Cuffs arrest

Latest updates – British Sikh man tortured in Indian jail, without charge

Respected Scottish Sikh activist Jagtar Singh, who went to India for his wedding, had a sack thrown over his head and was bundled into a van whilst out shopping with family, and is now being implicated in a murder case without any official charge levelled at him. 

 

For further information, or for comment from members of the Sikh community/interview opportunities, email Jasveer@SikhPA.com.


LATEST UPDATE

Sikhs across the world are sharing their angst at hearing about the case of Jagtar Singh, recognised as yet another all too familiar tale of a Sikh activist being detained based on spurious claims by the Indian state, with the hashtag #FreeJaggiNow going viral.

 

15.12.17

Jagtar Singh given two more days in remand in 15th court appearance

The case of Jagtar Singh repeated a familiar pattern as once again a Punjab magistrate court judge extended his stay in police custody remand, without an official charge put forward against him.

A request for 10 days extension of his stay in remand with Khanna police was rejected by the judge, with only two days granted. However, the cycle of injustice continues to frustrate supporters of the #FreeJaggiNow campaign, especially with the British High Commission still failing to get a private meeting with Jagtar Singh, nor arrange a private medical, a hearing for which has been set for March 2018.

News from the campaign team also stated Jagtar Singh was being kept isolated and in handcuffs 24 hours a day. Friends and family also feel he looks ‘distressed’ when appearing in court, contradicting the claim made by the Foreign Office that he was ‘fine’, a suggestion which infuriated supporters, given the fact British officials are yet to meet him privately, nor medically examine him.

The campaign team will be escalating the situation with the Foreign Office in the hope to push forward with moves to have Indian authorities actually provide some evidence for their claims. Thus far all media accusations of Jagtar Singh’s involvement in criminal activities have been self-admittedly ‘inadmissible in court’, leading to accusations of him being on ‘media trial’, with these claims being the only real justification for his detainment without charge.


14.12.17

Breakdown of latest ‘confession’ by Jagtar Singh

Indian news outlet News18 yesterday claimed to have more information from a ‘confession’ by Jagtar Singh, which similarly to the India Today piece, was full of complete fabrications, highly flawed and breached the Scottish Sikh’s legal rights.

The news piece claimed Jagtar Singh met Taljeet Singh, also referred to as Jimmy, at a Gurdwara in the UK, where plans were made to arrange the murders of so-called Hindu leaders in Punjab. However, Jagtar Singh was shown on camera to actually say nothing of this nature.

News 18 claimed that Jagtar Singh was confessing to sending a document to others, created for the targeted killings, involving funding, the arrangement of a pistol, and a hitman. In the video ‘confession’ Jagtar Singh only spoke about speaking with and meeting other Sikhs, who praised him for his work in translating articles from English to Punjabi. The news report also breached many legalities of the case, as Jagtar Singh’s lawyer has detailed (see article below).

Sikh Press Association press officer Jasveer Singh said of the report, ‘It is actually incredible the Indian media can put such things out and still be viewed as in any way credible. Imagine a UK media outlet putting a video out of someone saying something, yet reporting he had said something else completely. They would rightfully be ridiculed and dismissed as a credible source. This is how all should also view these media organisations – India Today and News18 – in their coverage of the Jagtar Singh case.

‘We will continue to reach out to both to see if they would like to work with us so we can push for some accurate and fair coverage. Thus far, Jagtar Singh is facing trial by media and they have already damned him as a terrorist. We hope UK authorities intervene as soon as they can, because even without charge or trial, the Indian media are portraying Jagtar Singh as guilty.’

 

Punjab Police prevent Jagtar meeting with his lawyer as NIA take over case

In a move guaranteed to bring more concern about the human rights breaches of the Punjab Police, Jagtar Singh was prevented from meeting his lawyer yesterday.

According to Sikh Siyasat news, lawyer Jaspal Singh was prevented from seeing his client after the NIA (National Investigation Agency) took control of the case. For quotes and more, see the full article from Sikh Siyasat here.

 

Jagtar Singh’s lawyer rips apart TV ‘confession’

Jaspal Singh, lawyer of Jagtar Singh, highlighted the many flaws and and legal discrepancies of the TV so-called confessions of the 30 year old Scotsman.

Stating that videos were recorded in police custody, in unknown conditions and without legal representation, and are inadmissible in court according to the Indian Evidence Act, Jaspal Singh further stated that the history of Punjab police regarding torture and duress is well documented in regards to extracting forced confessions.

Key points from his response included:

  • Confessions in police custody not admissible in court.
  • Well documented history of police abuse undermines credibility of confessions during interrogation.
  • No recovery of evidence has been made or presented to courts as a result of interrogation.
  • Leaking of “exclusive” footage to the media raises serious concerns about the motivations of investigating agencies and police.
  • No information in the videos substantiates the allegations.

Section 25 Indian Evidence Act 1872:
No confession made to a police-officer, shall be proved as against a person accused of any offence.

These points were made on the #FreeJaggiNow official Facebook page, based on a video Jaspal Singh made, which can be seen here.

 


13.12.17

‘Foreign Office are more concerned about trade relations with India’ – Sikh Federation UK

The Sikh Federation UK (SFUK) accused the Foreign Office of ‘dumbing down’ responses to questions on the case of Jagtar Singh, suggesting they are are ‘more concerned about trade relations with India than the illegal detention and torture of an innocent British citizen’.

The NGO Sikh ethos political advocacy group released the statement under the heading ‘Foreign Office under pressure not to repeat the same mistakes as in the Chennai Six case’, citing the written parliamentary question raised by Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, Slough Labour MP, as well as the Early Day Motion put forward on the issue.

The statement comes after supporters of the #FreeJaggiNow aired frustration about the fact British authorities are unable to arrange a private meeting with Jagtar Singh, nor an independent medical for the 30 year old Scotsman who has been detained for 37 days without charge by Punjab Police whilst reporting torture.

See the full statement here.

 


12.12.17

Supporters shocked Foreign Office claim Jagtar is ‘fine’, without a private meeting or medical

A letter sent out to Preet Kaur and other MPs from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the case of Jagtar Singh claimed he is ‘fine’, despite reports of his torture.

After Jagtar Singh reported torture to his lawyer upon the first chance he got in early November, the British High Commission (BHC) were pushed into agreeing to request a private meeting with the 30 year old Scotsman and also arranging an independent medical for him. However, the BHC have been unable to do either, yet still remarkably claimed in the letter Jagtar was ‘fine’, coming from spokesman Mark Field.

 

UK Government trying to get out of ‘extreme action’ promise – Sikh Federation UK

The Sikh Federation UK stated #FreeJaggiNow campaigners are ‘questioning the effectiveness’ of the Foreign Office, three weeks since an official claimed there would be ‘extreme action’ regarding Jagtar Singh’s claims of torture.

In a press release, Edgbaston Labour MP Preet Kaur stated, ‘We can not afford a repeat of the delay…in getting the release of the Chennai Six’, echoing the sentiment of supporters who feel immediate intervention is required.

See the full statement here.

 


11.12.17

In 14th court appearance in 37 days, Jagtar Singh re-arrested AGAIN back into police custody

British Sikh Jagtar Singh was presented before a Ludhiana magistrate court judge today and was referred to judicial custody, only to be re-arrested and placed immediately back in police custody.

The latest arrest comes from Khanna police and is related to another murder of a Hindu leader. Remaining consistent throughout, once again Punjab Police did not put forward any actual charge, nor any FIR (First Incident Report) which names him in relation to a crime.

Supporters and social commentators with knowledge on Punjab’s legal system believe the state police are doing all they can to ensure a long and uncomfortable spell in detainment for Jagtar Singh, without needing to provide any real evidence that he has committed a crime.

The 30 year old Scot is once again going to appear in court in four days. A similar outcome is expected, especially after Indian media have openly portrayed Jagtar Singh as a terrorist, meaning an embarrassment for the Punjab Police should he be released any time soon.  This has reinforced calls for immediate intervention from British authorities by supporters of the #FreeJaggiNow team.

See a report from Punjab by Sikh Siyasat News here.

 

 


10.12.17

 

Sikh activist group ask why Delhi High Court will not allow Amnesty International to examine Punjab issues

Dal Khalsa today questioned what Indian authorities were hiding by not allowing human rights groups like Amnesty International the full ability to examine issues in Punjab.

Citing many examples, including the current #FreeJaggiNow case, the group slammed the actions of the state which sees it continue to ignore calls from British authorities for simple requests for Jagtar Singh, such as allowing him a private meeting with British High Commission staff and granting him an independent medical to look into reports of torture.

See more on this here via Sikh Siyasat News.

 

Indian MP dares Indian government to prove claims of ISI Pakistan link to Jagtar Singh case

Criticising the Punjab Police for allegedly failing to ensure fair trial of UK national Jagtar Singh, Aam Aadmi Party’s Patiala MP Dharamvira Gandhi on Sunday dared Indian authorities to prove the ISI hand behind the crimes linked to the 30 year old Scotsman.

“I don’t say that ISI or Pakistan cannot be involved in this game. But if there is a reality in this claim, the government should prove it,” said Gandhi, while talking to the media on the sidelines of a seminar on drugs, in Amritsar.

Jagtar Singh has been detained without charge since November 4th by Punjab Police. Captain Amarinder, Punab Chief Minister, claimed his arrest saw eight murders solved, in relation to a link with ISI and a plan to destabilise Punjab. These claims have not yet been backed up with any evidence, which is why Gandhi has asked the Indian government to prove their claims.


09.12.17

 

Jagtar Singh’s lawyer speaks out on ‘character assassination’ by Indian media

Jaspal Singh, lawyer for Jagtar Singh, spoke out about the India Today coverage on his client today, claiming it was ‘character assassination by the media, investigation agencies and the government‘, in an interview shared by the official #FreeJaggiNow campaign.

The six minute video – available to watch here – has Jaspal Singh detailing many issues with the coverage by India Today, which saw a series of mistakes and blatant manipulation by the presenting team, including;

  • Showing pictures of random UK Sikhs in Pakistan, claiming they met with ISI officers, which turned out to be a meeting of historians regarding Sikh history in Pakistan.
  • Claiming Jagtar Singh had been to Dubai for terror training, when he has never been there.
  • Stating Jagtar Singh had confessed to being involved in terror plots, whilst only showing clips of him detailing translating articles/speeches from English to Punjabi.

Jaspal Singh stated the video has ‘no authenticity to it‘ as a confession, which was admitted by the Gaurav C Sawant the India Today presenter, who said once during a 20minute segment that the so-called confession was ‘inadmissible in court’.

Jaspal Singh also openly claimed ‘what they (media and investigation agencies) are doing is against the rule of law…even Indian law’.

 

Sikh Federation UK calls Britain ‘powerless’ to prevent abuse of Jagtar Singh

A press release by the Sikh Federation UK claimed ‘Britain appears powerless’ to stop abuses of Jagtar Singh’s human rights, as the 30 year old remains detained without charge by Punjab Police.

The release came after an India Today news segment on the #FreeJaggiNow case was widely criticised for being full of mistakes and showing clear bias. The press release goes on to state ‘The family of Jagtar Singh will now be demanding the Foreign Office issue a strongly worded public statement challenging the false narrative to date by the Indian authorities and stopping them spreading misinformation.’

See the full release here.


08.12.17

 

‘Jagtar Singh is being demonised by Indian media, just as I have been': British Sikh called a ‘terrorist’ on Indian TV speaks out

A British Sikh has spoken out after India Today callously labelled him a ‘terrorist’ based on nothing more than a picture.

Yesterday evening India Today, one of India’s most respected media outlets, aired a news segment deemed as highly flawed and biased in relation to the Jagtar Singh case. During this segment images of Sikhs were shown with an alleged ‘Pakistan ISI Officer’, exclaimed by news presenter Gaurav C Sawant.

The images were completely unexplained, with nothing added to the context of the picture or the individuals. Sikh PA can exclusively reveal that one of the Sikhs pictured is Bobby Singh, a married father from the midlands.

Bobby Singh said on seeing his image broadcasted by Indian media, ‘The accusations I am a terrorist or linked with Pakistan ISI are a load of nonsense. India Today haven’t even tried to name us in the news segment and have not explained why we were there. They should be checking sources but that kind of media coverage is what organisations like India Today can get away with in India. Unfortunately, people believe it.

‘I was there in 2012 during Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Gurpurab (Guru’s celebration – for Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s birthday) to visit Nankana Sahib (Sikh historic Gurdwara in the town Guru Nanak Dev Ji was born). There, due to my open interest in Sikh history, we went to meet the head of the Dyal Singh Majetia Trust, a history organization named after the famed Sikh activist and founder of the Punjab National Bank. This happened to be Ihsan H Nadiem. In the image shared he is presenting us with a set of books on Sikh-Pakistani history, and that’s all. This is the only time I have met him.

