ASC continues to support Bapu Surat Singh’s phenomenal peaceful protest through starvation.
The incredible Bapu Surat Singh, an 82 year old retired Sikh farmer, has been on a hunger strike for over 280 days. Bapu Surat Singh has demanded the release of all Sikh prisoners of conscience who have been incarcerated in various detention centers across India, some for over 24 years and have completed their tenure of sentence but are not being released. Even peaceful protest is not allowed in Indian Punjab and Bapu Surat Singh, a legal resident of USA, has been illegally arrested several times from his house and taken to local hospitals and force fed against his will. Thousands of Sikhs in Punjab have joined his peaceful protest for months.
His son Bhai Ravinderjit Singh Gogi while visiting his father in Punjab from America was illegally arrested on March 23, 2015. For over two months he was kept in a jail cell and tortured by the Punjab police. He was released only after US Congressmen with the assistance of the US Embassy pressured for his release. On August 17, 2015 Bapu Surat Singh’s son-in-law Bhai Satwinder Singh Bhola, was murdered by an unidentified man outside his home in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois.
Since January 16, 2015 Bapu Surat Singh has been holding a peaceful hunger strike in Punjab. In the meanwhile, it is uncanny that first his visiting son is arrested and tortured for absolutely no reason and shortly thereafter his son-in-law is murdered in Chicago, IL. This is not the first time the long arms of the Indian intelligence have stretched across the globe to silence dissent by a soft target like the Sikhs. Taking their cue, none of the major media outlets from India to the US have covered such an important newsworthy story.
The American Sikh Council (ASC) requests all democratic nations who believe in ‘justice, liberty and freedom’ as their core values to stand up in solidarity with the Sikh nation to help the muted voices of Sikhs like Bapu Surat Singh to be heard across the world. Peaceful dissent is not only allowed by law but is a right for all Indians except when it comes to Sikhs and other discriminated religious minorities across India. These double standards flouting the written constitution flies in the face of the much touted democratic values Indian leaders loudly claim when visiting countries like the US.
The American Sikh Council (ASC) wants to remind the Punjab government that they are elected by the people of Punjab, but they can also be removed by the same people if the government continues its appalling high handedness. The Sikhs of Punjab have suffered for decades at the hands of many, incompetent and corrupt leaders. It is time for the ordinary Sikhs of Punjab to replace the current leadership with those who hold their genuine interests as paramount. It is time for the Sikhs everywhere to unite and raise their voice in Punjab so it can be heard across the globe till it wakes up those who pride themselves as lovers of freedom and liberty.