December 10, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Toronto, Canada (December 08, 2013): Thousands of Sikhs attended the “Genocide and Sovereignty” Conference held in Toronto and voiced concern for continued denial of justice and impunity to political activists and police officers involved in genocidal attacks on Sikhs during 1984.
The “Genocide” Conference was addressed by human rights activists and 1984 Sikh Genocide survivor Bibi Jagdish Kaur, who is prime witness against Congress leader Sajjan Kumar. The Conference was organized by Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), a human rights advocacy group with the support of Canadian Sikh organizations.
SFJ which is spearheading the justice campaign for the victims of 1984, will lobby to introduce a motion in the Canadian Parliament to debate whether organized killing of Sikhs in India during November 1984 was “Genocide” as defined in Article 2 of the UN Convention on Genocide, stated SFJ legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.
Dec 10 World Human Rights Day – Bibi Jagdish Kaur To Present Evidence To Canadian Members of Parliament –
According Sukhminder Singh Hansra, On December 10, Bibi Jagdish Kaur, who is visiting Canada on the invitation of Ontario Khalsa Darbar, Dixie will present evidence to the Canadian MP’s about 29 years of denial of justice to victims and impunity to Congress leaders who orchestrated genocidal attacks on Sikhs after the death of Indira Gandhi.
Bibi Jagdish Kaur not only endured the November 1984 attacks but also witnessed the murder of dozens of people, including her own husband, son and three of her brothers. She has since continued to speak out against the incident and also acted as a key witness to Congress leader Sajjan Kumar’s leading of death squads against Sikhs during November 1984. “I look forward to continuing to deliver these important messages on prominent platforms to people who truly care and choose not to forget the atrocities we suffered in 1984,” says Jagdish Kaur. “It’s an honor to speak in Canada, which is proudly called home by close to 600,000 Sikhs.”
“The Sikh communities in Canada and around the world fled India because there was a systematic campaign of killing and persecution organized against them,” stated attorney Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a legal advisor to SFJ. “Many elected Canadian members of parliament share the pain of the Sikh community and want the Indian Government to prosecute those who openly lead death squads during 1984. We will approach members of all political stripes to seek their support and present a “Genocide” motion in the Parliament in November 2014.”
Genocide Complaint Filed Before UN on November 1
SFJ, “Movement Against Atrocities and Repression (MAAR), All India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF) and members of Gurudwara management committees across Europe and North America filed a Complaint with UNHRC urging to “fully investigate the intentional attempt to exterminate the Sikh community of India during November 1984 and to declare it as Genocide.” According to Harjeet Singh Sahota, Legal Advisor, SFJ will present evidence to the UNHRC during August 2014 when the committee is going to discuss the complaint filed against Indian government for failure to prosecute those who were involved in the Genocide of Sikhs.
Sikh Sovereignty And Right Of Self-Determination
The right to sovereignty and self-determination for all religious, racial, ethnic and linguistic minorities is guaranteed in the UN Charter and under “International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights” and “International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights” stated Jatinder Singh Grewal, International Policy Director, SFJ. Citing the 1980 and 1995 examples of Canadian referendums to determine the demand for separation and sovereignty from Canada by the Province Quebec, Grewal added that “India should follow the example of Canada and should extend the same to Sikhs”. “It’s fundamental right of every religious, racial, ethnic and linguistic community to demand “self determination”.
Ms. Indira Prahst, Chair, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Langara College and Race and Ethnic Relations instructor who specializes in Sikh human rights issues, while addressing the conference stated that “Part of this quest for freedom for some Sikhs is the freedom to oppose a state which suppresses their Sikh identity and to contest state violence inflicted on Sikh bodies with impunity. Without such freedom, real or perceived, some Sikhs have raised the question of sovereignty which is not baseless in the context of human rights violations including genocidal violence in November 1984, and the adverse effects of neo-liberalism. History has shown that this quest of sovereignty is driven by a deep spirit guided by an inner wisdom and, for some Sikhs, constitutes who they are?”
Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) a human rights organization, believes and adheres to Universal Declaration of Human Rights. SFJ endeavors to create an environment in which minorities – regardless of race, religion, language, gender, or ethnicity – can freely exercise their 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).