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UK Sikhs call India’s bluff and announce widespread opposition to visiting Indian PM

October 27, 2015 | By

Birmingham, UK: On 3 October all prominent Sikh organisations, Gurdwaras from across the UK and the youth gathered at Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Havelock Road, Southall to discuss the Sikh response and plan of action for the visit to the UK of Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in mid-November. The detailed strategy prepared and presented by the Federation of Sikh Organisations (FSO) was unanimously endorsed.

One of the other outcomes was to allow individuals that have been in contact with the Indian authorities time to ‘explore’ what if any progress they could make on the key issues approved at the meeting in advance of Narendra Modi’s visit i.e. release of all Sikh political prisoners, securing an apology and seeking forgiveness for the events of 1984 from Modi on behalf of the Indian State. As approved at the meeting the key issues were to be immediately publicised leaving no room for individuals to set their own personal agendas and compromise what had been decided.

Those present agreed to allow these individuals a three week period until 24 October for exploring possibilities before formally announcing next steps based on what had been presented and already settled. No one was given ‘authority’ to negotiate and make decisions on behalf of the Sikh community.

Narendra Modi [File Photo]

Narendra Modi [File Photo]

The Sikh Council UK organised a follow up meeting at Amrit Parchar Dharmik Diwan Gurdwara Sahib in Birmingham at the weekend on 24 October inviting all 200 or so of its delegates from Gurdwaras and organisations across the UK. The Federation of Sikh Organisations (FSO) also invited its members to give an update on its strategy that was already endorsed.

As anticipated individuals that have been in contact with the Indian authorities either did not attend or reported no progress with the Indian authorities. This was almost certainly just a bluff by the Indian authorities designed to try and cause division in the Sikh community or minimise opposition to Narendra Modi. As we predicted the Indian authorities have declined to meet to discuss the key issues Sikhs put on the table on 3 October and shows they lack the courage to rise to the challenge set by UK Sikhs.

On 3 October those that have been trying to set up meetings and explore matters with the Indian authorities were told the key issues from a Sikh perspective that needed to be addressed by the Indian authorities were those principally linked to the events of June and November 1984. The written strategy clarified some issues like getting rid of blacklists was not an issue. It was explained and accepted by all concerned that what must clearly be on the table is the legitimate demand for a separate Sikh homeland, Khalistan given the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives and that dropping this item was not negotiable.

At the meeting on 24 October the FSO provided an update, including:

· further details of Narendra Modi’s itinerary, including the opposition he is facing at virtually all places he is expected to visit

· the police has been approached to arrest Modi – in 2003, an application was filed for an arrest warrant for him under section 134 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988

· contact with BBC TV to cover the anti-Modi protest in advance of his arrival and the general issues they are likely to focus on

· face to face discussions with senior figures in the Labour Party to raise relevant issues with the British Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary

· social media activity under the hastag #ModiNotWelcome

· the need to include in the issues the recent beadbi cases of Guru Granth Sahib Ji and the killing of peaceful Sikh protesters by Indian police

· further clarification regarding the significance of the June 1984 attack, including the BJP role in encouraging the Indian army assault

The green light was given to:

· Producing the briefing on issues to send to all MPs

· Genocide and killing of religious minorities event in Parliament on Tuesday 3 November in the Boothroyd Room between 1-3pm

· Joining in large numbers the protest outside 10 Downing Street, moving to Parliament Square on Thursday 12 November from 12 noon. Gurdwaras are to be encouraged to make announcements and arrange coaches for members of the Sangat to participate

· Raising awareness of the protest outside Wembley Stadium on 13 November from 6-10pm.

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