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Seminar Report: March of Narendra Modi to PM’s seat spells doom for justice and fair play for minorities

December 11, 2013 | By

Chandigarh/ Punjab (December 11, 2013): Sikh body Dal Khalsa held a seminar on topic: “Endless Wait of Justice in Punjab” on 10 December to mark 65th World Human Rights Day at a Gurdwara Sahib in Chandigarh. The seminar was atteneded by various Sikh leaders and Human Rights activists besides representatives of various political/social organizations and activists of Dal Khalsa.

Speaking on the occasion the Dal Khalsa head Harchranjit Singh Dhami said notwithstanding the victory of the opposition BJP at the recently held assembly elections, the march of Narendra Modi to the Prime Minister’s seat spells doom for justice and fair play for minorities.

The association of KPS Gill – who flagrantly violated human rights in Punjab with Modi, is clearly a grim reminder of what the future holds for minorities and justice-seekers in this country, he added.

Dignitaries and Speakers on dais

Dignitaries and Speakers on dais

Bhai Dhami said the perpetrators of extra-judicial killings and violators of human rights were now in command of the police. Having suppressed the Sikh struggle for sovereignty, the State has masterminded the technique of crushing dissent, he added.

He said the agony, pain and cries of a large number of families whose children were maimed, killed, jailed, thrown into canals, those who had to leave home and hearth and settle in foreign countries continues to haunt them, but the State remains a deaf and dumb spectator, the “ever hospitable Punjab for Kabaddi matches” refuses to even acknowledge the existing of such families.

The organizers dedicated the Seminar to the ideals and life of the tireless South African leader Nelson Mandela who changed the course of his country’s history ending apartheid and slavery for his peoples. The large sized banner saluting Mandela was put up on the backdrop of the stage.

S. Kanwar Pal Singh sharing his views during the seminar

S. Kanwar Pal Singh sharing his views during the seminar

Delivering a key note address Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh said Mandela’s life has been an inspiration to all struggling peoples and nations.

He said what worries us that while India conferred the Bharat Ratna on Nelson Mandela, the Indian leadership’s actions are contrary to the ideals and principles he stood for. Nelson Mandela fought for freedom from slavery, India continues to shackle dissent and oppose right to self-determination of various ethnic minorities and nationalities, he said.

He further said India refuses to release prisoners who have surpassed their legal prison terms in the most arbitrary manner. This discriminatory practice prevails not only in Punjab but in Kashmir and the North east too. Nelson Mandela suffered at the hands of the “white leadership”, but did not show any bitterness once he was released. However, Indian state continues to follow a policy of hatred and vendetta towards the Sikh people and other nationalities including the Kashmiris.

Beside Dal Khalsa leaders, High Court advocate Navkiran Singh, Advocate Harpal Singh Cheema, Advocate Jaspal Singh, Sikh scholar Gurtej Singh, Former DGP Shashi Kant, Khalsa Panchayat chairman Rajinder Singh, SYP president Ranbir Singh also participated in the deliberations.

A view of audience at Seminar

A view of audience at Seminar

Speaking at a function, the activists of human rights bodies and socio-politico groups sought the proactive intervention of the United Nations to prosecute BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendar Modi and former DGP K P S Gill for what the organizers termed as “crime against humanity”, referring to Gujarat 2002 massacre and killings of Sikh youth in extra-judicial methods during militancy period respectively.

They condemned the suppression of Sikh rights and sought release of all political prisoners and restoration of their rights. They took the state government to task for embolding the police force with brute powers. On one of the banner it was written: Untrammeled power is dangerous in their (police) hands.

The organizers saluted the grit of Manipuri activist Chanu Sharmila, who is on fast for 13 years protesting the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. The gathering passed a resolution supporting the cause of Bhai Gurbakash Singh, who is on fast unto death for last 26 days seeking the release of those Sikh detainees who have completed their legal jail term. The organizers praised his spirit and steadfastness. Expressing concern over the deteriorating health of Gurbakash, they held Centre as well as state government responsible for it.

Harpal Singh Cheema, chairman of the Sikhs for Human Rights said since April 1978, Punjab has witnessed devastatingly large scale violation of human rights. He said these 40 years have seen untold bloodshed, torture, involuntary disappearances, long and unending prison terms and the Damocles sword hanging over Sikh activists on the death row in various prisons.

He said it seems unlikely that the Indian State, Punjab government and the over-entrenched police leadership would learn to respect human rights.

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