“I would like to find out who they got the pictures from. It’s been terrible to see me linked with terrorism based on a picture taken five years ago. I have had family members straight away saying to me ‘don’t go to India’. Even my wife and children don’t want to go now. Before all this we thought we have a British passport, we are safe, but now with this Jagtar Singh case, we don’t feel that way anymore.

‘Seeing what they have done here has only added to my belief that everything against Jagtar Singh is fabricated and he is being demonised for nothing, just as I have been by Indian media.’

For more information or to speak directly with anyone involved, please email Media@SikhPA.com.

 

Indian media claim Jagtar Singh confesses to terrorism…then show video of him detailing writing articles

In a strange turn of events, one of India’s biggest media outlets claimed to have a ‘confession’ from Jagtar Singh regarding involvement in terror activities, and then went on to show a clip of him talking about translating Punjabi articles into English.

The news segment by India Today has shocked many for its clearly flawed and biased approach to the news story involving Jagtar Singh. Whilst presenter of the segment Gaurav C Sawant stated once during the news clip that the confessions were ‘inadmissible as evidence in a court of law’ he went on to use it to portray Jagtar Singh as a ‘suspected Khalistani terrorist’, whilst still no official charge has been made.

Guest commentator on the show Manjeet Negi claimed Jagtar Singh confessed to being involved in terror plots but nothing of this kind was shown to be said by the 30-year-old Scotsman from Dumbarton. Instead, Jagtar Singh is seen on video saying ‘My interest in 1984 (Sikh genocide)… came from seeing speeches by Sant Jarnail Singh Khalsa Bhindranwale’ before the clip ended with Jagtar stating ‘I translated articles from Punjabi to English.’

The India Today news segment has added to concerns that Jagtar Singh is facing trial by media. The videos, which were said to have been shared by the Punjab Police, added to the outlandish statements from Captain Amarinder the Chief Minister of Punjab who claimed in a press conference that eight murders had been solved upon Jagtar Singh’s arrest, which supporters feel mean the British Sikh will never receive a fair trial in India.

A statement from the official #FreeJaggiNow campaign team shared on social media stated, ‘We are appalled and shocked about the way in which Indian police are conducting and providing investigatory interviews…This is an outrage and serious questions need to be raised by the UK government direct to India.’

Part of the segment showed images of unidentified Sikhs with their faces circled whilst Sawant proclaimed these were suspected terrorists, without naming them or saying why they are terrorists. Sikh PA can exclusively reveal these images are from a meeting between UK Sikhs and Pakistani historian Ihsan H Nadiem in 2012, who is described as a ‘Pakistan ISI officer’ in the news report. The meeting took place in Pakistan and was based around sharing information and resources regarding the history of Pakistan, which has a strong Sikh heritage. At the time, Nadiem was the head of the Dyal Singh Majetia Trust, famed Sikh activist and founder of the Punjab National Bank.

India Today also showed a separate video clip of Taljit Singh, also referred to as Jimmy Singh, who was also arrested in relation to the cases Jagtar Singh is implicated in. In this video clip Jimmy Singh claims Jagtar Singh was involved with alleged terror activities, although this ‘confession’ is still inadmissible in court, leading to Sawant stating police are still seeking ‘corroborative evidence’.

The segment also mentioned an ‘encrypted mobile software and chat application service’ being used by those involved, not mentioning it is the massively popular whatsapp mobile app, in an attempt to make this fact sound more heinous than it really is. A claim that Jagtar Singh has been to Dubai in the video was also denied by the family, who state he has never even been to the country.

India Today had a representative from Shiv Shena, a far-right Hindu nationalist group, discuss the case, in an attempt to further the notion that support for Sikh rights and Khalistan amount to terrorist activities.

In August of this year India Today were responsible for posting an image of an Al Qaeda terrorist photo-shopped to be shown wearing a Sikh turban for no apparent reason, sparking outrage among the Sikh community and fuelling the belief that India Today propagates anti-Sikh sentiment to the Indian public.

The Sikh Press Association have reached out directly to India Today to see if they would like leads of the #FreeJaggiNow campaign to speak on the show to provide some balance on the case to explain why many believe he is being unjustly treated by the Indian media and legal system.


07.12.17

Early Day Motion on Jagtar Singh tabled to force UK Parliament debate on the case

An Early Day Motion (EDM) tabled by Labour MP Jim Cunningham of Coventry South at the behest of his constituents requesting the case of Jagtar Singh to be debated in parliament.

Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, Slough’s Labour MP, tweeted that he was “Pleased to sign” the motion, whilst also sharing the fact he submitted a written request to have Foreign and Commonwealth Office address the issue directly too. Sikh Federation UK also shared news that Labour MP for Warley John Spellar had also made the same written request.

Supporters of the #FreeJaggiNow campaign have been consistently contacting UK authorities on the issue and will be pleased to see MPs still acting on Jagtar Singh’s situation, which sees him remaining in Punjab Police custody without any official charge and reporting torture to his lawyer.

 


06.12.17

Canadian MP continues to pressure UK High Commission on Jagtar Singh case

Raj Grewal, Liberal Party MP of Brampton East, has addressed concerns of his constituents by continuing to push the Canadian UK High Commission into chasing up “legal representation and consular services” for Jagtar Singh.

Grewal, who originally addressed the UK HC on November 16th with a letter from his office, received a reply from them 19 days later, which he then tweeted to his followers whilst calling for “rule of law and due process” for Jagtar Singh, who was not given an opportunity to see a lawyer for 10 days from his original detainment and also reported severe torture at the hands of the Punjab Police.

Grewal is one of many politicians in Canada, including NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who have called for Indian authorities to be transparent and swift in showing why Jagtar Singh has actually been arrested. Jagtar Singh remains detained by the Punjab Police without any official charge.

 

Amnesty International highlight Punjab Police as danger to “human rights defenders”

A report released by Amnesty International on “deadliest countries to be a human rights defender” referenced the work of Ensaaf, a Sikh legal aid charity working to end impunity in Punjab.

The report, available to read here, specifically looks into the case of Jaswant Singh Khalra as shown by Ensaaf in a documentary. Jaswant Singh was a famous Sikh activist that spoke about the Punjab Police’s mass killings of Sikhs in Canadian parliament, before he himself ended up murdered at the hands of the Punjab Police in 1995.

The news only adds to the concern of #FreeJaggiNow supporters, whilst also adding fuel to their desire to see the 30 year old British Sikh free, knowing what danger he is in, as recognised by Punjab Police.

 

#FreeJaggiNow supporters dismayed London Mayor doesn’t bring up Jagtar Singh case with Punjab CM

Hundreds of supporters of the #FreeJaggiNow campaign aired their discontent at London Mayor, the Labour Party’s Sadiq Khan, suggesting the British Government should apologise for the Jallianwalabagh massacre in 1919, rather than bringing up the case of Jagtar Singh Johal.

Jasveer Singh, Sikh Press Association Press Officer, said on the issue, “This kind of public statement on one of Britain’s most famous crimes during their colonial occupation of Punjab will be well received by many. However, mere lip service will never appease the Sikh community as a whole. Whilst many feel it would be great for British authorities to provide closure on this continued debate about whether Britain should apologise or not, the fact is there is an issue going on right now which thousands of British-Indians are concerned about, and that is the case of Jagtar Singh Johal.

“It would have been more pertinent for Sadiq Khan to raise this issue, especially since he met Captain Amarinder, Punjab Chief Minister, who was quick to say Jagtar Singh’s arrest saw murders solved, without a charge or trial levelled. If Khan wanted to show real intention to work to resolve issues between India and the UK, this current one involving Jagtar Singh’s detainment without charge and torture should have been on the top of his list.”

 

Jagtar Singh released from police custody…only to be re-arrested and placed back

Jagtar Singh today appeared in court for the 13th time in 32 days where a Ludhiana magistrate court judge did not grant Punjab Police’s request for an extension to his stay on remand in police custody, leading to them re-arresting him on a new charge, ensuring he again remains in police custody.

Set to appear in court again in five days, Jagtar Singh’s re-arrest was made based on yet another case, the details of which are still unclear. However, once again there is still no official charge, nor any FIR (First Incident Report) shown to name him. Requests from the British High Commission for a private meeting remain unmet, whilst a hearing for a petitioned request for an independent medical is still set for March 2018.

Many view the continuing cycle of new arrests to ensure Jagtar Singh remains in police custody as clear damning indications of the flawed nature of the Indian legal system, which thus far has produced no evidence on Jagtar Singh’s involvement in any crime, yet still saw Chief Minister Captain Amarinder claim up to eight murders were solved with his arrest, before any trial and even any charge has been made.

Supporters of the #FreeJaggiNow campaign remain steadfast in campaigning for his release.


05.12.17

12th court appearance in 31 days for Jagtar Singh leads to one day remand extension… but STILL no charge

A Punjab Police request for British Sikh Jagtar Singh’s stay in remand under policy custody for a further seven days was rejected and shortened to just one day by a Ludhiana court judge today.

The decision means Jagtar Singh will appear in court again for the third time in four days and for the 12th time in the last 31 days since he was originally detained. The continual extension of Jagtar Singh’s stay on remand has only added to the support of #FreeJaggiNow campaigners, who feel that after 31 days a detainee who had allegedly been watched for a year according to Indian media would have by now been charged by the police for a crime.

The #FreeJaggiNow official campaign support page posted today, “International political pressure has resulted in Jaggi (Jagtar Singh) being treated better by the Ludhiana police. Punjab police are still exerting pressure on the judiciary and causing legal delays by seeking extensive periods of police remand. Today, like yesterday, an extended period of police remand was requested. However, like yesterday the judge granted only one additional day. We won’t allow Jaggi to become another statistic of Indian state oppression.”

British High Commission requests for Jagtar Singh to have an independent medical have still not been granted by Indian authorities, with a petition filed to the court in support of the medical resulting in a court hearing date set for March 2018, five months later than the original request was made. A similar request for a private meeting with Jagtar Singh has still not been granted either, leaving his laywer Jaspal Singh saying recently, “The actions of the Indian authorities shows they have something to hide”.

Jagtar Singh is set to appear in court again tomorrow, where supporters hope for progression on this case, rather than the continued detainment of the 30 year old from Dumbarton, Scotland, without charge.

 


04.12.17

British High Commission request for IMMEDIATE independent medical set by Indian court… for MARCH 2018 hearing

A British High Commission (BHC) request for Jagtar Singh to receive an independent medical to look into his reports of torture was today set for a hearing, FIVE MONTHS after the request was made.

The BHC request, made on November 17th, was outright rejected originally by a judge who believed a medical for Jagtar Singh was done in private by the Punjab Police, the same group who he states tortured him. A petition was filed, aided by requests from Jaspal Singh the lawyer of Jagtar Singh, which saw support for an independent medical shared with the court. The independent medical was deemed necessary by human rights supporters as Jagtar Singh has openly reported torture to his lawyer.

The judge that Jagtar Singh was presented in front of today in court in Ludhiana set a hearing on the petition for the independent medical in March 2018, shocking supporters of the campaign and human rights groups, meaning potentially reports of torture will go un-investigated for a further five months, casting real doubt on the Indian state’s intention to stamp out the notorious treatment detainees receive at the hands of Punjab Police.

 

11th court appearance leads to shortest possible remand extension for Jagtar…but still NO CHARGE

Punjab Police today had a request for Jagtar Singh to be placed in police custody remand for a further seven days rejected by a Ludhiana court judge, with extension given for only one day.

Supporters of the #FreeJaggiNow campaign hope this is a sign that Indian judicial system will force the Punjab Police to move the situation forward, which should mean laying official charges on Jagtar Singh and having the issue taken to trial. Jagtar Singh has been detained by Punjab Police since November 4th without charge and without an FIR (First Incident Report) that actually names him as a suspect in past crimes.

The situation leaves Jagtar Singh with another court appearance set for tomorrow, his 12th in 31 days, which many feel shows clear uncertainty by the Indian judicial system in regards to what Jagtar Singh is actually being detained for.


03.12.17

Theresa May under “intense pressure” to address #FreeJaggiNow case, as 148 MPs asked by constituents to raise issue

The Sikh Federation UK stated Theresa May’s government are under “intense pressure” to take action against the Indian state regarding the torture of British Sikh Jagtar Singh.

The statement was made shortly before it was announced that phase two of the #FreeJaggiNow support campaign had seen 148 MPs contacted by local constituents in order to have them ask the PM and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson what actions are being taken regarding Jagtar Singh’s detainment without charge. This follows a Foreign and Commonwealth Office rep Roy Stewart stating on November 15th that “extreme action” would be taken by UK authorities on the situation.

