December 21, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Washington, DC (December 21, 2013): In a statement sent to the Sikh Siyasat News (SSN) the World Sikh Council – America Region (WSC-AR) has expressed deep concern about the situation developing in India arising out of a Sikh’s peaceful efforts to persuade the government to follow the law of the land. Bhai Gurbaksh Singh is on a hunger strike since November 14, 2013 to protest against the continued detention of hundreds of Sikhs under counterinsurgency laws for a prolonged period.
Bhai Gurbaksh Singh was inside a small Gurdwara when 40-50 Indian policemen dressed as ‘Sikhs’ stormed in and kidnapped him on the night of December 6, 2013. He was jailed in Ropar (Punjab) and the police tried to force-feed him. Subsequently, he was released on December 8, 2013 due to public pressure and protests.
Under Indian law, a life term lasts 14 years. There are many Sikhs languishing in jails all over India who have served more than 14 years, yet remain confined. According to the papers submitted by the States of Punjab and Haryana to the Punjab and Haryana High Court, there are no less than 237 inmates in these two states alone who have completed life term. There is strong concern that the state bodies and representatives are not taking any action.
Gurdwaras and other organizations around the world, as well as hundreds of thousands of individuals, have expressed solidarity with the cause undertaken by Bhai Gurbaksh Singh. WSC-AR demands that an appropriate judicial review of the cases highlighted by Bhai Gurbaksh Singh be undertaken and those who have either completed their sentences or have no cases against them be released immediately by the Indian government.
The World Sikh Council – America Region (WSC-AR) is the umbrella organization representative of Sikhs in the United States. It is an elected body of Sikh Gurdwaras and institutions. Currently 54 Gurdwaras and other Sikh institutions across the nation are members of WSC-AR. The major governing purpose of the organization is to represent the collective view of Sikhs in the United States. WSC-AR works to promote Sikh interests at the national and international level focusing on issues of advocacy, education, and well-being of humankind.
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