July 22, 2012 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
London, UK (July 21, 2012): John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, moved an adjournment debate in the House of Commons last Tuesday, on the issue of ongoing human rights abuses in India. Significant supporter of Kesri Lehar’s campaign – “Wave for Justice” paid tribute to Kesri Lehar, Liberation, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch for their commitments to exposing the Indian Government’s failure to address the human rights abuses effectively.
British Labour Party politician raised concerns on the historic failure of the Indian Government to bring to justice the perpetrators of the 1984 Sikhs massacre. He added, “That the massacre started with the attack on the Golden Temple in Amritsar and resulted in the murder of hundreds of thousands of Sikhs in the following decade, and was described as India’s hidden agenda.”
In his speech, Labour MP stated, “In 2004, on the 20th anniversary of the massacre, he launched a report in the parliament called “1984: Sikhs’ Kristallnacht”, and demanded for an independent commission of truth and justice, under the auspices of the United Nations, to investigate the slaughter.”
“It would be a travesty of justice, if Jagdish Tytler and KP Gill visit for the London Olympics as Olympics officials for India, who are both accused of human rights violations in 1984 to1995, and would cause deep offence to the whole of the Sikh community.” said Mr McDonnell.
His speech also included the strong condemnation of the human rights violations against minorities in India, including against the Sikhs, and Indian Government failure to revoke the laws that afford state impunity to human rights abusers. “Impunity seems to be common for the perpetrators of human rights abuses in India – not acceptable by any standards.” continued Labour MP.
Reading the report of Human Rights Watch about custodial killings and police abuses, including torture, he said: “On average, 1,500 people a year are dying in custody in Indian prisons and police stations, while rape is used as a form torture.”
“Amnesty now reports that over the past two years, 30 human rights defenders have been targeted for abuse by state and non-state organisations, with eight people been killed as a result.”
Concluding the adjournment debate, he described, “The ultimate violation of human rights is to take a person’s life. That is why there was such a shock and anger worldwide outrage at the Indian Government’s threat – made only months ago, after an eight-year hiatus – implement the death penalty against people such as Professor Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar and Balwant Singh Rajoana. Professor Bhullar was convicted only on a confession and that was obtained by torture. Balwant Singh Rajowana has already suffered 17 years on death row and suffered enough.”
Prof Bhullar filed a mercy petition in 2003, supported by Amnesty International and the German Bundestag’s Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid, which Indian President denied on May 26, 2011.
Labour MP has sponsored an early day motion, in support of the Kesri Lehar’s campaign, calling upon the full debate in the House of Commons.
In his closing remarks, Mr. McDonnell urged his Government to use the bilateral talks, and the EU –India human rights dialogue, to call on India to take decisive action to protect human rights and, in particular, to abolish the death penalty.
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