The topic is again expected to be brought up in parliament, with campaigners hoping for Boris Johnson to finally speak on the situation which has seen Jagtar Singh now detained for 30 days without charge and reporting torture at the hands of Punjab Police.


02.12.17

#FreeJaggiNow team begin second phase of support campaign

Led by the Sikh Federation UK, the Jagtar Singh #FreeJaggiNow team have begun “phase two” of their support campaign.

With the aim being to have supporters contact 200 MPs and encourage them to address their constituents’ concerns about the Jagtar Singh case, an email template has been provided, which includes direct requests to find out what “extreme actions” – based on the statement a Foreign Office rep gave in parliament – will be taken by the Foreign Office in relation to Jagtar Singh’s torture and detainment without charge by Indian authorities.

See more details on phase two here.

 

Jagtar Singh gets yet another two day extension on his stay in remand

Jagtar Singh today appeared in front of a judicial magistrate court just two days since his last court appearance, his eighth court appearance in 28 days.
Here Punjab Police requested a further five day extension of his stay in police custody remand. The request was denied by the judge, which then led to the police asking for a further extension for a different FIR (First Incident Report) based on another killing. Once again, this FIR has not been shown to actually name Jagtar Singh and is just being linked with him by the police. The latest links him with the shooting of an RSS (Hindu nationalist far right org) building in the city of Kidwai Nagar in India, in 2016 when Jagtar Singh was not in the country.
The judge granted the remand extension in police custody for this new FIR. For the previous FIRs linked with him, he will now be kept in judicial custody instead of police custody, where it is believed he will be safer from torture and also more likely to receive a private meeting with British High Commission Staff. Jagtar Singh is set to appear in court again on December 4th.See full detail on this case here via Sikh Siyasat news – https://sikhsiyasat.net/2017/12/02/ludhiana-police-gets-transit-remand-jagtar-singh-jaggi-court-commits-judicial-custody-sultan-masih-case/

01.12.17

UK shadow Foreign Secretary presses Boris Johnson on Jagtar Singh case

Labour MP Emily Thornberry used her position as the shadow Foreign Secretary to put yet more pressure on acting Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, asking “what progress” has been made on the Jagtar Singh case.

Sent on the 27th of November, the letter is the second Emily Thornberry has sent, with the other on the 21st of November. The Islington South and Finsbury MP said a private meeting for Jagtar Singh with British High Commission (BHC) staff “is vital”. The letter also openly stated that Jagtar Singh’s family’s “experience of consular services in India has been decidedly negative”.

The letter – shared by the Sikh Federation and available to read here – also expressed “concern” about the fact the Indian authorities are openly rejecting BHC requests, before asking Boris Johnson for a response “as soon as possible”.


30.11.17

Jagtar Singh’s remand extended to allow Punjab Police to find his passport, 16 days after being told where it is

A judicial magistrate court in Ludhiana today granted the Punjab Police request a two day extension for Jagtar Singh’s stay in police custody to retrieve his British passport, despite the fact they were told about it’s whereabouts 16 days ago.

Punjab Police originally raided the Punjab family home of Jagtar Singh to find his passport on November 4th. Jagtar Singh’s family felt it would be safer to hand it to the British High Commission, which was done on November 8th, before this was officially announced in a Bagha Purana court on November 14th.

The court’s judge granted the extension, for the 8th time, without even hearing Jagtar Singh’s lawyer Jaspal Singh’s response to the request. For quotes and more, see Sikh Siyasat’s news report.

 

British High Commission fail to attend Jagtar Singh court hearing, adding to concern about ability to help

Supporters of the #FreeJaggiNow campaign voiced their frustration at British High Commission (BHC) staff failing to attend Jagtar Singh’s latest court hearing, where his stay on remand in police custody was extended by two days once again.

The failure of consular staff to attend will do nothing to appease supporters of the campaign who feel the UK are showing their impotence in regards to being able to facilitate a fair process for the 30 year old British Sikh, born and raised in Scotland, during his detainment in India.

Reports from India state the BHC said they did not have the available staff to ensure a rep was in attendance.

Jagtar Singh has currently spent 26 days in police custody without an FIR (First Incident Report) being shown to name him, nor any official charge made against him. Despite BHC requests, Punjab Police have also not allowed a private meeting between consular staff and Jagtar Singh, whilst Punjab courts have also ignored their requests to allow him a private medical, to investigate reports of torture.

With Jagtar Singh set to appear in court again on Saturday, should BHC staff fail to attend again, serious questions from supporters of the #FreeJaggiNow campaign are certain to be aimed at the Foreign Office.

 

Jagtar Singh’s grandmother passes away in India following regular police harassment

The #FreeJaggiNow campaign today revealed Jagtar Singh’s grandmother, whom the 30 year old British Sikh stayed with during his time in India, passed away two days ago.

Family of Jagtar Singh believe the stress of the situation definitely helped cause the conditions which led to her death, highlighted by the fact her home was even raided and searched on the day of her funeral. The home where she lived was raided and searched several times, with the family sharing images of the home left looking ransacked after, whilst her phone-line – her only means for contact with the outside world – was also cut-off by police.

Gurpreet Singh, brother of Jagtar Singh, said “She lived in fear during this time. Her home was originally raided by police in their search for the British passports of our family. We don’t know what they were after during the subsequent raids. They smashed the locks on the doors too and the whole family felt constantly intimidated.”

The entire family of Jagtar Singh have complained of intimidation from the Punjab Police, including those in the UK who have received threatening phone calls. Indian media also reported the mobile phones of Jagtar Singh’s India based family were taken by police. Jagtar Singh’s newly wedded wife remains in hiding due to fear of similar treatment.

NOTE – Jagtar Singh’s grandmother is actually his father’s mother’s sister. However, it is common in Punjabi cultures for someone senior in the family to be referred to in this manner.


 

29.11.17

UK Minister of Human Rights addresses Lord Singh question on Jagtar Singh

Lord Ahmad, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister of State and Minister of Human Rights, said the British High Commission (BHC) “will continue to raise this case with the authorities”, in response to a question by Lord Singh of Wimbledon about the Jagtar Singh case.

Shared today in a tweet by the Network of Sikh Organisations, the question was first tabled on November 13th and was responded to on November 27th. The Sikh community and the worldwide supporters of the #FreeJaggiNow are continuing to explore every possible angle to push the UK authorities into the immediate action deemed necessary to prevent further torture of Jagtar Singh at the hands of the Punjab Police. Thus far, Punjab Police have refused court orders and BHC requests to grant Jagtar Singh private time with consular staff or allow an independent medical.


28.11.17

Still in police custody, still no charge: Seventh court appearance in 25 days for Jagtar Singh leads to no change

A judicial magistrate court in Ludhiana today extended the stay in police custody for British Sikh Jagtar Singh by two days, whilst once again no official charge for his detainment was made.

The continual extension of remand, along with the lack of enforcement of British High Commission requests for Jagtar Singh to have a private meeting and independent medical with consular staff, led the 30 year old’s lawyer Jaspal Singh to declare judges were acting as a “postman” would by simply delivering police messages and not looking to “apply their mind”.

The hearing, which saw Jagtar Singh taken into court with his face covered which many believe to be a sign he is being physically gagged, also saw two of the others arrested with the Scotsman have their remand extended. Read more on the details of the hearing here via Sikh Siyasat News.

Jagtar Singh lawyer raises issue of violation of British High Commission court order

Jaspal Singh, the lawyer of Jagtar Singh, today asked a judicial magistrate court about Punjab Police refusal to obey an order to allow Jagtar Singh to meet with British High Commission staff in privacy.

Unfortunately for the British authorities who are having their authority negated, as well as supporters of the #FreeJaggiNow campaign, Jaspal Singh later told media “the court did not take its notice”, regarding his raising of the issue. Jagtar Singh has been waiting for over two weeks for a private meeting with British High Commission (BHC) staff, which thus far has only been allowed to happen in the presence of Punjab Police. This adds to the issue of the lack of a BHC recommended independent medical for Jagtar Singh, to explore the reports of his torture.

In response to this denial of the BHC request, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office pointed back to their previous statement on the issue, stating they will “continue to press the authorities for further access”. The Sikh community and supporters of the #FreeJaggiNow campaign remain waiting anxiously to see if British authorities are able to get the Punjab Police to allow them private access to Jagtar Singh.

Jaspal Singh also mentioned that it is against Indian law for someone to be brought into court in handcuffs, which has been done to Jagtar Singh in every court appearance he’s had, prompting the #FreeJaggiNow official Facebook page to ask how fair process could be expected when laws are being broken by those meant to be implementing the law.

28.11.17

Still in police custody, still no charge: Seventh court appearance in 25 days for Jagtar Singh leads to no change

A judicial magistrate court in Ludhiana today extended the stay in police custody for British Sikh Jagtar Singh by two days, whilst once again no official charge for his detainment was made.

The continual extension of remand, along with the lack of enforcement of British High Commission requests for Jagtar Singh to have a private meeting and independent medical with consular staff, led the 30 year old’s lawyer Jaspal Singh to declare judges were acting as a “postman” would by simply delivering police messages and not looking to “apply their mind”.

The hearing, which saw Jagtar Singh taken into court with his face covered which many believe to be a sign he is being physically gagged, also saw two of the others arrested with the Scotsman have their remand extended. Read more on the details of the hearing here via Sikh Siyasat News.

 

Jagtar Singh lawyer raises issue of violation of British High Commission court order

Jaspal Singh, the lawyer of Jagtar Singh, today asked a judicial magistrate court about Punjab Police refusal to obey an order to allow Jagtar Singh to meet with British High Commission staff in privacy.

Unfortunately for the British authorities who are having their authority negated, as well as supporters of the #FreeJaggiNow campaign, Jaspal Singh later told media “the court did not take its notice”, regarding his raising of the issue. Jagtar Singh has been waiting for over two weeks for a private meeting with British High Commission (BHC) staff, which thus far has only been allowed to happen in the presence of Punjab Police. This adds to the issue of the lack of a BHC recommended independent medical for Jagtar Singh, to explore the reports of his torture.

In response to this denial of the BHC request, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office pointed back to their previous statement on the issue, stating they will “continue to press the authorities for further access”. The Sikh community and supporters of the #FreeJaggiNow campaign remain waiting anxiously to see if British authorities are able to get the Punjab Police to allow them private access to Jagtar Singh.

 


27.11.17

#FreeJaggiNow campaigners anxiously waiting on Indian State to adhere to British Govt requests

Supporters of the #FreeJaggiNow campaign have spoken of becoming “impatient” in wait for Jagtar Singh to receive a private meeting with British High Commission staff, as requested by the UK Foreign Office.

On November 24th Punjab Police refused both a Indian court order and also a British High Commission request for Jagtar Singh to be met by consular staff in privacy. This follows the request by the Foreign Office for an independent medical for Jagtar Singh also being rejected, with an Indian court claiming the British Sikh had already been examined – by the same police accused of torture.

A campaigner who asked to remain anonymous said, “The Sikh community is becoming impatient. Whilst we wait for India to respond to the UK Govt requests, Jagtar Singh is likely being tortured. At the moment we ask when the private meeting with Jagtar will happen. If we have to wait longer it will be if the meeting will happen, which will lead to a lot of disappointment and a real change in feeling of the protection being a British citizen is supposed to give.”

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 21.24.03

 

Dumbarton politicians come together for #FreeJaggiNow campaign

The politicians of Jagtar Singh’s hometown in Scotland came together to further support immediate government intervention to explore issues around his detainment by Indian police.

The Punjab Police originally arrested Jagtar Singh by throwing a sack over his head and forcing him into a van, prompting concern among the Sikh community. With reports of his torture soon following, Jagtar Singh’s local MP Martin Docherty of the Labour party was quick to address the situation.

Read more about Dumbarton’s politicians view on the issue here.

 

#FreeJaggiNow support Chennai Six but state “we do not have years”

Following the release of the “Chennai Six”, the #FreeJaggiNow campaign team said they “stand in solidarity” with the team who worked for the Britons’ freedom but added “We do not have years or event months, a young British man’s life is at stake”.

The statement was said in relation to Boris Johnson, UK Foreign Secretary, taking for years to publicly advocate support for the freedom of the Chennai Six. Campaigners feel that intervention in the case of Jagtar Singh, who has been detained by Punjab police and reporting torture since November 4th without any official charge made against him, is needed immediately.

See the full statement here.


 

26.11.17

Jagtar Singh “forced into signing blank pieces of paper during torture”

A meeting between Sikh organisations at activists at the Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick (Birmingham, UK) saw news revealed of Jagtar Singh being “forced into signing 10-15 blank pieces of paper by Police during torture”.

