FREMONT, California, USA—Sikhs and human rights advocates worldwide will donate blood during the week of 29 October, to help raise awareness for the oldest hunger-striker Bapu Surat Singh Khalsa.
For the past two years, Sikhs and human rights advocates have donated blood and posted pictures of support on social media. The event will fall during the Sikh Genocide Remembrance Week, where Sikhs from across the world commemorate those who died during the 1984 genocide in Delhi, India.
Affectionately called Bapu ji (translating as father), 84-year-old American resident and Indian native Surat Singh Khalsa has been on a hunger strike for nearly 1000 days in Punjab to raise awareness about Sikh political prisoners. The majority of these prisoners have served their sentences and continue to languish in jail. Due to Bapu ji’s hunger strike, several prisoners have been permanently released and others have received parole for the first time in decades.
The week-long campaign will see Sikhs giving their blood for justice, something ingrained within Sikhs. By bringing awareness to the situation, Sikhs hope to get Indian authorities to look into the cases of the remaining political prisoners.
Many Sikhs regard Surat Singh’s hunger strike as a service to humanity, a core principle of Sikhism. This is echoed in the campaign, which hopes to increase blood donations from Asian blood donors who are more likely to have a rare blood group.
A blood drive in Fremont, California has been organized to help raise awareness for Bapu ji’s hunger strike and Sikh political prisoners. The blood donation event will take place on Saturday 25 November, 2017 at Gurdwara Sahib Fremont, from 9am to 3pm.