October 3, 2011 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Amritsar (October 02, 2011): Simon Hughes, Member of Parliament for Bermondsey & Old Southwark and Deputy leader of Liberal Democratic Party today lend his support to Professor Devinderpal Singh Bhullar by declaring to raise the issue of death penalty awarded to Prof. Bhullar with international rights forums, including United Nations Human Rights Commission and International Commission of Jurists.
Simon Hughes was accompanied from Britain by Dr. Julie Smith, Chair, Liberal International British Group. He paid a visit to Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar commonly called by the westerns as the Golden Temple of Amritsar. Simon described the visit to the holy shrine of Sikhs, as most sacred moments of his life. He was in Punjab for the first time.
Later in the evening Simon started his press conference at Itsa Hotel by reciting “Mool-Mantar” from English version of Japuji Sahib, the Sikh morning prayer. He expressed a sincere wish to read the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Scripture, to experience the eternal spirituality.
Taking up Professor Devinderpal Singh Bhullar’s case, he said that he was aware that this case had been heard by the highest judicial tribunal of India and the review petition had been rejected by President of India. He said that a serious concern for this case has already been raised by various leaders, governments and international organizations.
Referring to Amnesty International’s findings, he said there is scope of more deliberation in this case. It is notable that in one of its’ documents Amnesty International has concluded that Professor Devinderpal Singh Bhullar was denied fair trial.
“As the Professor is facing immediate threat of execution, this issue requires urgent action and I would be taking up the issue at the earliest possible, and surely with in this week, with UN Human Rights Commission and International Commission of Jurists” he added.
“Moreover” he added “I would do may best to convince the UK government to take up this matter with Government of India at forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to be held at Perth (Australia) from 28 to 30 October, 2011”.
Taking up the issue of Sikh identity and freedom of faith and religion in India, Simon Hughes said that “I was surprised to know that after independence of India, when the Indian constitution was framed some of the faiths and religions were not recognised, and Sikh religion is one of them”. He said that Sikhs are recognised as a distinct and respectable religion and faith in England.
Making a statement, showing his deep concern about human rights and other rights violations in India, Simon Hughes said that – I would formally request the UN Human Rights Commission and International Commission of Jurists to conduct in depth inquiry on allegations of rights violations that have taken place in India, in Punjab, against the Sikhs, and against in Kashmir, against Kashmiris.
He renewed his commitment to secure worldwide respect to 5Ks, the five article of Sikh faith including Kirpan and turban.
While answering to the questions raised by the journalist, Simon Hughes, informed that he had no plans to meet Indian authorities. “I was invited by Tibitian Government in Exile and I have no plans to meet Government authorities here. I would be visiting Dharamshala to meet Dalai Lama and will also go to Kashmir” he added.
Julie Smith, in her brief statement said that British Liberal Group is very much concerned about “responsibility to protect”, therefore human rights violations are particular cause of concerns for them. She added that the issue of violations of rights of Sikhs in India would be taken up with Committee of Asian Liberals and Democrats, to find out political ways to secure justice for previous violations and protection of rights in future.
MP Simon Hughes is considered to be a close friend of Sikhs in England. He remains in constant touch with various Sikh leaders and activists and is briefed, from time to time, by the representatives of Sikh Federation of UK on Sikh issue.
Today, he held a detailed meeting with representatives of Shiromani Akali Dal (Panch Pardhani) and Sikh Students Federation in Amritsar and discussed various issues surrounding Sikhs in Punjab. During the press conference he was accompanied by Bhai Mandhir Singh of Youth Dal Panch Pardhani and Bhai Parmjeet Singh Gazi, National President of Sikh Students Federation. Sangat TV, a UK based Sikh TV Channel also covered the press conference, and their trustee Bhai Randhir Singh was personally present at the press conference.
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Related Topics: Bhai Mandhir Singh, Indian State, Julie Smith, Liberal Democrats, Panch Pardhani, Parmjeet Singh Gazi, Prof. Devender Pal Singh Bhullar, Sikh Federation UK, Sikh Students Federation, Simon Hughues, United Nations