Shamsher Singh of the National Sikh Youth Federation, a lead of the #FreeJaggiNow campaign, shared this news during the conference with hundreds of Sikhs in attendance, which occurred early on during Jagtar Singh’s detainment.

Relaying information given to him via Jagtar Singh’s lawyer, Shamsher Singh said “Jagtar Singh was made to sign about 8-10 blank pieces of paper. This is a known tactic of the Punjab Police, they make you sign blank pieces of paper so they can present your confession on there.”

Shamsher Singh went on to add, “The torture, the extra-judicial killings that were inflicted on us by the Punjab police..this case has opened old wounds and this is why we see this global coming together.”

 

Sikh Siyasat exclusive interview with Jagtar Singh’s lawyer

Respected Sikh news site Sikh Siyasat have recorded an exclusive interview with Jaspal Singh, the lawyer of Jagtar Singh. Check out Jaspal Singh discussing the “mental torture” and “physical torture” and more here.

Please note, this interview is in Punjabi. For translations or anything else, please send requests to Media@SikhPA.com.


 

25.11.17

British HC again DENIED private meeting with British Sikh in Indian jail, despite court order

British High Commission representatives were refused a private meeting with Jagtar Singh yesterday, despite a Punjab magistrate court judge ordering it to happen.

Jagtar Singh, the 30 year old Sikh born and raised in Scotland, has been detained by Punjab police since November 4th, without any official charge. Yesterday, on 24th November, a Ludhiana court judge finally responded to a British High Commission request, made first on November 15th, for a private meeting with Jagtar Singh, who has complained of being tortured via his lawyer.

After the judge made the decision in court, Deputy High Commissioner Andrew Ayre and two colleagues waited for the best part of a day for an opportunity to sit with Jagtar Singh privately. The meeting was not allowed to happen by Punjab police, who instead arranged a meeting between Jagtar Singh and the consular staff in their presence, this morning (approximately 11.30am, November 25th).

The fact that British representatives of the High Commission have thus far been unable to ensure an independent medical or a private meeting for Jagtar Singh have only helped to fuel the concerns of the #FreeJaggiNow campaigners, who believe an immediate intervention is required, directly by British authorities.

Free Jaggi Now - 25th Nov update

 

 

 

Jeremy Corbyn briefed on #FreeJaggiNow, asked to directly address it

A Sikh Federation UK representative directly discussed the situation of Jagtar Singh with Jeremy Corbyn yesterday, suggesting the Labour Party Leader directly address the situation.

A spokesman for the Sikh Federation said: “Jeremy Corbyn expressed his disquiet with the method of abduction, the lack of access to lawyers, British consular staff and family for the first 10 days, Jagtar’s allegations of third degree torture, the fact he remains in police custody rather than judicial custody and the refusal to grant an independent medical examination.”

Mr Corbyn promised to discuss the matter with Preet Kaur Gill, the chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for British Sikhs and Labour MP for Birmingham Edgbaston and to try and meet Mr Johal’s family and campaigners early next week.

Full story here.


 

24.11.17

Jagtar Singh police custody detainment extended, still no official charge

Jagtar Singh, the 30 year old British Sikh who is being detained by Indian police without a charge, was given four days more of remand in police custody, with once again no official charge levelled at him.

The news added to concerns of #FreeJaggiNow campaigners, as in police custody is where torture happens, according to historic cases documented by human rights groups. Jagtar Singh stated to his lawyer that he was being tortured via electrocution and having his legs stretched beyond their capabilities. Since this statement on 14 November, despite support from the British High Commission, an independent medical has been refused by the Punjab judicial system. The extension on his remand will see Jagtar Singh’s detainment without charge, nor any police FIR (First Incident Report) naming him, reach 24 days.

Three members of the British High Commission were in court to witness the hearing, including Deputy High Commissioner Andrew Ayre. The BHC reps stated they did not wish to get interfere in any investigative process, although a private meeting with Jagtar Singh was requested.
“The court gave the British High Commission team a copy of the directions issued to the police to arrange for a meeting between the High Commission delegation and Jagtar Singh in a separate room for privacy” said Jaspal Singh, Jagtar Singh’s lawyer.
Also, according to Jagtar Singh’s lawyer, Jagtar Singh was asked if he wanted to address the court and Jagtar Singh pleaded his innocence, stating he was unrelated to any of the crimes he is being linked with.
Following this update, Jagtar Singh was once again taken to an unknown location by Ludhiana police.Full report available via Sikh Siyasat news.

23.11.17

MPs “reach out” directly to Punjab Chief Minister for “transparent and open process”

Preet Kaur, chair of the Sikh All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) and Labour MP for Edgbaston, joined Jagtar Singh’s local MP Martin Docherty in writing directly to Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder regarding the issue.

Declaring that with reports of torture,“any further delay in charges…would be most concerning” the letter asked for “a fair, transparent and open process”. The letter has been greatly received by supporters of the #FreeJaggiNow campaign who have been concerned about the fact there has been no FIR (First Incident Report) naming Jagtar Singh and no official charge yet made, despite him being in detention since November 4th.

See the letter here.

 

British High Commission refused permission to see Jagtar Singh by Punjab Police

Today it was revealed by lead campaigners of the #FreeJaggiNow movement, having spoken directly to his family and legal support team, that a British High Commission official was blocked from seeing Jagtar Singh Johal last night.
The news comes just a day before he is set to appear in court again, prompting further concern about his precarious position. Whilst the FCO did promise “extreme action” if Jagtar Singh was found to be tortured, it remains to be seen how this will be investigated without the cooperation of Indian authorities, who have so far refused an independent medial and now are refusing British authorities to see the 30 year old Dumbarton resident.

 


 

22.11.17

Brother of Jagtar Singh addresses MPs & community figures in Parliament

Gurpreet Singh, brother of Jagtar Singh, addressed MPs and community figures at the annual Sikh Network Guru Nanak Gurpurab (Guru’s celebration) in Parliament this evening.

The talk by Gurpreet Singh during the event further emphasised the need to continue the fight to challenge the Indian states human rights abuses, which was widely supported by all in attendance, including a plethora of MPs who posed with a #FreeJaggiNow sign.

See images of the event here.

 

Hindu extremist group leader puts bounty on Sikh MP head for calling out “old tactics of Punjab Police”

Yogesh Batish, leader of far-right India nationalist group Shiv Sena, allegedly offered a reward for “chopping the nose of” Bhagwant Mann of the Aam Aadmi party.

The threat came after Mann suggested the Punjab Police would use devious tactics and torture to extract confessions of detainees, in reference to the Jagtar Singh case. See full story here.

 

Jagtar Singh lawyer says Punjab Police have “something to hide”, after Captain Amarinder refutes torture claim

Jaspal Singh, lawyer of Jagtar Singh, stated “The way Punjab Police rejected our application for an independent medical shows they have something to hide”, in response to Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder claiming reports of torture were “baseless”.

Captain Amarinder, who famously made outlandish comments suggest Canadian MPs Jagmeet Singh (NDP Leader) and Harjit Singh Sajjan (Liberal Party Defence Minister) were linked with so-called Sikh extremism, made the comment in a media interview. Captain Amarinder said on the case earlier this month that eight unaccounted for murders were “solved” upon Jagtar Singh’s arrest, before a charge had even made (and still has not been made), let alone a trial.

Read the full story here.


 

21.11.17

Parliament question on tortured Scot mounts pressure on British Government

The Sikh community today continued to pressure the British government to act swiftly and decisively over Jagtar Singh Johal, the British Sikh who has been tortured in Indian custody without charge. This follows a remark from the Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday that the Foreign Office officials were watching Mr Johal’s situation ‘with concern.’

Dozens of Sikhs from across the country descended on Parliament this morning to lobby their MP over Mr Johal’s plight. They then proceeded to observe proceedings from the public gallery in the House of Commons which this morning included Foreign and Commonwealth Questions. During Question Time, Mr Johal’s MP, Martin Docherty, asked the Foreign Secretary about what discussions he has had with India over their human rights record in the state of the Punjab, critically in relation to Jagtar Singh’s situation.  Foreign Office minister Rory Stewart replied, saying that Mr Johal’s detention was being taken ‘very seriously, adding: ‘We take any allegation of torture seriously […] it is completely unconstitutional, it’s offensive to the British government […] and of course we will take extreme action if a British citizen is being tortured.’ See this on video here.

Following Question Time, Mr Docherty MP hosted a meeting in Parliament with Preet Gill MP, Gurpreet Singh (brother of Jagtar Singh), Tan Dhesi MP and members of various Sikh organisations along with the #FreeJaggiNow campaign leads. At the meeting Martin Docherty said that he would be meeting Mark Field, the Foreign Office minister with responsibility for India, next week to discuss Jagtar Singh’s case.

Addressing the gathered Sikhs, Gurpreet Singh, Jagtar’s brother, said, ‘Thank you to everybody from the bottom of my heart for supporting me and my family in these circumstances. Mahraaj gave me this seva to lead this campaign, but it is only with the power of the sangat that we have been able to pressure the British government over Jaggi’s case.’

Jas Singh, advisor to the Sikh Federation, remarked on the growing campaign, ‘This momentum is snowballing globally. Now Jagtar Singh is known worldwide. It is a travesty that in 2017, a country that calls itself the world’s largest democracy can abduct, detain, and torture a British citizen. There is no faith in the police or judicial process in India: a violation of Jagtar’s rights is a violation of all of our rights.’

Sikh MPs Preet Gill and Tan Dhesi also contributed, stressing the need for Jagtar Singh’s human rights to be upheld and appealing for concerned individuals and families to contact their MP about Jagtar Singh’s case.

Gurpreet Singh and representatives from the #FreeJaggiNow campaign are currently meeting with officials at the Foreign and Commonwealth Offices.

An update on this will follow.

Protest in Australia continues to show worldwide Sikh support for #FreeJaggiNow

A Melbourne city centre protest by members of the Sikh community in front of the Indian consulate continued the trend of international support for Jagtar Singh.

The Scotland born Sikh has been held by Punjab police and reporting torture for 17 days now, all without an official charge or any legal documents naming him in relation to a criminal case. During this period Sikhs have protested in countries afar as India, Australia, Canada, USA, Italy, Malaysia and further, demonstrating concern and angst at the treatment of Jagtar Singh.

See images of the latest protest in Melbourne here.

 

Jagtar Singh Johal: Mastermind of killings or Punjab government’s NRI scapegoat? – News Laundry Article

Every time I sat down to pen this piece, I was stopped by a voice within. It shouted to me:

“You will be labelled a Khalistani. You will be abused, slandered and trolled by thousands. Your loyalties will be questioned, upbringing will be targeted and you might even be threatened with murder.”

I finally stood up and shouted back…

Read full post here.

 

Video of Indian police torture goes viral, whilst more historic accounts of British Sikhs detained without evidence shared

A video shared on twitter by Kesri Lehar of Scotland highlighted a recorded example of Indian police torture in action.

The video – which whilst having only a few RTs has been shared to hundreds via whatsapp – shows Indian police holding a man in custody whilst another officer beats him with a stick. Some members of the Sikh community described this as “mild” in discussion with Sikh PA, in comparison to other methods of torture used by the infamous Punjab Police, who have a track record of torture, documented by the Punjab human rights committee.

The video has only added to the concern of the Sikh community and human rights advocates in regards to Jagtar Singh’s detainment without charge by the Punjab police.

Meanwhile, Sikh humanitarian organisation shared a case dealt with by their SOPW project (Sikh Organisation of Prisoner Welfare) from 2006 where a Sikh British national was held for months and tortured, before the case went to trial where it was dismissed for a lack of evidence. See more here.


 

20.11.17

UK Prime Minister says government are “watching with concern”

Therese May today spoke of being “aware of the concern” regarding the Jagtar Singh case, today aired on the BBC Asian Network.

May, current Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party, stated Foreign and Commonwealth Office representatives have met with Jagtar Singh and are “pursuing the case…and watching what is happening with concern”.

Hear the report here.

 

“MPs to demand answers” from Boris Johnson regarding Jagtar Singh case

A Sikh Federation UK press release today stated that UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is “expected to get a rough ride” as he answers questions for an hour in the House of Commons.

The statement is based on the fact that over 200 MPs have been pressed by constituents to forward concern about the Jagtar Singh case. Tuesday, 21 November, will see a day of lobbying in parliament by supports of the #FreeJaggiNow campaign.

Read the full press release here.

 

Jagtar Singh lawyer rebuts Punjab Police statement on torture 

Following a Punjab Police statement on the allegations of torturing Jagtar Singh, the lawyer of the 30 year old Scotsman questioned “why the police opposed the request for his independent medical”.

Jaspal Singh, who is representing Jagtar Singh, also called suggestions made by Punjab Police that Jagtar was involved in terrorism “mere allegations”, before providing historical accounts when such suggestions against Sikh activists had previously come to nothing.

