistan Gurdwaras as Imran Khan led government make positive overtures to UK Sikhs

Sikh businesses commit to providing massive £500m injection into Pakistan Gurdwaras as Imran Khan led the government to make positive overtures to UK Sikhs

London – 10 June 2019

Sayed Zulfiqar Bukhari the Chairman of the Pakistan Tourism Board and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan met Sikh community representatives at The Rembrandt Hotel in London on 10 June 2019.  The meeting was to discuss religious tourism projects in Pakistan following the historic laying of foundation stones for the Kartarpur Corridor on either side of the border in November 2018.

 

 

 

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Pakistan also announces wide arrangement for the celebration of Gurpurab

Around 100,000 Sikhs from Canada, US, Malaysia and other countries also want to visit Pakistan. Photo:tribune.com.pk

In Lahore, the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) and the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) decided this year to grant visas to 10,000 Sikhs from India to participate in the 550th birthday celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak. Pakistani officials have given a green signal to Shiromani committee, the largest representatives of Sikhs, and other small groups to take part in the celebrations. After mutual consultation, the two bodies decided that the number of pilgrims, in accordance with the 1974 Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines, will be increased from 3,000 to 10,000. Further, there will be no restrictions on the number of Sikhs coming to Pakistan from other countries.

Pakistan will issue visas to the Shiromani community and other groups, according to the quota. All such groups will provide a list of pilgrims to EPTB; no other individual apart from these will be granted a visa. Approximately 100,000 Sikhs want to visit Pakistan from India, Canada, the United States, United Kingdom, Malaysia and several other countries. However, making preparations for and ensuring the security of all attendees on such a large scale is not possible, said an EPTB senior official while speaking to Express-News. However, the final decision on the matter rests with the government and the federal interior ministry.

Although Guru Nanak’s 550th birthday is in November later this year according to the Roman calendar, the Sikh community will celebrate the occasion according to the Nanak Shahi calendar in November 2019. Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Sardar Muhammad Yousuf has already announced plans to issue a memorable coin commemorating the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.

 

The Central Gurdwara (Khalsa Jatha) London supported by Peter Virdee organised the event where several significant announcements were made by Sayed Bukhari.  Many of the Sikhs that spoke congratulated the Pakistan government for the stand taken regarding not only the establishment of the Kartarpur Corridor but also other measures being taken for the 550th Gurpurb of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

Sayed Bukhari made a series of specific commitments regarding visas for religious reasons, including the possibility of visas online and visas on arrival.  However, after being pushed on this issue during a question-answer session he said he would ensure the establishment of tourism desks in Pakistani embassies and dedicated staff to facilitate visas for those taking part in Yatras in Pakistan later this year.

He also made a specific commitment on connectivity whereby high standard free buses would connect all the main Gurdwaras in Pakistan.  Several speakers also made comments about the Pakistan authorities needing to ensure the preservation of the rich religious and national heritage of the Sikhs rather than allow renovation by some that have little or no appreciation of preservation.

A Pakistani journalist made a generous gesture of donating land for the Pakistani authorities to build accommodation near Kartarpur.  However, this was overshadowed by Peter Virdee making a huge financial commitment by announcing the setting up of a trust under the name of Guru Nanak Dev Ji  رحمة الله.  He said the Peter Virdee Foundation and other business people he had discussed the project with were prepared to inject a massive £500m.  He said money was not an issue for the Sikh community as they were prepared to lay down their lives for their Gurdwaras.

The announcement concluded an excellent event with speakers alongside Sayed Zulfiqar Bukhari including Peter Virdee, Gurpreet Singh Anand, Bhai Amrik Singh, Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK), Preet Kaur Gill MP, Neena Gill MEP, Lord Suri, Sukhjeevan Singh, the Spokesperson for the Sikh Council UK, Dabinderjit Singh, Manvir Singh Bhogal and Justice Anup Singh.

