NEW YORK, NY - Sikhs for Justice(SFJ) has approached international human rights organizations seeking their intervention and support in case of arrest of SGPC member Kulbir Singh Barapind and former SAD Panch Pardhani former president Daljit Singh Bittu.
In a letter to Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW), world’s leading human rights groups, SFJ has requested that Bittu and Barapind be declared as “Prisoners of Conscience (POC)” and an “APPEAL” be issued for their release. Prisoner of conscience (POC) is an individual who is imprisoned because of his race, religion, or political views and faces persecution for expression of his conscientiously held beliefs.
Reminding AI and HRW of widespread human rights abuses by security forces in Punjab during 1984-98, SFJ’s September 25 letter warns that if the current wave of implicating political activists in the name of curbing “terrorism” goes unchecked, it will result in another era of torture, illegal detentions, enforced disappearances and extra judicial killings of Sikhs.
Attorney Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal advisor to SFJ who practices human rights law in the United States said India is attempting to convince the world community of “revival of militancy and extremism among Sikh groups”; actually this is in retaliation to the exposure of the Indian Government’s policy of impunity and denial of justice to the Sikh victims of human rights abuses. “The recent detention of political activists on seemingly made up charges is yet another attempt to silence the voices of Sikh community which is becoming vocal about the denial of justice to the Sikhs in India.” We will not remain a silent spectator to denial of due process to the Sikh activists and suppression of freedom of speech under the disguise of “terrorism” and “militancy”, he stated.
Terming the recent actions of Badal government against the political activists Bittu and Barapind as utterly undemocratic, attorney Pannun stated that the Punjab government headed by Parkash Singh Badal is following the central government’s policies of suppressing the voices of Sikh activists. SFJ announced to launch an international campaign demanding the release of Bittu and Barapind and urged the world community to condemn India’s recent crackdown on Sikh political and human rights.