European Sikhs hold anti-India protest demo in Brussels

Brussels, March 27 (KMS): The European Sikhs, today, held an anti-India protest demonstration in front of the Brussels Parliament.

The speakers on the occasion strongly denounced the Modi government for harassing the Sikh community in India, adding that the Indian government had arrested 108 Sikhs so far and they have been put in different jails of India.

They said that Amritpal Singh, who is an important leader of the Sikhs, has not been shown by the Indian government and expressed their fear that he might be killed in a fake encounter.

The speakers, including Raghubir Singh of Sikh Federation, Chain Singh of Shiromani Akali Dal, Dalwinder Singh of SAD Amritsar, Gurmeet Singh of Sikh Federation, Germany, Partap Singh from Germany, Manjot Singh from Belgium, Binder Singh (event organiser, Satnam Singh (Babbar) and Rajinder Singh Baba from Belgium have asked the Indian government to release the members of the Sikh community.

Later, European Sikh Sanghat presented a memorandum to the European Commission.

Following is the full text of the memorandum.

27 March 2023

Dear Josep Borrell Fontelles
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission for a Stronger Europe in the World
Subject: EU Sikhs call on the European commission to challenge India’s massive security crackdown and suspension of civil liberties in Punjab
Sikhs across Europe and other parts of the globe are alarmed and unsettled by developments in the last five days in the Sikh-dominated State of Punjab. Many are concerned for the safety of their loved ones, including friends and family living there and who are visiting from EU countries given the deeply disturbing and worrying developments.

We appeal to you as the High Representative and Vice President of the European Commission for responsibility in this area to immediately raise concerns along with EU Member States with the Indian authorities on the use of draconian laws to arrest and detain well over a thousand Sikh activists.

Immediately following G20 meetings in Amritsar the Indian authorities launched a massive security crackdown in Punjab to arrest youth leader, Bhai Amritpal Singh the head of Waris Punjab De on trumped-up charges.

Well over a thousand Sikh activists belonging to a range of Sikh organisations have been arrested and detained. The Indian authorities have used these tactics in the past for extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.

The fate of Bhai Amritpal Singh remains unknown. Initial reports suggested Bhai Amritpal Singh was taken into police custody and moved to an undisclosed location. Later Punjab Police claimed he was a fugitive and a massive manhunt was underway. Many fear he will be extrajudicially murdered.

Internet services are totally suspended across the Sikh-dominated state and section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code has been imposed suspending civil liberties of assembly and protest by prohibiting the assembly of four or more people. Travel within the state has come to a complete halt.

Tens of thousands of Sikhs from the Diaspora, including hundreds if not thousands from EU countries, are currently visiting Punjab. It has emerged the security crackdown was sanctioned more than two weeks earlier after Union Home Minister Amit Shah summoned Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on 2 March. We are surprised countries with large numbers of Sikh citizens, like the UK, Canada and the USA that would have gathered intelligence did not seem appropriate to liaise with other countries and warn its citizens from travelling to the Punjab.

The European Commission working with EU member states must immediately raise concerns with the Indian authorities on the use of draconian laws to arrest and detain Sikh activists, the suspension of civil liberties and work with EU member states to ensure the safety of their Sikh citizens and residents who are currently visiting Punjab. These are the same types of tactics used by the Indian authorities in the 1980s to justify torture and fake police encounters.

European Sikh Sanghat

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