Read the full article via Sikh Siyasat News here.

 


 

19.11.17

Jagtar Singh remand in police custody extended for five days

Supporters of the #FreeJaggiNow campaign were today further disappointed at the news that Jagtar Singh’s stay in police custody was extended by a judge for a further five days.

On 17 November Jagtar Singh was told in Bagha Purana court, Moga (Punjab, India) that he would be placed in judicial custody following a plea by his team, where it is deemed there is less chance of torture. However, immediately after the court hearing Ludhiana police took Jagtar Singh to the HOUSE of two different judges, in order to have him placed back into their custody, based on an FIR (First Incident Report) which did not name him.

Now Sikh Siyasat News have revealed through their sources on the ground in Punjab that Jagtar Singh was today placed before a magistrate court judge in Ludhiana (a district of Punjab) where his stay in remand under police custody was extended for another five days.

Jagtar Singh is next scheduled to appear in court on 30 November.

Indian celebrity tweets #FreeJaggiNow to 3million followers

Diljit Dosanjh, famed Punjabi singer/actor and one of the biggest names in Indian showbiz, today tweeted his support for the #FreeJaggiNow to his 3.01million followers.

The continuing growth of awareness adds to the pressure on the Punjab Police to actually officially place a charge on Jagtar Singh or release him.


 

18.11.17

Lobby of parliament day announced

The #FreeJaggiNow campaign team have announced a day to lobby parliament, taking place on 21 November.

A call to use the green card system in central lobby, following an opportunity to see Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson challenged directly in the House of Commons, was announced this evening. The leads of the campaign along with members of Jagtar Singh’s family will then address the public at a committee room meeting in parliament.

See full details via the images below.

Free Jaggi Now - lobby parliament posters

Free Jaggi Now - lobby parliament poster 2

 

UFC Fighter lends support to #FreeJaggiNow campaign

Arjan Singh Bhullar, the first Sikh and South Asian to fight in the UFC, the world’s premiere MMA organisation, lent his support to the #FreeJaggiNow campaign.

Arjan Singh shared the message via Twitter and is look to connect with the Sikh community of the UK when he arrives in the nation next week, where he is doing a promotional tour.

 

Sikh American Humanitarian highlights “suspicious” nature of latest Jagtar accusation

In order to put Jagtar Singh back in police custody, as opposed to judicial custody, Ludhiana police report an FIR (First Incident Report), which does not name Jagtar Singh, is linked to the Scotsman in relation to the murder of a Christian pastor in July this year.

Jasjit Singh Dhanoa a Sikh American that works for Humanitarian Sikh legal aid charity Ensaaf called this “suspicious” based on the fact the RSS, a Hindutva nationalist organisation on many extremist watch-lists across the world, have been threatening Christians in India.

Jas Dhanota tweet #freejagginow christian pastor

 

 

Writer says detainment of Jagtar Singh “shows why Khalistan remains a powerful idea” for Sikhs

Sunny Hundal, a journalist known to cover Sikh community issues, stated even though he is personally against the idea of a separate state for Sikhs, the fact that “no minority in India is treated fairly” adds “strength” to support for Khalistan.

Hundal, who has written for the Hindustan Times, Independent and many other mainstream media outlets, stated that Khalistan is not about “Sikh theocracy” but about “Sikh dignity”, whilst also appealing to Hindus to speak out about injustice against Sikhs to prevent fracturing India.

Read the full post here.


 

17.11.17

BREAKING – Reports state Jagtar Singh back in police custody

Just hours after the Sikh Federation UK (SFUK) stated a decision to move Jagtar Singh out of police custody would “hopefully” end his torture, reports from India claim the 30 year old has now been moved back into police custody.

The move is alleged to have happened straight after a court decision was made to move Jagtar Singh into judicial custody, rather than police custody. Upon leaving the court, Ludhiana Police took Jagtar Singh to the homes of two judges to approval bringing the Scotsmen back into police custody. This was done because courts were closed due to the time of day, showing just how desperate Ludhiana Police were to have Jagtar Singh in police custody. The justification for doing so is relating to an apparently new – but still unofficial – link to a crime, (FIR 218/17 – further detailed in the link below), which once again, does not officially mention Jagtar Singh (searchable here http://115.112.58.53:1111/FIR/firfilestatus.jsf?name=LUDHIANA%20CITY).

The original decision to remove him from police custody was made before British High Commission representatives in attendance at Bagha Purana magistrate court (Moga, Punjab) and was welcomed by many. The reversal of this decision is already being deemed an underhanded move by Punjab Police. Full story by Sikh Siyasat here.

 

Medical to examine reports of torture DENIED by Indian court, who instead extend remand

A British High Commission (BHC) supported request for Jagtar Singh to receive an independent medical examination to look into reports he was being tortured was rejected this morning by Bagha Purana Judicial Magistrate court in Punjab, India.

Whilst a request for the medical will be made again, many supporters of the #FreeJaggiNow campaign stated the rejection of it, coupled with the fact Jagtar Singh’s time on remand has been extended until his next scheduled court appearance on November 30th, allows time for injuries sustained to heal and therefore remove evidence of torture.

See more information on this from Sikh Siyasat News here.

 

Jagtar Singh removed from police custody, SFUK state this will “hopefully” end torture

The Sikh Federation UK (SFUK) welcomed the news that Jagtar Singh will be removed from police custody and moved into judicial custody, stating “hopefully” this will end his torture.

Jagtar Singh will remain in jail for judicial custody until November 30th, although location of where he is being held is still being kept secret. British/Scottish governments were asked to do “much more” by SFUK in a press release, which you can see here.

The 30 year old Scottish Sikh was denied a new set of clothes provided by his in-laws, whilst Punjab Police also took away the contact details he was given from the British High Commission (BHC) preventing Jagtar Singh from summoning them for legal representation when required, and instead forcing him to rely on their continued presence.

The Sikh Federation also stated that Boris Johnson will be challenged directly on the situation when he next appears in the House of Commons, thought to be Tuesday.

 

Punjabi locals supporting #FreeJaggiNow through social media arrested

Reports from Punjab state a Sikh man was arrested for posting #FreeJaggiNow on his Facebook profile.

A report from the Punjab Shield news outlet, states a Bhupinder Singh was arrested on November 16th for being “part of the #FreeJaggiNow campaign. Bhupinder Singh Budhsinghwala had a public message on social media Facebook” (roughly translated into English) which suggested a British national should be at the court hearing.

Further reports of others being arrested, harassed and intimidated for supporting the #FreeJaggiNow in Punjab have been forwarded to the Sikh Press Association from contacts on the ground.

 

Canadian MPs add pressure on Foreign Office to investigate torture

The likes of Jagmeet Singh, leader of the NDP, Raj Grewal of the Liberal Party and current Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan joined the growing list of people urging a serious inquiry into reports of the torture of Jagtar Singh.

 

Harjit Sajjan


 

16.11.17

Foreign Office reps meet with #FreeJaggiNow campaigners during protest 

 

“The FCO acknowledged they have not been fulfilling their role”

#FreeJaggiNow protest pic

Hundreds of Sikhs from across the UK and from afar as Cyprus came together for a #FreeJaggiNow protest outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) today, resulting in an impromptu meeting between campaigners and FCO reps.

Jas Singh, advisor to the Sikh Federation UK (SFUK), was part of a 90 minute, along with Shamsher Singh of the National Sikh Youth Federation (NSYF) and Gurpreet Singh, brother of Jagtar Singh.

“In this meeting we discussed a number of things to understand the dynamics of this case. The FCO acknowledged they have not been fulfilling their role thus far.

“The key thing discussed was the report of torture and how that will transit into action from the FCO. It was stressed this came from Jagtar Singh’s lawyer who spoke with Jagtar directly. We made the FCO aware that the longer Jagtar Singh stays in custody, the greater risk there is to his life.

“A medical examination by the British High Commission was requested and it is hoped this will be granted by the judge at Jagtar Singh’s court hearing tomorrow.

“We expressed that attendance from the FCO at the court hearing is imperative, especially because the reason for the extension of remand for Jagtar Singh was due to a lack of clarity around his passport, to establish him as a British citizen. The FCO stated they have provided the Punjab Police with the means to acquire the passport.

“The FCO also confirmed there is no charge that has been registered with them for Jagtar Singh from Indian authorities, nor has there ever been any inquiry about him. They are as much in the dark as we are. There is no case around this, just an attempt to intimidate a Sikh human rights activist.”

“We pressed that non-attendance would be unacceptable at tomorrow’s court hearing. A senior consular officer has now been given the case and been fully briefed on the situation, as has UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. The FCO have said a supervisor and their human rights lawyer will remain in direct contact with us.”

The protest saw approximately 400 Sikhs standing outside the FCO headquarters, holding aloft placards, handing out leaflets on the situation and chanting slogans including “FCO – DO YOUR JOB” and “FREE JAGGI NOW”, referencing Jagtar Singh’s nickname, Jaggi.

 

“The FCO have been contacted from all over the world about Jagtar Singh”
#FreeJaggiNow bhenji with sign

Shamsher Singh of the NSYF said of the meeting with FCO reps, “They let us know they have been contacted from all over the world about Jagtar Singh’s case, demonstrating the impact of the sangat (Sikh congregation) supporting the campaign.

“The FCO are fully aware of how much the Sikh community is behind this campaign. The media articles, the emails, the letters, the tweets – they’ve been taking in all of it. They understand the sentiment of the Sikh community and I think that’s why they were able to understand this is all tied to deep traumas we have historically suffered at the hands of the Indian state.”

 

“It felt like my Guru was with me”

#FreeJaggiNow Gurpreet Singh media

Gurpreet Singh, brother of Jagtar Singh, thanked the sangat that attended, including those who arrived in coaches driving overnight from Scotland as well as one individual flying in from Cyprus for the protest.

“With the sangat’s presence today, it felt like my Guru was with me. I want to thank everyone who is standing with me and my family in this situation. However, I humbly request all to recognise that this is not over, we have to keep fighting for Jaggi until we see him home and safe.”

“Do not support petitions and fundraisers” for #FreeJaggiNow campaign

Gurpreet Singh, brother of Jagtar Singh, warned Sikhs of signing any petitions or contributing to any fundraisers on behalf of the campaign.

“Please do not support any petitions or fundraisers. We do not know who has started the petitions and we do not know where the money being asked for is going. We have made it clear we do not need money at this stage of the case. If the need comes, we will openly tell the sangat.”

Celebrities boost campaign with support

Awareness around the #FreeJaggiNow campaign has received a huge boost in recent days with tweets from the likes of famed rapper and activist Akala, best selling poet Rupi Kaur and others from the bhangra industry such as Jaz Dhami and Jazzy B.

Jasveer Singh of the Sikh Press Association said, “The Sikh community are grateful that those in the public eye are stepping forward to highlight this issue of human rights. Through their social media presence, many celebrities simply have a bigger platform than even many mainstream media outlets can offer. As such, it is definitely a boost for the awareness side of the campaign to see celebrities tweeting about the #FreeJaggiNow campaign to hundreds of thousands of followers.”


15.11.17

Jagtar Singh’s local MP asks parliament if Foreign Office can look into his situation

In a point of order this afternoon Dumbarton MP Martin Docherty asked for a ministerial statement on his constituent Jagtar Singh Johal’s detention and torture in Punjab, which the Speaker said ‘could happen’ but warned of the feasibility of this approach for every troubled Briton overseas.

Journalist with 35 years experience covering Punjab stories says Jagtar Singh case is not convincing

Senior AAP leader and Kharar MLA, Kanwar Sandhu has expressed doubts over the veracity of police claims of the involvement of Jagtar Singh Johal alias Jaggi, a British national, in targeted killings in Punjab and has demanded that the Union government should intervene and a joint inquiry with the UK police should be conducted in the case. Full story here.

1000 Sikhs expected at London #FreeJaggiNow protest

Jagtar Singh london protest nov 16


 

14.11.17

FCO on allegations of torture:

A Foreign & Commonwealth Office spokesperson said:

“We take all allegations or concerns of torture and mistreatment very seriously and will follow up with action as appropriate.  When considering how to act, we will avoid any action that might put the individual in question or any other person that may be affected at risk.”

Shamsher Singh of the National Sikh Youth Federation and one of the leads of the #FreeJaggiNow campaign stated “Jagtar Singh is already being tortured. The point of worrying about putting him at risk has long since passed. The situation warrants immediate intervention by in order to show any value for British Sikh community concerns.”

Jagtar Singh being tortured states only person to speak with him since detainment

Today at Jagtar Singh’s third court appearance to further extend his time on remand, defence council legal advocate Jaspal Singh who is the only person to have spoken directly with him since his detainment, stated he has been “physically and mentally tortured”.

