National Sikh Day Campaign

Hoosier Sikhs to celebrate first National Sikh Day on May 15

Via Punjab News Express/Balbir Singh

INDIANAPOLIS :

Hoosier Sikhs will celebrate the inaugural National Sikh Day on the Holiest Sikh festival of Vaisakhi (creation of Khalsa by the 10th Sikhs Guru Shree Gobind Singh in 1699) with Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb on May 15 from 10:00 a.m to 1:00 pm at the Indiana State House.

Sikhs Political and Action Committee (SikhsPAC) founder and chairman Gurinder Singh Khalsa said that invitations have been extended to all prominent elected officials of Indiana, including mayors of many cities across the state.
On this auspicious occasion, Governor Eric Holcomb will felicitate head priests and presidents of all Gurdwara Sahibs (Sikh places of worship) of Indiana along with other prominent Sikhs.

Punjab folk dance Bhangra will be performed by “Rangeelay Jawan”.

It may be recalled that Indiana Senate on April 20, 2017 had passed “Sikh Resolution”, acknowledging and recognizing the significant contributions that American Sikhs have made across the United States, to the State of Indiana and the city. The resolution was introduced by Senator Aaron Freeman and the historic resolution was unanimously passed by the Indiana Senate.

The first National Sikh Day celebrations will begin with Kirtan (Sikhs hymns) at 10.30 a.m and Ardas (prayer) at 11 a.m The Governor’s address is scheduled for 11.05 a.m and the award ceremony will begin at 11.10 a.m. Governor Holcomb will honour Head Priests and presidents of all Gurudwara Sahibs. The Sikh community will honour the Governor at 11.25 a.m. It will be followed by Sikh folk dance and Bhangra by “Rangeelay Jawan”. Speeches by elected officials and Sikh leaders will be from 12 noom to 12.30.

Lunch will be served at 12.30 p.m

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Sikh artist to reveal giant Sikh turban portrait in Norway today!

See a video on this story below!

Today world renowned Sikh artist Inkquisitive reveals a giant portrait of a Sikh turban in Oslo, as part of the city’s celebrations of Vaisakhi.

The artist from London was given the opportunity to share his work in order to showcase the diversity of the city whilst they host a “Turban Day” event.

“I am proud and honoured to be part of Turban Day. It is a celebration of diversity within the city and when they asked me to be part of this I didn’t think twice. The piece will represent what our faith is about, which is respecting the values of equality and embracing each other. The turban is a symbolism of equality. It is a crown.”

The finished piece will be available to view at any of the following links;

Inkquisitive on Instagram
Inkquisitive’s official Facebook
The official Turban Day facebook page

Sikh PA logo

Sikh PA 2nd Year Annual Review

The Sikh Press Association (PA) welcomed sangat from across the UK to their recent annual review, where it was revealed the media organisation had earned over £1.5million worth of positive PR (public relations) media coverage for the Sikh community over the past 12 months.

 

You watch the review in full here – https://youtu.be/96rYogFOZCA.

Sikh PA are a project powered by Everythings 13. Other projects of Everythings 13 include Basics of Sikhi, Mighty Khalsa and Kiddie Sangat. Sikh PA were formed in last 2014 with the aim of connecting the media with Sikh community. Donations towards the work of Sikh PA can be made here – http://www.everythings13.org/make-a-donation.

 

The exact figure of the PR value of Sikh PA’s work is estimated at £1.587million (one million, five hundred and eighty-seven thousand pounds, sterling). This is up over £400,000 on last years estimated PR value of Sikh PA’s work, with an expenditure of £10,000 less than was spent last year (£40,000 in 2016/17 compared to £50,000 in 2015/16). The expenditure is based on the time spent on Sikh PA projects by Everythings 13 staff and expenses such as equipment, marketing material and travel. The saving on expenditure was due to being able to use equipment and marketing tools from 2015/16 for the last 12 months, as well as needing less support and therefore time from staff.

