Sikh group urges US lawmakers to take notice of increasing human rights violations under Modi regime

TCN News

Ahead of next week’s meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Trump, the US-based human rights advocacy group ‘Sikhs For Justice’ (SFJ) submitted a memorandum to US lawmakers urging them to undertake a Congressional delegation visit to Punjab to assess, report and apprise the US Congress of the recent spate of human rights violations against the Sikh community.

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On Tuesday and Wednesday, June 20 and 21, the rights group’s delegation met with Senators and members of the US House of Representatives and discussed the issues of Article 25 of the Indian Constitution which strips Sikhs of their separate religious identity by labeling them as Hindus and by denying the group the basic right to self-determination. They also brought to light the incidents in which members of the Sikh community have endured genocidal violence perpetrated by the Modi regime.

Citing the recent illegal detention and torture of Sikh political activists, the memorandum states, “On one hand, the recent events raise a serious question on the religious and political freedoms available to the Sikh community in Modi’s India, despite hollow claims of ‘secularism’ and ‘freedom of religion’. While on the other hand, the brutal treatment of Sikhs by the Indian state, heightened and increased under Modi, necessarily follows the pattern through which the Indian government has dealt with Sikhs in the past when the Armed Forces of India and other security agencies carried out so-called ‘counter insurgency operations’ in Punjab to crush the Sikhs’ rights movement during the 80s and 90s.”

“Since religious freedom functions at the core of American values, we have asked the members of Congress to stand against the persecution of Sikhs under the Modi regime,” said attorney Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal advisor to SFJ. “Sikhs in India are targeted for campaigning to restore their separate religious identity and their inalienable rights to self-determination.”

The memorandum also mentions the incidents after June 2014, which has cost Sikh lives in India.

With the support of Sikh Gurudawara Committees from across America, Sikhs For Justice will stage a Punjab Independence Rally coinciding with the Modi-Trump summit, on Monday June 26, from 12:30 until 2 p.m., in front of White House.