Jaspal Singh went on to specify that, “His legs were forcibly stretched to the point of tearing, and he has been electrocuted on his nipples, ears and penis.”

The statement  was made to media outside Bagha Purana Judicial court, where the 30 year old from Dumbarton was taken for the third extension on his time in remand, now extended for a further three days.

Jagtar Singh’s court appearance was worrying for his supporters, as he was surrounded by armed police and had his face covered.

“The face covering is a tactic to hide that Jagtar Singh has been gagged, so he can’t speak out to the cameras recording. This is common treatment for people being detained by Punjab police” stated Shamsher Singh of the National Sikh Youth Federation, one of the leading campaigners of the #FreeJaggiNow movement.


 

13.11.17

Investigative journalist team discover still no FIR for Jagtar Singh

The Sikh Siyasat team found Punjab Police have purposely left out the FIR (First Incident Report) sheet for the arrest of Jagtar Singh from their official online database.

Earlier this week Gurpreet Singh, Jagtar Singh’s brother, stated that Jagtar Singh was not even named on any legal documents needed for his arrest.  See full report from Sikh Siyasat here.

Sikh MP writes directly to Boris Johnson

The Sikh community are awaiting a response from Boris Johnson following Slough MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi writing to him about the case of Jagtar Singh. See more information on this here.


 

12.11.17

Confession by known Punjab gangster leaves authorities red-faced regarding Jagtar Singh link

Saraj Sandhu, a well known gangster in Punjab currently on the run from state police, not only admitted to killing Hindu Sangharsh Sena leader Vipan Sharma, but even suggested that the “killing should not be linked to religion”.

This news comes after Chief Minister of Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh shockingly suggested eight murders were solved on the back of the detainment of Jagtar Singh and three others, without a formal charge let alone a trial taking place. See full story here.


 

11.11.17

Statement from the family of Jagtar Singh

A statement from the family of Jagtar Singh regarding his detainment by Indian authorities cleared asked those supporting their campaign to free him to continue raising awareness on social media and reach out to MPs to address the situation too. Read the full statement here.

More facts point to Indian authorities breaking due process with Jagtar’s arrest

Campaigners working for Jagtar Singh’s freedom have pointed out that an alleged FIR (First Incident Report) which links Jagtar Singh to criminal activity in 2016 in India was not brought up during a visit to India by the Scotsman in April of this year. The fact that the FIR has also not been seen by any of the legal team on Jagtar Singh’s side also points to serious discrepancies in the process of the arrest of Jagtar, leading to many including Gurpreet Singh, the brother of Jagtar and a solicitor, calling it “illegal”.

Campaigners have also pointed out that;

  • Jagtar Singh has only been to India three times in his entire life (twice in 2017 for a wedding and once in 2009), leaving lots of questions about how involved he could have been in any of the alleged criminal activity.
  • Captain Amarinder, Chief Minister of Punjab, outrageously claimed eight murders had been solved upon the arrest of Jagtar Singh and three others, without any charge being officially leveled at him, let alone a trial.
  • There is still yet no clarity on the exact charges Jagtar Singh is being accused of, no access to the British High Commission of India to speak with Jagtar Singh, no FIR (First Incident Report) shown to any of Jagtar Singh’s family or legal representatives to show why he was even arrested.

This information has led to very serious concerns about the intentions of the Punjab Police and Indian authorities in arresting him and keeping him on remand for so long.

 

Lord Singh and Sikh MPs push for Foreign Office intervention

Calls for UK authorities to intervene in the situation regarding Scottish born Sikh Jagtar Singh’s detainment by the Punjab police were yesterday reinforced by two Sikh MPs and Lord Singh.

The Network of Sikh Organisations, a group headed up by Lord Singh, called the Indian state’s behaviour “gangster-like” and stated Lord Singh of Wimbledon will be writing to the Foreign Office (FO). The full statement can be read here.

Preet jagtar tweet

Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, MP for Slough, stated on his Twitter feed he has been in touch with the FO as well as the High Commission of India UK. Preet Kaur Gill, MP for Edgbaston, also stated she was working with the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for British Sikhs and various other MPs to address the issue.

Tan tweets Jagtar

 

10.11.17

British High Commission denied seeing Jagtar Singh

On 10 November, as per Sikh Federation UK sources, Jagtar Singh was placed on extended remand at a court appearance in Baghapurana, Moga. Jagtar Singh himself was not seen in court, nor was any legal representative of his to object the extension. Despite requests made from the UK, a British High Commission representative was also “denied” from appearing in court. As of yet, no charge sheet has yet been issued to clarify why Jagtar Singh has been arrested.


The Sikh Relief – Sikh Organisation for Prisoner Welfare (SOPW) group, released the following statement about the arrest on 10 November;

STATEMENT FROM THE CHAIRMAN OF SIKH RELIEF AND EX NRI SIKH POLITICAL PRISONER, BALBIR SINGH BAINS

“I was deeply saddened to hear about the arrest of Jagtar Singh. I am deeply concerned for Jagtar’s safety and when hearing from his family, about the manner in which he was detained, it was almost identical to how I was arrested in 1999 during a routine family visit to India. I know all too well the complexities and failings of the Indian legal system having established SOPW after my own illegal arrest and false imprisonment many years ago.

I have personally reached out to his family and our team is on standby. We have extended to them our full support in a legal, financial and moral capacity should they need it. SOPW is always there to address relief needs of Sikh political prisoners and to provide intervention and oversight in legal proceedings which are severely susceptible to corruption and abuse given the culture of impunity that exists”.


Original article on the Jagtar Singh case

Members of the British Sikh community have urged the British government to intervene in the case of Jagtar Singh of Dumbarton, who was “illegally detained” last week in Punjab, India.

In a press release, the Sikh Federation UK (SFUK) Chair Bhai Amrik Singh stated, “Punjab police are notorious for their brutality and use of torture during interrogation to extract information or obtain false confessions.

“Given some of the media reports we are disturbed by the lack of urgency and action taken by the British High Commission in both Delhi, the mission in Chandigarh and the Foreign Office in London. They have failed to make contact with senior police officers to ensure the safety and well-being of this young British man.”
*Note – since this statement was made the Foreign Office and Jagtar Singh’s local MP have made statements, as can be seen below.

30-year old Jagtar Singh Johal travelled to Punjab with his father and two brothers, on October for his wedding. Jagtar Singh had been to India earlier this year without issue. Jagtar Singh is known among the Sikh community for highlighting issues around the Sikh genocide of 1984. SFUK have been in contact with UK governmental offices regarding the issue.

 

“My brother was not even named on the warrant or charge sheet”

 

According to the SFUK press release on 3 November, Jagtar Singh “was accosted, a sack thrown over his head, and he was forced into a van by men dressed in plain clothes”. In a press conference after the arrests, sources stated Punjab police mentioned that Jagtar Singh was known for “running a magazine”, whilst Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, also singled out Jagtar Singh’s arrest.

Gurpreet Singh Johal, the elder brother of Jagtar Singh, said, “Unless the British authorities quickly step in, this will guarantee a law-abiding British citizen will be illegally detained for some time and will not receive a fair trial. He should be immediately released and returned to the UK.

“My brother was not even named on the police First Information Request (FIR) equivalent of a warrant or charge sheet. This raises further questions that his detention is opportunist and the absence of any evidence against my brother.”

Only after two days were the family of Jagtar Singh made aware he had been arrested, when he was presented in court and put on remand. Whilst Indian media such as the Times of India, NDTV and more, have reported Jagtar Singh was one of four people arrested in connection with targeted killings in Punjab, many members of the Sikh community feel as an activist, he is being framed. The fact there was no attempt from the Indian authorities to coordinate with their British counterparts to arrest Jagtar Singh, both when he was in the UK and now he is in India, is an issue of concern to members of the Sikh community, who have previously seen many diaspora activists arrested and tortured when going to India.

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson stated on the issue, We are in contact with the family of a British man who has been detained in India.  Our staff are in contact with the Indian authorities regarding his case.”

The family of Jagtar Singh have complained of harassment and intimidation from the Punjab police, with an attempt made to seize the British passports of Jagtar Singh’s immediate family. Whilst Jagtar Singh’s family from Scotland are now back in the UK, his Punjab based family have had to go into hiding to avoid the targeted intimidation they face from Punjab police.

MP Martin Docherty-Hughes, of Jagtar Singh’s home town Dumbarton, stated on the issue, “I am deeply concerned about the circumstances of Jagtar Singh Johal’s arrest and imprisonment in India. This has been an extremely distressing time for my constituent’s family and I am doing everything in my power to support them as their Member of Parliament.

“The lack of information being given to Jagtar’s family by the police and judicial authorities in Delhi following his arrest is alarming. I have raised this as a matter of urgency with the British High Commission of India and the Foreign Office.

“I will also be contacting the Foreign Secretary and the Scottish Government to ensure that Jagtar and his family are not unfairly mistreated by the Indian authorities. This is an extremely serious matter and I hope my constituents will be fully supported in their efforts to secure a positive outcome.”

The Sikh Press Association will be and providing continual updates on this story.

 

guru-nanak

Five Facts about Guru Nanak

Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj, is considered by Sikhs to have been the embodiment of God on earth. Here are five facts to help explain why millions still follow His teachings over 500 years since His birth.


 

1)  He Promoted the Oneness of Mankind

Born in 1469, Guru Na nak Dev Ji lived in a time of huge inequality in 15th century India. Religious segregation, slavery and caste/gender discrimination were rife. Guru Nanak Dev Ji openly talked and acted against this, humbling royalty and nobleman, whilst elevating the poor.

Recognise the Lord’s light within all, and do not consider social class or status; there are no classes or castes in the world hereafter”Guru Granth Sahib Ji (Ang 349).

 

2)    He was one of the most traveled people in history

Guru Nanak Dev Ji traveled tens of thousa nds of miles to spread God’s message of oneness and purity. From His birthplace of Punjab, Guru Nanak travelled on foot as far as the middle-east, Europe and East Asia. Only accompanied by His faithful follower Bhai Mardana, Guru Nanak is recorded as having visited the likes of Mecca and historic sites in Tibet and Turkey in over 20 yea rs of travelling.

 

3)    Championing Gender Equality

In India at the time Guru Nanak was around, women had very few rights. Widows were often burnt alive as their husbands were cremated and women in general were not allowed to remarry. Guru Nanak Dev Ji preached against this discrimination and sought to improve the respect of women.

From woman, man is born; within woman, man is conceived; to woman he is engaged and married. Woman becomes his friend; through woman, thefuture generations come. When his woman dies,he seeks another woman; to woman he is bound. So why call her bad? From her, kings are born. From woman, woman is born; without woman, there would be no one at all” Guru Granth Sahib Ji (Ang,473).

 

4)    He has different names in different cultures

Guru Nanak Dev Ji is revered in many different cultures and as such has been given various names. In Afghanistan He is commonly called Nanak Peer. He is also known as Nanak Rishi in Nepal, Baba Nanak in Iraq, Nanaka-Chraya in Sri Lanka and Nanak Lama in Tibet. These are just a few examples.

 

5)    He Invented Langar

Guru Nanak Dev Ji started the Sikh concept of langar over 500 years ago as a child. Translating as ”communal kitchen”, langar sees every Gurdwara (Sikh temple) in the world have an open kitchen that distributes free meals all day, every day, to anyone, regardless of faith,gender, age or status.

 

 

Sikh genocide women's protest

UK Sikh Ladies Coalition to hand letter on Sikh genocide to 10 Downing Street

Group to ask UK Govt to consider India’s “state sponsored Genocide of Sikhs” when dealing with India “for post Brexit trade talks”.


 

Sikh women are to march across London in silence tomorrow in order to hand letters to government authorities in regards to the Sikh genocide of 1984.

33 members of the UK Sikh Ladies Coalition, representing 33 years of injustice, will assemble from 10am at Trafalgar Square before walking in silence to High Commission of India, Downing Street and the Palace of Westminster, where they will hand letters to the establishments detailing Sikh hurt about the 1984 Sikh genocide and future and concerns regarding trade deals between the UK and the Indian state.

A statement from the group reads, “Our request to Her Majesty’s Government is that any post-Brexit trade talks with India should consider the longstanding issue of the state-sponsored genocide of Sikhs in the days following the assassination of then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi.

Declassified documents of government communication prior to the 1984 Sikh genocide have revealed that the UK were concerned about jeopardising trade deals between the nations, resulting in collusion between the two in regards to “Operation Blue Star”, the Indian government assault on Darbar Sahib (the Golden Temple), which saw thousands of murdered civilians during a state wide shoot-on-sight shutdown of Punjab. It was this strategic and callous attack which led to India’s Prime Minister Indira Gandhi being assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards, resulting in the state facilitated genocide of an estimated 30,000 Sikhs across India.