 

The PR value is based on the amount of TV/radio airtime, news column inches and social media traction gained on Sikh stories which the Sikh PA worked on over the last 12 months, since the last annual review in March 2016. This is then converted into a monetary figure based upon how much it would cost to get this kind of coverage through advertising/marketing. The breakdown of this figure is as made clear during the presentation, available online through the link above.

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The event, held in Birmingham, was attended by representatives of various panthic organisations including Sikh 2 Inspire, Sikh Relief, Akaal Publishers, SWAT, Sikh Youth UK, Panjab FA, Guru Nanaks Free Kitchen and many other groups. Attendees were provided the opportunity to see what Sikh PA have worked on over the last 12 months and comment on what was presented.

 

Sikh PA outlined the work carried out based on three aims of the organisation;

  1. To raise the public profile of Sikhs.
  2. Empowering Sikhs by developing skills in media.
  3. Providing a media source for facts, resources and promoting articulate Sikh speakers.

Sikh PA showed how through previous work the organisation has grown as one of the most recognised sources for the media in regards to Sikh stories, with regular contact from the news teams of the Times of India, BBC, ITV and newly established links with the likes of Al Jazeera and India Today, as well as other media organisations.

 

However, just like last year, it was found a significant chunk of Sikh PA’s coverage work came from self-created PR campaigns, and specifically International Langar Week. This campaign saw groups of Sikhs around the world publicising the Sikh concept of langar to wider communities.

 

 

2016 coverage.

There was also an insight into the work Sikh PA do one a direct basis with organisations and individuals doing panthic work, which can include preparation for media appearances, advice on marketing and support in publicising work.

 

Examples of some of the work being done overseas with groups in Canada and the USA were also given, as well work on some of the staple events within the Sikh calendar, such as 1984 Sikh genocide remembrance, Vaisakhi and Bandhi Chhor Divas.

 

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Sikhi is Love campaign by Canada Basics of Sikhi team receiving coverage in Canadian media.

 

 

An interesting angle of the media coverage Sikh PA gains which was highlighted, was the fact Sikh PA actively look to provide a platform for females within the community, something which many Asian communities are criticised for not doing.

One of the standout features of the Sikh PA Annual Review event was talks from spokesman/spokeswomen of some of the groups we work with on a regular basis. You can find these speeches on our youtube channel.

There was a look into some of the failures of Sikh PA of the last 12 months, which include the slowing down of the media workshops and no addition to the staff of Sikh PA, both of which will be worked on in 2017. Overall though, the Sikh PA Annual Review highlighted the ongoing work being done to provide Sikhs with a media platform.

The work of Sikh PA can be followed on www.SikhPA.com and through social media (The Sikh Press Association on Facebook, @SikhPA on Twitter, SikhPA on Instagram). To contact Sikh PA you can email Media@SikhPA.com.

Ontario officially recognises Sikh genocide, and India calls the decision “misguided”

Note – the featured image is of a separate protest by Sikhs in regards to recognition of the genocide of 1984.

The Government of Ontario province in Canada on Friday passed a motion in the Legislative Assembly to officially recognise the 1984 anti-Sikh riots as “Sikh genocide”.

The motion was brought forward by Liberal Member of the Legislative Assembly Harinder Kaur Malhi (Brampton-Springdale), which received support from all three provincial parties.In advance of the successful vote, the motion read aloud stated, “That, in the opinion of this House, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, should reaffirm our commitment to the values we cherish–justice, human rights and fairness–and condemn all forms of communal violence, hatred, hostility, prejudice, racism and intolerance in India and anywhere else in the world, including the 1984 genocide perpetrated against the Sikhs throughout India, and call on all sides to embrace truth and reconciliation.”According to Jatinder Singh Grewal, the Director of International Policy for Sikhs for Justice, an official recognition of genocide offers great comfort to Sikhs who call Ontario home. It remains, however, the first step towards broader recognition and healing. “All Sikhs applaud Ontario today and give thanks to Premier Kathleen Wynne and Liberal MP Harinder Malhi for hearing us, appreciating the evidence that exists and officially recognizing that the murder of tens of thousands of Sikhs was an attempt at genocide. We will continue to press upon other governments here in Canada and globally to stand with us in Ontario on the side of justice.”

