Vancouver, Canada: Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) a human rights group with the support of various international human rights groups, Sikh organizations and Gurudwara committees across Canada is holding “Sikh Sovereignty and Genocide Conference” on August 17 in Surrey, BC.
The Conference will highlight the right of Sikh’s to Self Determination as guaranteed by Universal Declaration of Human Rights and United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
US-based human rights lawyer and activist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, who founded SFJ, has led a charge against human rights violators, some still in power in India’s central government as well as Punjab state officials such Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal, and murderous officials in India’s police force and other agencies.
Pannun and his colleague Jatinder Grewal met with members of the local Punjabi media to discuss the Sikh Sovereignty conference and why it is being held to coincide with India’s Independence Day.
Pannun, legal advisor to Sikhs for Justice, said the conference will focus on the history of Sikh Genocide starting from June 1984 Invasion of Sri Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple), November 1984 genocidal attacks on Sikhs throughout India and a 1984-98 an organized and systematic ethnic cleansing of Sikhs by Indian Security Forces.
“While India will be celebrating 66th independence anniversary, we will spread awareness and educate international community about the usurpation of religious identity of Sikhs under Indian constitution, denial of right to self determination and genocidal attacks on Sikhs population of India,” he said.
In recent times, India has been propagating that Canadian Sikhs are promoting terrorism and violence and has been pressurizing the Canadian government to curb the activities of Canadian Sikhs. PM Harper, during his last visit to India made his government’s position very clear by stating that “violence and terrorism cannot be confused with the right of Canadians to hold and promote their political views.”
Citing the 1980 and 1995 examples of Canadian referendums to determine the demand for separation and sovereignty from Canada by the Province Quebec, Jatinder Singh Grewal, Director SFJ, stated that “India should recognize Sikhs’ right to self determination and recognize Sikhs as an independent nation.”
PM Harper said that he believes other political parties in Canada agree that merely advocating for a Khalistan homeland in the Punjab is not illegal. “We can’t interfere with the right of political freedom of expression”.
Pannun said usurpation of separate Sikh identity in Indian Constitution, genocidal attacks on Sikhs and continuous impunity to security forces responsible for extra judicial killing of Sikhs justify the Sikhs’ demand for right to self determination.
The Sikh Sovereignty and Genocide Conference will be held at Punjab Banquet Hall, Surrey, BC, from 6-8 PM on August 17. SFJ is an international human rights group working to achieve recognition of Sikhs’ right to “self determination” as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. SFJ is also striving to collect and disseminate information, statistics, figures and data regarding the Genocide of Sikhs (1984-1998) that took place in India.
Selfless sacrifice for the sake of your community and fellow man is the core principle of Sikhism and Pannun has followed that to the tee! Using his own resources and knowhow, he and his colleagues have dedicated themselves to fight for justice for those oppressed Sikhs and others who brutally died at the hands of the state and those who continue to die in India. This is laborious and dangerous work for no gain except that one man, one organization can bring change! We salute you Mr. Pannun for all that you and your colleagues do to make this a better, just world!