OTTAWA, Canada—As the health of Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa deteriorates to dangerous levels, Canadian Sikhs are calling on the Government of Canada to speak out. The Coalition of Sikh Organizations is hosting a Community Town Hall on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 that will include a live stream from Punjab, India with Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa, pending his health.
Canadian Sikhs are concerned that Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa’s life may be at risk as India refuses to release 6 Sikh Political Prisoners that have served their terms, but remain imprisoned for political purposes.
“The Government of India has thus far been silent on its illegal detention of Sikh Prisoners. We’re worried that this injustice will result in another, as Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa has vowed to continue his Hunger Strike until death, for the right of illegally detained Sikh and non-Sikh Political Prisoners,” said Amarjit Singh from Ontario Gurdwara Committee.
Canadian Sikhs are deeply concerned by the actions of the Indian authorities, as they have escalated their aggression toward minorities. Recently, Indian authorities entered a Sikh Gurdwara in plain clothes, detained Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa and eventually produced him before an executive magistrate on December 6, 2013 without legal representation. Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa was remanded into custody for a period of 15 days and has since been released.
“Canadian Sikhs are feeling quite uneasy given the history of impunity and violence by Indian authorities, in the illegal detainment of minorities and Sikh youth,” said President of Ontario Khalsa Darbar Avtar Singh Punia.
After decades of forced disappearances, kidnappings and extra judicial killings of Sikhs in Punjab by government authorities, Canadian Sikhs are now worried that India’s refusal to apply the law equally for minorities could exacerbate existing trauma felt both in Punjab and the diaspora, as they fear for the safety of family members and loved ones.
“We’re thankful for the democratic institutions of Canada, the due process of law and equality provided by the judicial system. We hope that the Government of Canada can lead by example as a beacon of hope by expressing our concerns to their counterparts in India,” added a Inderjit Singh, Youth Coordinator for COSO.
The Coalition of Sikh Organizations (COSO) has extended an invitation to Members of Federal and Provincial Parliament to attend a Community gathering and hear the concerns of Sikh Canadians.
Sikh Community Town Hall – Mr Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa
Date: Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
Location: Chandni Gateway – 5 Gateway Blvd, Brampton
Time: 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Details of the event are available here.