See a video of NDP MP Jagmeet Singh give a speech about the motion here, via Sikh Siyasat.

India took strong exception to the motion from the Legislative Assembly of Ontario that called the 1984 anti-Sikh riots ‘’genocide’’, adding that it had conveyed its views on the issue to the political leadership of Canada.

‘’We reject this misguided motion which is based on a limited understanding of India, its Constitution, society, ethos, rule of law and the judicial process,’’ External Affairs Minister Gopal Baglay said when his reaction was sought on the passage of the motion.

New Delhi, it is learnt, is quite unhappy since the motion was moved by a Member of the Provincial Parliament (MPP) belonging to the ruling Liberal Party of Ontario, which had moved a similar motion last summer. The Ontario Assembly, thus, became the first legislature in Canada to carry a motion that described the 1984 anti-Sikh riots as “genocide”.

 

Stroud Sikh attack

Sikh man attacked by racist group after defending Polish boy – Stroud News and Journal

SHOCKING CCTV footage shows a shopkeeper being attacked with crowbars and run over by a car after trying to defend a teenage boy from a vicious gang attack.

See CCTV footage of the attack is available via the link below.

Amo Singh, 33, was brutally assaulted when he tried to defend a Polish boy who was being attacked by teenagers outside his shop, Premier Stores in Queen’s Drive, Cashes Green, at around 10pm on Sunday.

He and his wife Sandy had seen six boys and two girls – some of whom were armed with crowbars and baseball bats – arrive in two cars and begin attacking the 15-year-old Polish boy, who was with his girlfriend.

Amo grabbed a baseball bat to defend himself and went outside to try to protect the boy, but the gang then turned on him, raining down punches and blows with crowbars and baseball bats.

One of them then drove a car at Amo, sending him flying into the air. Others then punched and kicked him while he lay on the ground, before the driver reversed over him. The attackers then fled in the two cars.

Amazingly, Amo survived the attack and is now conscious and being treated at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. He suffered a head wound which required stitches, bruises all over his body, and had surgery on a broken wrist yesterday.

CCTV footage of the attack, recorded using the store’s cameras, was sent to the SNJ by Sandy as she waited by her husband’s side in hospital.

She said: “The boy was getting beaten up outside the fish and chip shop. My husband went outside with a bat to scare them off, even though I begged him not to, and they cornered him and started hitting him and then one of them drove straight into him at full speed and he went flying, and then they ran him over and started hitting him again.

“My husband is lucky to be alive. I thought they might have killed him. He was just trying to help the boy.”

Sandy said the attackers used racist language while assaulting her husband, and that she believes the 15-year-old boy was targeted because he’s Polish.

She said the Polish boy was in A&E alongside them on Sunday night and had also suffered head injuries.

Sandy called the assault on her husband an “attempted murder” and said she had shared the CCTV footage in the hope of helping to catch the attackers.

A Gloucestershire Police spokesman said: “We were called to reports of people vandalising cars outside shops in Queens Drive shortly after 10.35pm on Sunday March 26.

“Officers attended and found a man who had been assaulted and run over with a car.

“The man suffered a broken wrist and head injuries that were not deemed life threatening or life changing.

“Inquiries are ongoing and anyone with information should call 101, quoting incident 499 of March 26.”

 

Via- http://www.stroudnewsandjournal.co.uk/news/15188663.FULL_STORY__Stroud_shopkeeper_run_over_in_vicious_gang_attack/?ref=twtrec

african-immigrants-attacked-india

Sikh group calls on Sikhs to defend Africans in India following racist attacks

Sikh political organisation Dal Khalsa UK have spoken out against a racist attack against African students in India and called for India’s Sikhs to help protect “African brothers and sisters”.

