The American Sikh Council (ASC) is distressed at the ominous nature by which human rights activists like Jagtar Singh Johal (aka Jaggi) have been continually targeted by the Indian government for illegal detention under the pretext of arresting a suspected terrorist.
The most recent news updates suggest that the convoluted and obtuse laws of India are being used to obfuscate and delay the illegal arrest of an innocent man, so that the Indian authorities can continue to torture and ‘further interrogate Jaggi to extract more information’ according to the Times of India reports dated January 17, 2018.
The Indian government has used every device in its belt to decimate the Sikh populace in Punjab. The state of Punjab has the highest number of liquor vends on the planet; the entire international border has an electrified fence – lit at night yet, over 74.5% of men between 15 – 45 years of age are on drugs, the highest rate of cancer in men, women and children in the country; serious water salinity across the land – eventually leading to desertification; highest rate of female feticide in India; high unemployment in the public sector due to systemic discrimination against Sikhs; planned reduction of Sikh employment in the Indian armed forces; the outright theft of water and electricity by the federal government of the state’s resources since 1947; control of prices on farm commodities by the federal government; the subsuming of the Sikh religion into and under Hinduism through ‘Article 25 (b)’ of the Indian constitution; the list is endless.
India must and will continue to beat on the ominous drum of ‘Khalistan’ till all reverberations and vestiges of self-determination by Sikhs are completely crushed and removed, because that is the way of the Hindutva juggernaut which does not acknowledge any constitutionally legal dissent, especially by minorities like the Sikhs who have been hounded for generations because their ‘humanistic’ ideology is contradictory to the belief system of the Brahminical Hindu leaders at the helm in India.
Jagar Singh Johal aka Jaggi is being made an example by the Indian Hindutva forces to show the Sikh diaspora that Sikhs are not safe anywhere if they speak up for ‘human rights’ or ‘Sikh rights’ and will be persecuted and prosecuted for standing up for basic human dignity and liberty.
According to Amnesty International as reported by Al Jazeera, “Three decades after the U.N. Convention against Torture imposed measures to eradicate the practice, torture still happens in 141 countries — many of which are signatories to that convention.” Medieval style torture is still used commonly in India, which includes electric shocks, mock executions, water torture, rape and sexual violence, crushing body parts, boiling, roasting and the pulling of teeth. With this level of cruelty any kind of confession can be extracted from anyone. India of course is not a signatory to this UN Convention against Torture, which is not surprising! Indian enacted the most draconian laws specifically to crush the Sikhs in 1985 called the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, commonly known as TADA, an Indian anti-terrorism law and then the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) an Act passed in 2002, with the objective of strengthening anti-terrorism operations. Under the guise of these laws thousands of legal dissenters, human rights activists and many innocent minorities, such as Sikh, Muslim, Dalit, Tribals, etc, have continued to suffer untold indignities under the steel boot of the politicized police.
With the judiciary a slave of the legislature most of the time, corruption running rampant, cronyism the norm, with the new wave of Hindutva peer pressure to conform, so rare is the judge who can honestly say that he/she is completely unbiased to perform their duties and safe from the piercing eyes of the Hinduvta forces. In this kind of vitiated atmosphere even ‘God’ cannot get justice!
Currently Jaggi is being given the judicial run around – Indian style! It is very common for civil and criminal cases to take 15 years to culminate. Further, there is no system of a ‘jury’ rather a single judge decides the fate of the alleged suspect. With India being #79 on the corruption scale out of 176, its little wonder the globally touted democracy is more of a demon-cracy!
Jagtar Singh Johal, a 30 year old Sikh, born in Glasgow, Scotland, living in Dumbarton, UK was abducted and detained in Jalandhar, Punjab on November 4, 2017 while vacationing in Punjab. Mr.Johal had already been in Punjab for nearly five weeks, since October 2, 2017 when while shopping in Jalandhar with his newly wed wife and a female cousin he was abducted by plainclothes policemen.
Mr. Johal’s crimes according to the Indian authorities reportedly include, ‘running a magazine’ in the UK of atrocities during the 1984 Sikh Genocide and ‘influencing the youth through social media’.
Mr.Johal the alleged owner of the www.neverforget84.com has a fairly comprehensive website outlining all the serious human rights abuses meted out to the Sikhs of Punjab and elsewhere. There is absolutely nothing on the website that can be construed as subversive or influencing anyone in any negative manner. There are many websites in the diaspora focused on the ‘Sustained Sikh Genocide 1984 -1998’ detailing the atrocities perpetrated by the Indian Government on the Sikh collective.
Conflating genuine concerns of these flagrant human violations with alleged terrorism is something the Indian regime specializes in regularly in order to brow beat the Sikhs into submission.
The Indian government and its leaders love ‘mainstreaming’ all and any disruptive minorities, so that they fall in line with fascist Hindutva. This type of behavior by a government will only further alienate the common citizen, especially religious minorities rather than unifying people.
External Relations Secretary Fiona Hyslop says the Scottish Government is, “deeply concerned” about the case.
The Indian Government must release Mr.Johal immediately and the police officials and politicians be taken to task who hatched this nefarious plot against an innocent British-Sikh citizen.
Sikhs have had enough with the incessant meddling by the Indian intelligence in the internal affairs of the Sikh Faith. The American Sikh Council (ASC) reiterates its call to all gurdwaras across the diaspora to not allow any Indian government official to speak from their stages.