A spokesperson stated regarding the aim of the letters, two of which will be directly addressed towards PM Theresa May and Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn, “We hope the letters will urge India to redouble it’s efforts to bring justice and closure to the victims of the November 1984 Sikh Genocide.

For further information, including interviews and images, please email Jasveer@SikhPA.com.

SFUK Logo

Report on UK Govt involvement in Indian Army attack on Sikhs set for release

The Sikh Federation UK are hosting an open invite event to launch “Sacrificing Sikhs”, their official report on UK Government involvement in the 1984 Amritsar Massacre. Register to attend here.

For media requests, please email Jasveer@SikhPA.com. 


 

After over three years of investigations, Sikh Federation UK will be unveiling an official report on UK government involvement in the events which led to the 1984 Sikh genocide on Wednesday November 1st in Parliament.

Sacrificing Sikhs is an SFUK commissioned report based on independent research of declassified UK Government documents from the National Archives, superseding an inquiry made Sir Jeremy Heywood in 2014.  The report will be released on November 1st in Parliament. Full event details can be below.

 

“Parliament has been misled by the investigation as reported by William Hague”

 

SFUK said of the event, “The Sikh Federation began its own research of the declassified files held at the National Archive in order to piece together the gaps in the inadequate review conducted by Sir Jeremy Heywood. 

“The report is an attempt at a reconciliation of what was reported by William Hague to the House of Commons on 4 February 2014 with what was available in the archive. The contrarian nature of what has been found is compelling and brings in to focus the validity, integrity and nature of the review conducted by Heywood, to the point that it wouldn’t be unreasonable to consider that parliament has been misled by the investigation as reported by William Hague in the House of Commons.

A push for an independent public inquiry was part of the Sikh Manifesto, a document produced by SFUK to empower British Sikh voters in the run-up to the 2015 General Election. However, with the truth not forthcoming via political means, the group commenced their own investigations which will culminate in the release of Sacrificing Sikhs.

It was in 2014 that the world became aware of UK Government collusion between Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Government and the Indira Gandhi led Indian state prior to “Operation Blue Star”, the infamous Indian government attack on Darbar Sahib (the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar) in June 1984. An inquiry revealed the Indian state were advised by the UK Government on the assault, which saw a massacre of thousands of civilians. First exposed by Labour MP Tom Watson (who will be in attendance and speaking at the event), the discovering of the liaison between the state authorities regarding the callous attack sent shock-waves through the British Sikh community upon its discovery, especially with the realisation that the welfare of Sikhs was placed second to trade deals between the nations.

The events of Operation Blue Star have remained a gaping wound for the international Sikh community for over 30 years, due to killings of civilians by Indian state authorities not just in Amritsar but across Punjab as police imposed a shoot-on-sight policy at road blocks all over the state. The destruction of the Darbar Sahib complex and the burning down of a historic library by the Indian Army after the attack also add to the ceaseless hurt Sikhs feel due to Operation Blue Star.

The resulting Amritsar Massacre directly led to the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards on 31 October 1984, which fueled the Sikh genocide. After her death, mobs spent days killing, raping and robbing Sikhs in revenge attacks thereafter all over India. With proven state complicity in the 1984 Sikh genocide, the fact that no state figures have ever faced justice further prevents the wounds of 1984 from healing for Sikhs.

A deeper look into reasons of Sikh hurt in regards to the events of 1984 will be discussed through the release of 1984: India’s Guilty Secret, a book by Pav Singh described as a “shocking exposé of a true-life Orwellian plot of nightmarish proportions”.

Hosting the launch will be Preet Kaur Gill, MP of Edgbaston and the first ever female Sikh MP. Also speaking on the day will be respected Human Rights lawyer Darragh Mackin, SFUK advisor Dabinderjit Singh, along with many political figures and Sikh community representatives from across the UK.

The event is highly anticipated not just in the UK but across the world, with revelations having the potential to cause the Sikh community to review its relationship with the UK Government.

SFUK Chairperson Bhai Amrik Singh added, “Despite extensive censorship, this report is a real eye-opener into some of the painful facts that both the UK and Indian governments wanted to remain hidden. Promises of trade were enough for Thatcher to sanction and encourage Sikhs to be sacrificed in their homeland and for civil liberties to be suspended for the law-abiding British Sikh community.

 

 

EVENT DETAILS
TIME: 2.30pm-4pm.
DATE: 
1.11.17
LOCATION: 
Grimmond Room, Portcullis House, Westminster, London, SW1A 2LW.


 

Sikh Youth UK LOGO

Responses to Independent Sikh Youth UK article

In response to this week’s Independent article on Sikh Youth UK (SYUK), see below for Sikh Press Association concerns about a lack of context, a Sikh Council statement and an interview where SYUK directly address the allegations made at them.


 

The Sikh Press Association is a news agency created to specifically mediate between panthic Sikh organisations/individuals and the media. 

Sikh PA are an apolitical organisation. We never have and never will advocate any Sikh organisation or individual working with Tommy Robinson or any other politically tied figure as a representative of any Sikh issue/ideology. 

We openly welcome any investigations/news reports on Sikh related issues and strive to help provide whatever information or resources are required for coverage. Our only condition is stories are covered accurately and fairly, within the correct context.

Indy syuk headline
Last week the Sikh Press Association were made aware online news outlet the Independent were conducting an investigation on Sikh ethos community group Sikh Youth UK.

As per our role, Sikh PA were asked to liaise between Adam Lusher, the journalist conducting the investigation, and Sikh Youth UK. We also discussed the issue with Sikh Council UK who were another organisation contacted in regards to the story.

In dialogue with all groups, it was collectively decided that SYUK would not be speaking to the journalist directly, nor would they be answering questions sent via email prior to the story being published. The following were deemed areas of concern by Sikh PA:

The Sikh Press Association also wishes to highlight that just last year the BBC gave former leader of the English Defence League (EDL) Tommy Robinson a platform on Radio 4 and online. Talk radio channel LBC, one of the most popular radio stations in Britain, also gave right-wing media personality Katie Hopkins her own radio show, after she infamously suggested guns be used on migrants in her Sun newspaper column. Neither organisation has been accused of “propagating hatred” in the same manner SYUK have been by the Independent.

In regards to the article itself, we would like to point out the following missing context from the Independent article:

  • Tommy Robinson attended a screening of SYUK film Misused Trust as a reporter for Rebel Media. Made in Birmingham TV also covered the film upon its release.
  • SYUK met with Tommy Robinson in Huddersfield nine months ago. The Facebook status about his Sikh Channel appearance was two years ago. These are the only two times SYUK have done anything which can be suggested as advocating Tommy Robinson in at least five years of existence.
  • In regards to questioning the validity of SYUK’s messages on the work of grooming gangs, it must be noted the group not only work with the police and social services on such matters, they also speak to hundreds of Sikhs about the issue on a near weekly basis via their work with Sikh student societies and in Gurdwaras across the UK.
  • SYUK also offer support to various other communities impacted by abuse or addiction, including Muslims, as shown on their social media.
  • SYUK’s community work is based on Sikh advocated practices such as connection with sangat (Sikh congregation), simran (recitation meditation), sports and further education in Sikh history and philosophy.

 

Sikh Council Statement on SYUK

Sexual Grooming and exploitation is an issue of national concern and requires the police, local authorities, educational establishments and communities to work together towards both prevention and bringing the perpetrators to justice.

From our understanding the Sikh Youth UK raise contemporary issues such as substance abuse, domestic violence, bullying and grooming. We understand the dramatised film ‘Misused Trust’ produced by them is an artistic expression of the issue of grooming and needs to be considered within that context.

It is encouraging to see young people becoming actively involved in promotion of active and healthy life styles, self help and community safety towards responsible citizenship.

Hate crimes are unfortunately on the rise and Sikhs have been susceptible to attacks in particular due to their distinct identity. In some cases Sikhs are the victims of hate crimes in sheer ignorance where the perpetrators are motivated by Islamophobia. We would encourage all community groups rightly concerned with issues such as grooming to be mindful of far-right groups who may seek to exploit these issues to demonise and divide communities.

 

Interview with Sikh Youth UK on Independent allegations

The following is an interview with SYUK based on the allegations made by the Independent. The answers were given as a collective.

 

“We have never advocated any of Tommy Robinson’s views on Islam, nor will we”

 

Q) How would Sikh Youth UK characterise its relationship with Tommy Robinson?

A) Nine months ago Tommy Robinson covered a Sikh Youth UK event for news channel Rebel Media. He has also shown an interest in sharing our work in tackling issues around grooming gangs. This is no different from the kind of “relationship” SYUK have established with journalists from the BBC and other news organisations. To be clear, SYUK are not in regular contact with Tommy Robinson and have no connection with any right-wing group.

 

Q) Are SYUK “propagating hatred towards Muslims” as Dr Katy Sian stated?

A) Just last week SYUK shared a post on our social media pages of us working with a young Muslim girl, supporting her on issues of domestic abuse. We have never advocated any of Tommy Robinson’s views on Islam, nor will we.

The fact is that as we saw recently with former Labour MP Sarah Champion when she said the UK has a problem with “Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls”, anyone who publicly states the commonly (but usually privately) held belief about where many grooming gangs are produced is demonised. SYUK do not believe in sheltering truths of this nature, especially when they only work against tackling this heinous crime. SYUK’s voice will not waiver in the face of allegations of “propagating hatred” or political correctness.

 

“There are dozens of Sikhs in Leicester who will attest to the fact that details of a grooming gang forcing a Sikh girl into prostitution were handed to police in 2013…nothing was done about it”

 

Q) Why did SYUK make a video about the London Mayor?

A) SYUK volunteer Deepa Singh was simply making a factual statement; that a non-Sikh was dictating how to run a Sikh event (Vaisakhi in the Square). As our social media shows, SYUK also openly condemn those of a Sikh background who involve non-Sikh practices in Sikh festivals.

 

Q) What do you say to suggestions your film Misused Trust encourages vigilantism?

A) The film was based on real life events, detailed to us by girls we have supported as victims of sexual grooming. The fact of the matter is that because of self-admitted failures of our authorities to deal with grooming gangs, groups have taken issues into their own hands in the past. This type of vigilantism is part of Midlands Whilst it is something we do not condone, it is part of real life, which was why it was documented in the film.

There are dozens of Sikhs in Leicester who will attest to the fact that details of a grooming gang forcing a Sikh girl into prostitution were handed to the police in 2013. When nothing was done about it, it unfortunately resulted in a clash between members of the Sikh community and a known grooming gang that operated out of a restaurant. This resulted in Sikhs with no prior history of any criminal activity going to jail. This is the last thing we want to happen. The only thing we want is for the activities of sexual grooming gangs to be stopped.

By being vocal about this and working closely with authorities we are able to stem any future instances of vigilantism. This is an important part of our relationship between the Sikh community and West Midlands Police.

 

“If SYUK were a group which worked of “baseless fears”, we would not have the relationship with the authorities that we do. West Midlands Police often take cases directly from us”

 

Q) The Independent article suggested there is “no evidence” that incidents of the kind that Misused Trust depicted actually occur. Is this true?

A) This kind of callous attitude forces victims of grooming into the position of having to do interviews with the media publicly or face allegations of dishonesty. SYUK never ask any of the victims we work with to come forward publicly, just so we can appease doubters.

Those who suggest groomers have not pretended to be Sikh in order to entrap Sikh girls cannot claim to share the level of experience SYUK have in dealing with this issue. Not only do we have a reach across the UK which has seen us support victims from East London to Bradford and further, one of our senior volunteers Deepa Singh is also welfare secretary of Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick, a role which sees him interact with thousands of people at one of the busiest Gurdwaras outside of India. He is an executive member of the Sikh Council. As an ear for the Sikh public he only reiterates the concerns of the sangat (Sikh congregation) he interacts with, which is why he is a respected Sikh community figure.

It must also be noted, if SYUK were a group which worked of “baseless fears”, we would not have the relationship with the authorities that we do. West Midlands Police often take cases directly from us, to ensure a buffer between families and the police. We have and will continue to work with the authorities on these issues.

 

Q) How has Misused Trust been received in general?

A) The film has been seen by thousands across the country and unanimously supported by viewers for breaking barriers in the way Sikh grassroots org spread messages.

 

Q) The Independent article seems to accuse SYUK of spreading unjustified fear. Is this fair? 

A) SYUK do not aim to spread fear, just awareness. There are literally hundreds of girls across the UKthat have been victims of sexual grooming gangs made up of either entirely or predominantly Muslim men. This is an undeniable fact, one which has been highlighted by Lords, MPs and the media regularly. Sikhs have been vocal about members of our community being targeted by such gangs for decades. However, we always openly say in our talks that this is something that shouldn’t stain the entire Muslim community.