Gurjeet Singh
National Press Secretary
Sikh Federation (UK)

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

 

Note 1:

 

The Sikh Federation (UK) is by far the largest, most prominent and influential campaigning Sikh organisation in the UK that leads to political engagement for the British Sikh community.  The organisation is often referred to as the first and only Sikh political party.  The Sikh community in the UK and throughout the diaspora look to the organisation for leadership and direction.

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Mountbatten, Sikhs and Massacres of Muslims at Partition – Commodore Tariq Majeed PN (Retd)

Awareness Brief-AB-04-18-Tuesday, 14 August 2018, Zilhaj 2, 1439

If you desire to refresh the wounds of the heart,

Recall now and then this story of the days past

Mountbatten, Sikhs and Massacres of Muslims at Partition

Commodore Tariq Majeed PN (Retd)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Partition of the Subcontinent in August 1947 on withdrawal of British colonial power and emergence of Pakistan and Hindu India as independent states was a most momentous event of the 20th century. It was accompanied by immense social turmoil, uprooting of millions of people and horrific bloodshed—in which Muslims were the main victims.

         It is often said that enormous sacrifices were made in attaining Pakistan. This paper gives a glimpse of these sacrifices.

Many books were written about the Partition, mostly by western writers and Indians. Very few of these books can be considered as depicting the facts correctly. Yet, it is rare to find a book which does not hide those facts which go against the thesis of the book’s author. Besides, a subject that these books gloss over or evade altogether is the planned bloodshed of Indian Muslim population by Sikhs and Governor General Mountbatten’s role in it.

In the literature on the Partition, an outstanding book is Disastrous Twilight—A Personal Record of the Partition of India by Major-General Shahid Hamid, published in 1986 by Leo Cooper. The author was Private Secretary, 1946-47, to Field Marshal Claude Auchinleck who was the last Commander-in-Chief in British India from 20 October 1943 to 26 September 1947. Shahid Hamid saw the unfolding of critical events from close quarters as the C-in-C’s office was privy to all matters, military, political or administrative. He kept a record of all important happenings, which is valuable material for history on all vital aspects of the Partition. What is more valuable is the record of striking revelations on sensitive issues. A top issue in this regard is Mountbatten’s role in the carnage of Muslims by Sikhs. His actions that provoked this carnage included deceitfully making changes in the Boundary Commission’s Award and intentionally delaying the announcement of the Award.

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Master Tara Singh -Promotor of Muslims Refugees migrating to Pakistan

 

 

 

 

 

The facts recorded in Shahid Hamid’s book are reproduced here. Headings have been added for quick grasp of contents. All dates pertain to the year 1947.

Author’s Introduction—in his own words. I had never met Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck before I was selected to be his first Indian Private Secretary. Why I was selected for the post I do not know… I was fortunate to witness many historic events, and also to meet the men who made them possible. This gave me a unique insight into the character of the leaders and their approach to the national problems that were facing them. I was able to record their opinions, expressed both privately and in the open… I saw small men entrusted with great jobs, playing with the destiny of millions. This book has been written incorporating the diary I kept diligently in those days. It is not just a record of events but includes my reactions to what I saw, what I heard and what came across my desk.                                                [p. vii]

            I have come to the conclusion that someday I may publish my diaries as a book, for in it there will be certain facts brought to the light of which few people have knowledge.                                                                                                [p. 240]

The Sikhs’ Reaction to the Partition Plan. 4 June: When Mountbatten announced his (June 3) Plan, the Sikhs promptly perfected their plan for revenge. Led by their warrior class and assisted by their leaders, they have organized themselves into ‘Jathas’ (gangs). They have adopted force and terror tactics. They are now preparing their followers physically and psychologically for the brutalities to be inflicted on the Muslims. The Congress High Command is encouraging them and calls them the ‘sword arm of the Congress’.

