June 11, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
London, United Kingdom (June 11, 2013): According to police estimates the number Sikhs protesting each year in June in central London continues to grow. This year the police estimated numbers increased by 15-20% on last year. Last year numbers grew by 30%.
Sikhs gathered from 11am in London close to the Indian High Commission to mark the 29th anniversary of the Indian army attack on the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar in June 1984.
The remembrance march led by the Panj Pyare (five beloved ones) with swords drawn began at the junction of the Strand and Surrey Street at around 1pm.
The march headed for Trafalgar Square and then through Whitehall where Sikh representatives delivered by hand a memorandum for the British Prime Minister, David Cameron will stop at 10 Downing Street.
This year the memorandum was delivered a few months after David Cameron became the first ever sitting British Prime Minister to visit and pay his respects at the Golden Temple. Sikhs said they were hopeful the Prime Minister now has a much better understanding why Sikhs worldwide remain deeply dismayed and angered by the actions of the Indian authorities in sending in troops to the holiest of holy places for the Sikhs and killing hundreds if not thousands of pilgrims – innocent men, women and children.
On the back of David Cameron’s visit and first-hand experience of the Golden Temple Sikhs renewed their call for the support of the British Government as a permanent member of the UN Security Council to tackle the continued injustices Sikhs face within India. This includes asking for an Independent UN led enquiry into the treatment of Sikhs in India from June 1984 onwards.
Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said: ‘29 years later we can confidently say ‘Justice delayed is Justice denied’ – We can no longer get justice in India. Ultimately, the only solution to conflict in Punjab will lie in the exercise of self-determination by the Sikhs, in accordance with international law, by which means the Sikhs will be able to protect themselves, their natural resources and their “honour, dignity and independence”. We are committed to peaceably establishing an independent sovereign Sikh homeland, a state often referred to as Khalistan that will provide lasting stability in the region.’
After calling at 10 Downing Street the march continued past the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, entered Parliament Square, past the Houses of Parliament and ended with a two hour freedom rally in the Millbank lining the River Thames.
In the last 12 months there has been unprecedented activity by British Sikhs in relation to human rights and the use of the death penalty in India. A 100,000+ petition was handed in at 10 Downing Street in December 2012, a Parliamentary debate on the death penalty in India took place in February 2013 and continued peaceful demonstrations have also taken place, including a mass protest on 15 April 2013 regarding the failings of the Indian judicial and political system as regards the imminent hanging of Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar.
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