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Sikh Youth of America launched “Free the Singh” campaign against detention of Bhai Bittu, Barapind

October 10, 2012 | By

New York (October 10, 2012) According to information available with Sikh Siyasat News (SSN) on October 07, 2012 the Sikhs across America launched the “Free the Singh” Campaign to sign petitions for the immediate release of Bhai Daljit Singh Bittu and Bhai Kulbir Singh Barapind.

“A petition writing campaign to the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton took place at Gurdwara’s across the United States in cities such as New York, New Jersey, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Seattle, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington” states a Statement released by Sikh Youth of America.

Bhai Daljit Singh Bittu and Bhai Kulbir Singh Barapind

It is notable that Bhai Daljit Singh Bittu and Kulbir Singh Barapind were arrested by the the Punjab Police on September 20th in Punjab, India. Bhai Kulbir Singh Barapind is the current president of the political party Akali Dal Panch Pardhani (ADPP) and also an elected representative of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, whereas Bhai Daljit Singh Bittu is the former president of the ADPP and a long-time political activist. He is an outgoing president of the Sikh Student’s Federation, a community organizer and an outspoken critic of the current political state of Punjab.

It is further notable that Bhai Kulbir Singh Barapind was extradited from the United States to India in 2006 for charges that he was later acquitted of. One of the conditions of his extradition was that he would not be subjected to any form of torture and it is the obligation of the United States Embassy in India to ensure that condition is met. However, six years after his extradition, Barapind was arrested and subjected to severe torture such as electric shocks.

As a result of his political ideology, since 1995 Daljit Singh Bittu has spent 12 years in prison for charges that he was never convicted of. Bittu had 28 cases registered against him and he has been acquitted in 24 as the judges found the charges against him ill-founded; 4 of those cases are still pending.

Under the current charges, both men were implicated under the Explosives Act, 1884 but without recovery of any materials that would implicate them in such an outrageous claim. The police have still not produced any evidence in regards to why these arrests were made and instead have demanded to extend the custody of Bittu and Barapind.

Considering both men have already attested to being subjected to torture, Sikh Youth of America is requesting the United States government to terminate the extradition treaty as it has been proven that torture is a common practice within the Indian state.

According to Sikh Youth of America President, Gurinderjit Singh, “Not only are the arrests of Daljit Singh and Kulbir Singh ongoing proof of the Indian State’s agenda of oppressing minority communities, but it is a direct violation of the extradition terms set out in the case of Kulbir Singh. Both men have been subjected to torture and we as concerned American Sikhs call upon the United States government to immediately end the extradition treaty with India as it a continuous violator of human rights and uses torture as a means to extract false testimonies.”

Petition writing will continue across the United States next week and petitions will be delivered to the office of the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

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