Mountbatten at no stage encouraged the Sikhs to come to a settlement with the Muslim League which would have partially avoided the massacre. In fact, he encouraged them to stay with the Congress. When the Sikhs became violent he arrested none.                                                                                      [p.180,181]

Radcliffe’s Appointment. 28 June 1947: It had been decided to ask Sir Cyril Radcliffe to be the head of the Punjab and Bengal Boundary Commissions. I think that it is a great mistake as he can be influenced by Mountbatten. It would have been far better to have selected a man from a country outside the Commonwealth. [p.194]                                                                                           

Boundary Commission. 22 July: The Boundary Commission has been set up and has started its deliberations.                                                                         [p.208]  

24 July: The Punjab Boundary Force has been positioned. It is too small a force to be effective. The Sikhs have decided to ignore it and put their plan of vengeance into operation. There have been riots in Dehra Dun, Meerut, Pilibhit, Alwar and Bharatpur. Many Muslims are being massacred.                                    [p.209, 210]

Efforts to Influence the Boundary Commission. 21 July 1947: Baldev Singh* has asked Major Short** to fly out to India and use his influence to get the Boundary Line drawn as much to the West as possible.                                                      [p. 208]

* A top Sikh leader; Mountbatten knew Baldev Singh was the treasurer of a fund that

  the Sikhs were collecting for buying arms.                                                      [p.163]                                                     

**Major Short, an old officer of XI Sikh Regiment and a great Sikh enthusiast; arrived on 28 July, stayed with Baldev, attached to Mountbatten’s staff and was their unofficial adviser on Sikh affairs. [p.211]. Short had been introduced to Mountbatten by Cripps as the authority on Sikh affairs.                                                    [p.180]

Hindus also for Killing Muslims. 4 August: Evan Jenkins, the Governor of Punjab, says that when the Hindus mention that ruthless action must be taken to restore law and order they mean that every Muslim should be killed.                               [p.219]

Boundary Award Delayed. 9 August 1947: Everyone is talking about the impending Boundary Award. On many occasions, Radcliffe, supported by his secretary, Beaumont, had said that the Muslim Majority Tehsils of Ferozpore which include the Canal Headworks, Zehra and Moga, will form part of Pakistan. It is said that yesterday (8 August) Radcliffe had finalised the Award. He has now submitted it to Mountbatten, who is trying to keep it a closely guarded secret. Many of its salient points have already leaked out through the staff of the Boundary Commission and through his own staff.

            A copy of the Award, unwittingly, and unknown to Mountbatten, has been sent by George Abell* to the Secretary of the Governor of Punjab and is known to many. It is common talk that Mountbatten is busy changing it – giving India a corridor to Kashmir through Gurdaspur as well as the Ferozpore Headworks. The Muslims are very jittery. Radcliffe originally said that he would require one to two years to establish the Boundary Line but Mountbatten has over-ruled him. He wants him to base it on the ‘rule of thumb’. There is continuous consultation between the  Congress, the Sikhs, the Princes and Mountbatten. Something is cooking. Nobody knows the date of the announcement of the Award. It is up to Mountbatten.

            Governor of Punjab has been asked by Mountbatten for advice as to the date of the announcement. It is also said that the Viceroy will not be issuing the Award in the form of a communiqué from the Viceroy’s House. It will be published as a Gazette Extraordinary under the instructions of the Boundary Commission. Mountbatten wants to give the impression to the world that he had nothing to do with it.      [p.222]

*George Abell entered the ICS in 1928; Private Secretary to the Viceroy 1945-47.

Rioting by Sikhs. 9 August 1947: Rioting by Sikhs has started. This is in accordance with their plan.                                                                           [p.223]

C-in-C Pakistan Army—on the Delay in the Award. 11 August: General Frank Messervy is of the opinion that the postponement of the Boundary Commission Award is causing uncertainty and immense bloodshed.                                  [p.224]

Shocking Report of the Boundary Force. 11 August: A report has been received from the Punjab Boundary Force which says that:

■ The refugee problem, mainly from Eastern Punjab to Western Punjab is becoming increasingly difficult.

■ The disturbances are producing an average of two hundred to five hundred killings a day. Raids are organized and usually carried out by well-armed gangs of Sikhs.