AKAAL PUB - Divali Diwali image

Divali – Keeping the flame of freedom alight

The story of Divali for Sikhs includes the tail of Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Jee’s release from jail, where he was incarcerated as a political prisoner. With political prisoners – including many Sikhs – still languishing in jails across the world, Harjinder Singh of Akaal Publishers shares his thoughts on the political and spiritual meanings behind #TheSikhDiwali.


NOTE – Spellings of Diwali/Divali/Bandi Chor/Shor vary due to individual interpretations of translating the Punjabi alphabet.

 

Sikhs throughout the globe will celebrate Divali on 19th October. Divas/lamps will be alight, a jovial festival atmosphere will prevail. Sweets and samosas will be enjoyed, fireworks will set alight the moonless sky.

But why do we really celebrate? Apart from the annual calendar significance, what does Divali mean for Sikhs?

The sixth Guru, Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Jee was falsely imprisoned for spurious reasons by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. After some months it was declared that Guru Jee could walk free. Like Guru Jee, there were other prisoners of conscience in Gwalior Fort (the prison). 52 Hindu Kings were imprisoned and they made a heartfelt plea to Guru Jee begging him to negotiate their release too. The ocean of mercy that is Guru Jee listened attentively to their plea and showered His grace upon them and told them not to worry and that He would negotiate their release.

Guru Jee told the Emperor he would only leave the prison on the condition that the 52 Hindu Kings were freed too. The Emperor, being a man entangled in his own ego and pride of intelligence, replied that Guru Jee could walk free with as many Kings that could hold onto his clothing on the day of His release. Guru Jee, a fountain of knowledge, easily got around this condition by getting a robe tailored with 52 tassels on it. On the day of His release, Guru Jee walked out of Gwalior Fort with all 52 Hindu Kings holding onto one tassel each, this auspicious occasion is referred to as Bandi Shorr Divas – the day of emancipation. Guru Jee did not only free the 52 Hindu Kings from prison, He also showered His grace upon them and freed them from the transmigration of the soul, freeing them from the cycle of birth and death. Each and everyone of us also begs for this freedom:

Forsaking all other doors I have come to your door. Preserve my honour by 
offering the support of your arm, liberate me, I am your humble servant.
(Sri Guru Gobind Singh Jee) 

I have come to the sanctuary of the formless and emancipating Lord, who 
destroys all sufferings. (Sri Guru Arjan Dev Jee, 624 – Sri Guru Granth Sahib Jee) 

May Guru Jee bless us with spiritual and physical liberation also.

Bandhi Shorr Divas was months prior to Divali. Upon release from Gwalior Fort, Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Jee made a tour of Delhi and other regions, then arrangements to go to Sri Darbar Sahib in Amritsar were made. When He reached Amritsar Sahib it was Divali, and the Sikhs celebrated the release of Guru Jee with fireworks and festivities.

Relevance today

All over the world there are countless prisoners of conscience, held under fabricated charges and/or held for standing up for justice, freedom and righteousness. Please light a candle for these prisoners, non-Sikhs and Sikhs. Don’t forget Guru Jee’s example of freeing Hindu Kings. He was benevolent, humane and had a profound love for one and all. May we develop such divine virtues. May we all endeavour to assist and support such prisoners. At the very least we can all make a heartfelt prayer that Guru Jee blesses all prisoners with Chardi Kala/High Spirits.

One cannot begin to imagine losing freedom of movement and action, we can only try to empathise with such prisoners. Regardless of the regime and its tyranny, no man-made
authority can imprison the Sikh Spirit. Sikhs still happily go to the gallows to stand up for justice, freedom and righteousness. The Sikh Spirit cannot be imprisoned. Prominent
Sikhs currently imprisoned include Dr. Davinderpal Singh Bhullar, Bhai Deya Singh Lahoria, Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana, Bhai Paramjeet Singh Bheora, Bhai Jagtar Singh Hawara…the list could go on and on.

Imagine being the parent of a child who quite simply ‘disappeared’ (see here for more on fake encounters) in the 80’s and 90’s in Punjab. Many of these parents light a candle at Divali, praying and wishing that the light of hope may still bless them with a vision of a fit and well son or daughter. Or they pray in despair that may God nurture their offspring wherever they may be.

So when you light a candle and eat a sweet at Divali, please spare a thought, that you are free and are not bound by the restraints of prison life. Lest we forget, let us light a lamp to ensure the rays of freedom shine through all of humanity.

Harjinder Singh

More from Akaal Publishers can be found here;

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Turban Day in Falkland Islands

 

A Sikh in the British Army raised awareness of the Sikh faith in one of the most remote parts of the world, having held a Turban Day event in the Falkland Islands.

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Manpreet Singh tying a dastar on a colleague.

On the 5th October 2017, Lance Corporal (LCpl) Manpreet Singh Lally organised a the event at the Mount Pleasant School, with over 70 personnel taking part. A serving Sikh soldier, LCpl Lally has been part of the British Army for the last four and half years where he serves as a Communication System Engineer in the Royal Signals and is currently posted to the British Forces South Atlantic Islands (BFSAI).

Turban Falklands - Classroom 2
LCpl Lally said of the event, “I organised the Turban Day in order to educate BFSAI personnel and their families about Sikhi, to tell the audience about the importance of the dastar (Sikh turban), and to raise awareness about Sikh history. The event was the first time that a Turban Day has been celebrated in British Army history.”

LCpl Lally, assisted by SAC Sarah McGhin from the Royal Air Force, tied dastars from 10am until 12.30pm. The event has hosted by headmaster Gary Margerison and was attended by the BFSAI Chief of Staff, Group Captain Jim Frampton and BFSAI Padre, Squadron Leader Rebekah Cannon.They were among more than 50 people, including students, teachers and service persons, to wear a dastar, which is a new record for the Falkland Islands. Leaflets from Sikh educational organisation Basics of Sikhi were also distributed to the audience. The material for the dastars and the leaflets were donated by Mr Sarabjit Singh of England, a volunteer of the Guru Nanak Gurdwara of Bradford.

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The event concluded with LCpl Lally delivering a presentation about Sikhi which discussed the importance of the dastar, contributions of Sikhs from all across the world and a brief look into Sikh history. Amongst those LCpl Lally talked about were Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the Sikh scriptural Guru, Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan, Fauja Singh the world’s oldest marathon runner and Harman Singh, a New Zealand man saved a child’s life with his dastar.

LCpl Lally also talked about the contribution of Sikh soldiers in both World Wars, in which a staggering 83005 Sikhs lost their lives, and finished by talking about his brother Ajay Singh, the taxi driver who made national headlines for his role in rescuing and transporting people injured people during the Manchester Arena attack.

Turban Falklands - cute kids

Sukhdeep Singh, an educator for Basics of Sikhi said, “It is great to see that in this most remote part of the world this Sikh has spent so much time and effort into ensuring he educates people on his faith.

“Sikhs can stand out so much that our physical identity, which was gifted to us by our Guru, can naturally prompt questions from those unfamiliar with Sikhi. This is why these events are important, so that people understand what the physical identity represents, and thus what they should think of when they see a Sikh.”

JetSingh Gym - Arjan speaking

Sikh UFC Fighter opens up new MMA Centre

A brand new MMA (mixed martial-arts) centre in Wolverhampton funded by the Jet Singh Trust was opened last weekend by UFC star Arjan Singh Bhullar.
JetSingh Gym - cutting ceremony (Credit Punjab2000.com)

Picture courtesy of Punjab2000.com.

The Canadian former Commonwealth Games gold medalist and Olympian wrestler was invited by members of the Sikh ethos charity the Jet Singh Trust to open the centre on Heathmill Road on October 8th before dozens of supporters of the charity. Sikh community figures from across the UK were in attendance.

Arjan Singh Bhullar is the first ever competitor of a south-Asian background to compete in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championships), the leading MMA organisation and one of the biggest sports brands in the world. As a Sikh, he decided to stop off in Wolverhampton where he has a large fan-base within the heavily Sikh populated city. Currently undefeated in MMA with a 7-0 record, Arjan Singh has often spoken of his Sikh faith helping to inspire him to reach the top level of the sport.
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Arjan Singh in action on his UFC debut, a unanimous decision win.

Arjan Singh said, “I was honoured to be invited to the opening of this new gym. I commend the amazing community work of the Jet Singh Trust and it is because of this I wanted to be here today. MMA, wrestling and sports in general are a great way for children to learn discipline and remain fit and active. Any way we can encourage youngsters of all backgrounds to get involved needs support.
JetSingh Gym - Arjan with children
“Especially for Sikhs, with our Gurus so strongly advocating wrestling, it is important to support groups like the Jet Singh Trust, an organisation named after a great Sikh wrestler.”The Jet Singh Trust was founded after the passing of Wolverhampton local Jet Singh, a former eight-time British wrestling champion. The MMA centre is just one of many community and charitable initiatives the charity have set up. More information on the group can be found here.

JetSingh Gym - gym
Devinder Singh of the Jet Singh Trust said, “We really want to encourage children and even adults of all backgrounds to get into sport. MMA is a route to both health and discipline. Arjan Singh coming down was brilliant. He spent time with the children, teaching them some skills, and he also took a picture with every single person who attended. We hope his presence will serve as an inspiration to people to get involved in MMA.”The creation of this gym is a fitting tribute to the name of Jet Singh, someone who would have loved to be training in such a facility.”

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The Journey to Food & Freedom: An update from Zero Hunger with Langar

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Jagjit Singh

Last year lifelong Birmingham resident Jagjit Singh detailed his charitable work on the ITV website during Langar Week, an international awareness campaign about the practice of langar; free vegetarian food served on the streets and in every Gurdwara by Sikhs all over the world. Jagjit Singh here updates us on how his project Zero Hunger with Langar, which has taken this concept to Malawi, Africa.



Zero Hunger - with kids

Since Langar Week last year, many memorable things have happened during the Zero Hunger with Langar project. Many I have documented many in my daily banter blog.

One of the most memorable things is missing my daughter’s birthday.

 

Zero Hunger for Langar started in 2016 after I watched Sikh community leader Bhai Mohinder Singh’s UN speech on building bridges through religion. In Sikhi (Sikhism) we have a natural bridge builder in langar; a free vegetarian food service, open to all for both consumption and voluntary service.

 

A quick google search showed me langar would be most useful in poverty stricken African nation Malawi. I went to see Bhai Mohinder Singh at Soho Road Gurdwara to humbly suggest something be done to take langar there. He sent me packing. Literally. Within the week I was in Malawi.

langar in malawi

There, in an impoverished village, I met a charming boy called Fraser. In conversation, I learned Fraser didn’t know when his birthday was. I asked him what he would want if he could have anything in the world to celebrate his birthday. “I just want a fanta” he said.

 

That year I went home from Malawi for my daughter’s birthday. I told her about Fraser not having a birthday of his own. “He can have my birthday daddy” she responded.

fraser

So this year I fulfilled her wish by spending her birthday with Fraser. And a can of fanta of course.

 

Just like my daughter did for her 10th birthday, Fauja Singh, the oldest marathon runner in history, pledged his 106th birthday to a Malawian child, raising enough for 75,000 meals. International model Pardeep Singh aka Singh Street Style did the same and raised enough for 26,000 meals. Dozens of others have done the same. You can too. Click here for more information.

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The Journey to Food & Freedom, Custard Factory Exhibition.

The Zero Hunger with Langar project held an exhibition this week in Birmingham’s Custard Factory, letting people know that gestures like the above have contributed to us serving over 1.2million meals in Malawi so far, as well as purchasing a farm there to ensure the langar will be sustainable. The meals are served in schools, helping children stay in school rather than being forced out to work to earn money to eat, ensuring a brighter future for all.

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But we need more, because they need more. Find out how you can help by clicking here.

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Sikh group accuse UK government report of discrimination

SFUK state the Prime Minister “gave the green light to discriminate against the Sikh minority community”.


The Sikh Federation UK, a faith based political lobbying group, have accused a recent UK government race disparity audit report of neglecting Sikhs, “despite protection under race laws”.

The audit, a report aimed at exposing inequalities in areas such as policing, housing, education and health, was released two days ago and immediately drew criticism from Sikhs, including Edgbaston MP Preet Kaur who questioned the issue in parliament.

SFUK are an organisation that have long lobbied for separate Sikh government classification. The group cite the fact it was established in the 5:0 ruling in the House of Lords in the Mandla v Dowell-Lee case in 1983 that Sikhs were a legally recognised racial group with respect to ethnic origins. More than 15 years ago following the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 the Commission for Race Equality (CRE) in July 2002 amended its guidance ‘CRE Ethnic Monitoring, A guide for public authorities’ to make specific reference to Sikhs due to the legal position.

Check out the full statement from SFUK here.