November 20, 2017 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Chandigarh: Manmohan Singh Khalsa -the die hard pro-freedom Sikh leader is no more. He left for his heavenly abode today early morning at 4.30 GMT at a hospital in London. He was hospitalized since last week after his health deteriorated. He died of multiple organ failures. His aged mother lives in Chandigarh and his wife died a few years back in the UK. He leaves behind one daughter and two sons.
His passing away is a great setback to Dal Khalsa and a loss to the Sikh struggle for freedom. He held his head high despite all odds, hardships, sufferings and allurements. He was one of the founder members of the organization formed on August 13, 1978. He left Punjab and reached the UK after the government of India banned the Dal Khalsa on May 1, 1982.
Since then he was in self-exile. He never returned to his motherland as the government of India had placed his name on the so-called blacklist of Sikhs. He was offered a deal to return by Indian officials in the UK but he refused point-blank. When the media report in April 2016 suggested that his name has been struck off from the blacklist, he minced no words and said ‘he would prefer to “die in a foreign country as a rebel than return to Punjab as a defeated person’. He remained true to his words.
He was a regular visitor to Pakistan twice a year as he organized Jathas for pilgrimage from the UK and other European countries. He was very well connected and a known face in the political establishment of Pakistan. He was in the advisory panel of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC). He was among handful of Sikh personalities in whose presence the President of Pakistan declared the formation of the PSGPC at Gurdwara Dera Sahib Lahore on April 11, 1999.
Moreover, he founded the NGO namely World Muslim-Sikh Federation dedicated to promoting dialogue and respect between the two communities.
For him, neither his age nor his ailing health was a bar. He remained the loudest voice among Sikh Diaspora during protest programmes be it against India’s Republic day on January 26 or Indian Independence Day on August 15. His association with Kashmiri Diaspora was well known. One could see him joining them in their public rallies with more zeal and commitment than Kashmiri activists.
His love and passion for Sikhi and Sikh nationalistic cause remained unquestionable and undisputed. Personally, I have lost a friend, guide and staunch supporter. He played his innings well and left a responsibility on our shoulders to accomplish the mission for which he left his home in the early 80’s. The members of the Dal Khalsa, join me in saluting his commitment and paying their last respects to him, says Kanwar Pal Singh.