■ Derailment of trains is a common occurrence. The Maharajah of Faridkot himself is known to be organizing the operations.

■ On arrival in Amritsar to take over their duties, the non-Muslim Police disarmed the Muslim members of the Police Force.                                                           [p.224]

Messervy’s Alarming Report. 11 August: General Messervy has also reported that the situation in Punjab is really bad. The Sikhs are operating large numbers of gangs and timely information about their movement is impossible. The situation in Amritsar is fast deteriorating as a result of the disarming of the Muslim Police by the Hindu Superintendent of Police.                                                                             [p.224]

The Sikhs’ Ghastly Behaviour. 13 August: In a conference in Lahore, Jenkins, the Governor, and Pete Rees, Commander of the Boundary Force, gave their views on the prevailing situation. They painted a very gloomy picture. They said that the Sikhs were behaving with ‘pre-medieval ferocity’, and felt the worst had still to come.

            The C-in-C made a note. ‘The delay in announcing the Award of the Boundary Commission is having a most disturbing and harmful effect.’                          [p.225]

Late Announcement of Award led to the Storm of Killings.  16 August: There was a meeting of the Joint Defence Council under the chairmanship of Mountbatten. It was attended by Nehru, Vallabhai Patel, Baldev Singh and Liaquat Ali Khan. Auchinleck gave his views on what he had seen in the last few days and on the discussion he had with Governor Jenkins and Major-General Thomas Rees. He emphasized that the delay in announcing the Award of the Boundary Commission had resulted in the wildest rumours, even to the extent, for example, that Lahore will be part of India. This has given fresh impetus to the killings by the Sikhs. The Award should have been announced on 9 August, as Jenkins had suggested earlier.

Patel said rioting at Rawalpindi started a chain reaction. He admitted that Tara Singh had made indiscreet and inflammable speeches, which had added fuel to the fire. Liaquat openly said that the whole thing had been carefully engineered by the Sikhs under the guidance of Baldev. Nehru sat depressed and in a daze. He asked whether there was a military escort on every train. If so, why did the massacres take place? He was told that the gangs got on to the train with their arms concealed. Once on, they then attacked suddenly.

Mountbatten tried to humour everyone and admitted that he hoped he had not made too big a mistake by not announcing the Award on 9 August. He said that the storm was not unexpected, but its extent could not have been anticipated. He said he now realized that if he had rounded up the Sikh trouble-makers, including Tara Singh, he would not have had to face this day.                                              [p.234]

Mountbatten’s Underhand Alterations. 16 August: The Award has been shown to the leaders. It is a black day for Pakistan. All the rumours were true about Mountbatten amending the findings, and that he has destroyed the proof. What he did not realize was that, by mistake, a copy was sent to the Secretary of the Governor of Punjab which Jenkins gave to his successor, Francis Mudie, who handed it over to Liaquat. This has horrified Mountbatten.

The amendments Mountbatten made were common knowledge. The Canal Headworks at Ferozepore have been awarded to India on the instigation of his great friend, the Maharajah of Bikaner who, on 11 August, sent his Prime Minister, Sirdar Pannikar, and his Chief Engineer, Kanwar Sain, to see him. It has convinced the Muslims that Mountbatten altered the Award. Finally, Nehru was instrumental in getting the Award altered. A corridor has been provided to Kashmir.               [p.235]

The Treacherous Alterations in the Boundary Award. The Pakistan Times, 18 August 1947, reported, ‘In Punjab, the notional division had been unfair but the final Award has gone much further and hacked off some of our richest tracts of land. The blow has been the hardest in Gurdaspur where the two Muslim Tehsils of Gurdaspur and Batala with a Muslim majority have been thrown into Hindustan along with the Pathankot Tehsil, taking away from Pakistan the rich Muslim industrial area of Batala. A part of Lahore has been broken off. Radcliffe has gone to the trouble of drawing a village to village boundary but the Ajnala Tehsil of Amritsar District with a 60 per cent Muslim majority and contiguous to the District of Lahore has been completely forgotten. The Tehsils of Zehra and Ferozepore with a clear Muslim majority have been dismissed with talk of “disruption of communication”.’       [p.236]

