Request for Support for Bhai Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa

Standup for human rightsThe World Sikh Council – America Region (WSC-AR) stands in solidarity with the Mr. Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa and requests it’s 61 member Gurdwara’s and their Sangat to show solidarity to this cause on January 7th, 2015 by submitting petitions to the Indian PM via the nearest government offices. Use the link below to see where you can submit your petition: More information can be obtained Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa, a forty nine year old Sikh farmer, a civil rights activist, is on a hunger strike unto death, in India from November 14, 2014. Mr. Khalsa has been conducting his nonviolent protest, his hunger strike in Gurudwara Lakhnaur Sahib, Ambala, in the state of Haryana his native town. He is demanding the release of political prisoners who have already served their jail terms — all of the seven prisoners he has focused on (lifers; including one whose capital punishment has finally been commuted to life after 19 years) have served the minimum mandatory of 14 years and most of them are being held without parole for over 20 years.

In India, life term convicts are generally granted release after serving 14 years in prison but these Sikh political prisoners have served 19 to 25 years in prison and are not being released due to political red tape in different State Governments, some despite recommendations from their Parole Boards for early release.

A review of the each of these cases reveals that they fall under “Category I” cases as identified by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention established by the United Nations Human Rights Commission. According to the Working Group’s mandate, “Category I” cases are those where:

“It is clearly impossible to invoke any legal basis justifying the deprivation of liberty (as when a person is kept in detention after the completion of his sentence or despite an amnesty law applicable to him).” The actions of the Government related to the continuous arbitrary detention of Sikh Prisoners of Conscience violate every norm of democracy, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International laws.

This is Mr. Khalsa’s second hunger strike. His strike in 2013 received much attention nationally and internationally with Sikh protests across India and the world. He had ended that fast when some of the prisoners were allowed temporary parole and on the assurance that the rest will follow. However, since, there has been little movement on addressing the issue of all the prisoners he has called attention to it, in any permanent way. Mr. Khalsa is now, fasting unto death – a protest he resumed on the one year anniversary of his 2013 protest.

Let’s show solidarity with him. Please contact your local Gurdawara management to spread this message and coordinate to submit this petition to your local Indian Consulate office.

Please Support – Leaders like him come only once in our lifetimes. Download a sample petition letter here .

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 61 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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