SAN FRANCISCO, California, USA—Sikhs in large numbers will gather at San Francisco Civic Center on June 7, 2015 to hold a “freedom march” to commemorate the anniversary of the 1984 Indian Army invasion of Sri Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple), the holiest Sikh shrine, in Amritsar, Punjab. Along with the focus on condemning the increasing Government brutalities on the Sikhs and other minorities in India, the marchers will also express solidarity with Bapu Surat Singh Khalsa, a Californian who has completed 130 days of hunger strike for the rights of political prisoners in India.
Thirty one years ago, Indian Government ordered military action to flush out a handful of militants from Harmandir Sahib complex. The timing of Operation Blue Star coincided with a Sikh religious day, the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev, the founder of the Harmandir Sahib. Sikhs from all over the world visit the shrine on this day. Many Sikhs view the timing and attack by the Indian Army as an attempt to inflict maximum casualties on Sikhs and demoralise them.
Similar to 2014, the San Francisco Civil Center event is being collaborated by Sikh Gurdwaras, organizations, and student bodies, to express solidarity against State sponsored oppression that still continues in India against its minorities. Organizers estimate that over 15,000 Sikhs from all over California will take part in the event. Last year was a major success as over 10,000 participated from far and year.
The march will commence at 12pm sharply and continue for 4 hours. Exhibitions displaying rare pictures from 1984, artwork, and speeches, in English and Punjabi by renowned speakers, will be the center of attraction at the march.
Buses have been booked from as far away as Yuba City and Fresno. The Sikh Sangat (congregation) is advised to contact their local gurdwaras to request transportation. Bay Area Sikhs are advised to travel by buses or BART. Street parking will be free since the event is being organized on a Sunday. Food and light refreshments will be served.