Mountbatten Lied about the Alterations. 16 August: Mountbatten says that he received the Award on 13 August and signed it on the 15th. Everyone knows this is not correct. The late announcement has caused havoc because of the uncertainty of which areas would finally belong where.  Mountbatten wanted the bloodbath to happen when the two Governments had been established so that the responsibility would not be his.                                                                                         [p.235]

Award Published. 17 August: The Boundary Award was published today.    [p.236]

Sikhs on the Rampage. 17 August: A meeting of the Joint Defence Council has been held in Ambala. Rees told the meeting that without the Punjab Boundary Force the slaughter would have been far greater. The Sikhs are burning the country from Lahore to Julundhur and turning it into a battlefield.

            Percy Howard wrote in The Sunday Express, ‘It was really the movement of the Sikh community out of the new Pakistan which sparked off the great killings in Punjab and they acted like savages.’                                                       [p.236]

 

Sikhs’ Private Army. 19 August: Situation in Punjab, especially Amritsar, is bad. Sikh personnel of the (disbanded) Indian National Army (of Subhas Chandra Bose) have formed a Private army for the slaughter of the Muslims. They want to ensure the elimination of Muslims from the Sikh areas of Punjab. The Indian Government is incapable of controlling the Sikhs. Trains to Pakistan are being looted each day and their occupants slaughtered.                                                   [p.237]

 

Appalling Situation in Delhi. 5 September: Situation in Delhi is extremely critical. Muslims are being hunted and butchered in the streets, and the bodies lie rotting. Arson and looting are the order of the day.                                                   [p.246]

 

Bloodshed was Pre-Planned. 8 September: Sikhs in Simla have been slaughtering the Muslims according to a pre-arranged plan. The civil administration in east Punjab is practically non-existent. There too the Muslims are being slaughtered according to a concerted plan.                                                                                        [p.246]

 

The ban on ‘Kirpans’ Withdrawn. 13 September: (From a letter to Mountbatten by Auchinleck). “I feel I must tell you of my fears about the present situation. I see in today’s newspaper that the ban placed on ‘Kirpans’ has been virtually withdrawn. The general public, here and all over India, can place one interpretation only on this action, which is that the Government does not really mean to grasp this problem of asserting its authority over the forces of disorder. The inference is that it is afraid to deal with the Sikhs as they should be dealt with.”                                          [p.249]

 

Governor Jenkins’ Official Records were Burnt. Once when I met Jenkins and pressed him to write his memoirs, he replied that ‘It is not in the interest of the Commonwealth.’ It is known that at the time of his departure from India he was warned by Mountbatten not to speak out. He was ordered to burn all his official papers, which included many connected with the Boundary affair, but still, a few papers including the original sketch map demarcating the boundaries between the two Dominions before it was altered by Mountbatten fell into the hands of Francis Mudie, the Governor, who gave them to Liaquat.                                           [p.300]

 

Clear-Cut Conclusions. Among the several conclusions from the given facts, two must be highlighted. Mountbatten knew the consequences of delaying the Boundary Award, that when announced it will absolutely shock and stun the Muslims in the Muslim-majority Areas, which by the rules of the Boundary Award were to be part of Pakistan, but which he had given to India. The Muslims will be seized with panic and fright and will be powerless against the Sikhs’ onslaught. This is what happened.

Secondly, the plans of the intended massacres that had been made in advance were known to Baldev Singh and Major Short, Mountbatten’s adviser on Sikh affairs. And Nehru and Mountbatten were aware of the coming bloodshed by the Sikhs but did not try to prevent it.

 

The writer is an analyst of national and global issues and is dedicated to exposing the issues harmful to Pakistan’s security and sovereignty.     

 

 

Tariq Majeed

Cell: 0301-438-6267

Email: dilbedar@Yahoo.com

 

 

 

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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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