Ottawa (Canada), March 23 (KMS): Local Sikhs in Fort St. John city in Canada have called upon residents to join their peaceful protest against human rights violations in India this weekend.
The local Sikhs said since March 18, 2023, internet services have been suspended in the Indian state of Punjab as authorities search for pro-Khalistan leader Amritpal Singh and his associates. The police say he was able to “slip” away Saturday during an attempt to arrest him and a group of his followers. Officers have since made more than 100 “preventative arrests” of people they say were “attempting to disturb law and order.”
The recent crackdown on Sikh activists is still unclear under Indian law, as the police have provided no reasonable explanation. There are reports of mass arrests in Punjab as the Indian government conducts an operation targeting Sikh youth.
Harpreet Singh, a member of the Fort St. John Sikh Gurdwara, said the so-called massive operation against Sikh activists in Punjab has no legal grounding. “It is a clear violation of human rights in Punjab as there is no legal case against Bhai Amritpal Singh and other Sikh activists,” he said.
Manveer Singh, a resident of Fort St. John, says Sikhs worldwide are in a state of panic due to the events unfolding in Punjab.
The Sikh community of Fort St. John hopes to create awareness of Punjab’s crisis and urge all residents to participate in their peaceful protest this Saturday outside the North Peace Cultural Centre.
Manjot Singh, a Northern Lights College student, said most Sikh students he has talked to are disturbed by the events happening in Panjab. “I have been unable to connect with my family members for the last five days,” he said.
Canada’s New Democratic Party Leader, Jagmeet Singh, raised concerns about the Punjab situation and urged the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to intervene. “I am calling on Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government to immediately contact their Indian counterparts to express concern regarding the suspension of civil liberties and the safety of Canadians in Punjab,” he said.
The World Sikh Organization of Canada in a statement condemned the “Indian government’s operation, which has provided no reasons for the arrest of Singh and his companions. Indian colonial-era laws, like the National Security Act, have been deployed to detain individuals without charge for up to 12 months.”