Sikh Activists Protest In Solidarity With Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa Outside Indian Consulate in Vancouver

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VANCOUVER – Sikh activistsrallied outside the IndianConsulate in downtownVancouver to show solidaritywith the fasting Sikh activist inPunjab, Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa.Khalsa, on fast to press for therelease of Sikh political prisoners,was rounded up by thepolice evoking a sharp reactionamong the local Sikh community.Under the aegis of the BC SikhSociety, eight groups, includingKhalistan supporters showed upoutside the Indian Consulate.Prominent leaders HarbhajanSingh Atwal and Karnail SinghMann later handed over a memorandumto consulate officials,seeking amnesty for the jailedmilitants.Ranjeet Singh Khalsa, BandaSingh Bahadur Society, said itwas a matter of shame that theruling SAD in Punjab which hadonce opposed stateoppression was now itselfindulging in human rightsviolations and trying tomuzzle dissent.Last Sunday, these groupshad staged a demonstrationat Guru Nanak SikhTemple in Surrey andorganised a public forumwith Khalsa addressingthe gathering throughwebcam.Moninder Singh, BC SikhSociety spokesman, alleged thatthe Sikh clergy was trying toconfuse the community by portrayingKhalsa’s fast in a badlight.“Fasting is a political tool whichhas been used by Sikh heroes inthe past too. It is only unacceptableif done for the self or religiouspurification.”Meantime, victim of the 1984anti-Sikh pogrom, Jagdish Kaur,who is touring the country withher son Gurdeep Singh, saidhaving failed to get justice inIndia, she now expected hercompatriots in Canada to buildpressure for justice.