Sikh activists protest outside Indian Consulate in Canada

Vancouver, Canada: Sikh activists today rallied outside the Indian Consulate here to show solidarity with the fasting Sikh activist in Punjab, Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa. Khalsa, on fast to press for the release of Sikh political prisoners, was rounded up by the police evoking a sharp reaction among the local Sikh community.

Under the aegis of the BC Sikh Society, eight groups, including diehard Khalistan supporters, today showed up outside the Indian Consulate. Prominent leaders Harbhajan Singh Atwal and Karnail Singh Mann later handed over a memorandum to consulate officials, seeking amnesty for the jailed militants. Ranjeet Singh Khalsa, Banda Singh Bahadur Society, said it was a matter of shame that the ruling SAD in Punjab which had once opposed state oppression was now itself indulging in human rights violations and trying to muzzle dissent.

Last Sunday, these groups had staged a demonstration at Guru Nanak Sikh Temple in Surrey and organised a public forum with Khalsa addressing the gathering through webcam. Moninder Singh, BC Sikh Society spokesman, alleged that the Sikh clergy was trying to confuse the community by portraying Khalsa’s fast in a bad light. “Fasting is a political tool which has been used by Sikh heroes in the past too. It is only unacceptable if done for the self or religious purification.” Meantime, victim of the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom, Jagdish Kaur, who is touring the country with her son Gurdeep Singh, said having failed to get justice in India, she now expected her compatriots in Canada to build pressure for justice.

Source: The Tribune

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