The bright lamp in the darkness of state oppression – Jaswant Singh Khalra

Today, September 6, 2021 is the 26th anniversary of the Sikh martyr Jaswant Singh Khalra, a beacon of hope for the undocumented Sikh youth murdered over a decade and half of state repression in Punjab, India. The American Sikh Council (ASC) continues to remember the sacrifice of the great Sikh hero Jaswant Singh Khalra, who has inspired millions of Sikhs worldwide, to stand up against the tyranny of the Indian regime.

In 1995, the Punjab police abducted Jaswant Singh Khalra from outside his house while washing his car in broad daylight in Amritsar. KPS Gill the then Director General of Police, also known as the butcher of Punjab ordered the kidnapping, torture, and the murder of this human rights defender who uncovered and exposed the mass murder directed by the Indian regime of over 25,000 Sikhs whose records were uncovered from the various crematoriums in and around Amritsar, Panjab.

After over ten years of painstaking work by several human rights organizations in and out of Punjab, in 2005, six police officials were convicted who participated in Jaswant Singh’s extrajudicial murder. Finally in 2007, the Punjab and Haryana High Court upheld five convictions, increasing all sentences to life imprisonment. The Indian government has got away with impunity and has never held KPS Gill and thousands of other government officials accountable for the Sustained Sikh Genocide 1984 – 1998.

Under the pretext of terrorism and separatism, multiple Indian governments in succession, starting in 1984 continued a policy of extreme repression which culminated in the mass genocide of Sikhs across the killing fields of rural Punjab till 1998. The terror unleashed by the Indian state has been downplayed with the tactic support of the state and the coopted private media.

Today Jaswant Singh even has a park named after him in the state of California, but every effort is being made to erase his name in Indian Punjab.

Several books about his life have been published, but one in particular which is recently published, is focused on young children and youth has brought by a well-known author Gurmeet Kaur. This beautifully illustrated book has been published in Gurmukhi and English separately, bringing alive the great Jaswant Singh’s life. The book is available at www.pippal.org

Every Sikh family needs to read and remember the great sacrifice of Sirdar Jaswant Singh Khalra, so that our next generation gets inspired to stand up aginst tyranny and look after humanity, just like the great Gurus of the Sikh Religion have taught all of us.

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