The attack which took place last week in the town of Noida, Uttar Pradesh, saw a mob of Indians set upon two students for no apparent reason. The students were hospitalised with stab-wounds and various other injuries after the brutal attack in a shopping mall. The attack is just one of many reported since India’s African community has significantly grown over the last few years.

You can see a video of the attack here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCbRddO-yxw.

An online statement about the incident by Dal Khalsa reads:

“Over the last few years there has been a marked increase in attacks against African students in India. We have seen African Students beaten, robbed, tortured and even murdered by mobs in full view of the authorities. The public do not make any attempt to stop the brutal attacks.

 

“We call on the Police authorities to crack down on attacks against African students but with the rise of the Hindutva System this is unlikely to happen. We are likely to see more of the same attacks across India as the Hindutva system gets stronger. Therefore, we call on the people of Panjab and the Sikh nation in the spirit of Sarbat Da Bhalla to stand up for humanity and defend our African brothers and sisters against these attacks. We also call on countries in Africa to summon the Indian Ambassadors to their own respective foreign offices to ask them why this is happening and what they are doing to stop it. Lastly we send our condolences and pray for the recovery of the victims of the most recent attacks in Noida.” 

Along with the shopping mall attack, many other attacks were reported this week including three students being attacked by a mob of approximately 1000, as reported by NDTV, along with other reports of African women also being targeted. The attack in the shopping mall in Noida occurred at the same time as a protest march by Indians in regards to the death of a student from a drug overdose. Indian media have been reporting that Nigerian immigrants were being blamed for dealing drugs to the student. Huffington Post India also claimed African students were accused of cannibalism in relation to the student who went missing before turning up in hospital where he later died, due to rumours spread about the African way of life.

Dal Khalsa representative Gurcharan Singh expanded on the issue with an online video post, stating a bigoted view of black people in India has been around since Gandhi, who himself echoed hateful sentiment against Africans. Gurcharan Singh also states that the Africans are just another minority community feeling the wrath of Indian nationalists.

“The mob in Noida that attacked the African students did so for no apparent reason. These Mad dogs of Indian nationalism are fanatics that hate everybody that is not aligned with their theology. Africans are just an easy target. They have a small population in India. They have no representation. And they are an ethnicity which is easily distinguishable as different. They have been described as rakshasa (demons) by nationalist groups.

 

“There is a colour hierarchy in India which mimics the Hindu caste-system, and dark skinned people are at the bottom of this. The founding father of the Indian state Mahatma Gandhi has been documented about his own bigoted views of Africans, so it is no wonder the children of Gandhi are behaving in such a way.”

 

The head of Africans Mission called the attacks “Xenophobic” and also claimed the Indian government have done nothing to deter such attacks. The African Students’ Association of India last week requested students to stay indoors and not attend lectures as tensions against Africans reached a peak, with President Samuel Jack making a public statement on the level of abuse Africans suffer in India. The victim of the mall attack in Noida Endurance Amalawa also spoke about the mall’s security doing nothing to prevent the attack, whilst no bystanders tried to stop the incident either.

Gurcharan Singh said of the issue, “Indian law, media and politics not only covers this fanaticism up, but actually aids and abets it. This attack in Noida shows the current reality of India. India is a country with a huge issue of racism, despite being predominantly occupied by dark skinned people. The problem won’t change as long as India is run by fanatics as it currently is.”

Fauja Singh

Fauja Singh makes 106th birthday pledge to fight world hunger

Sikh community figure and the world’s oldest marathon runner Fauja Singh turns 106 this Saturday (01.04.17) and is using the occasion to help feed children in one of the world’s most deprived countries.

Celebrate with Fauja Singh by donating through www.serve.world/fauja-singh-106!

Zero Hunger - with kids

The team in action in Malawi.

World renowned runner Fauja Singh has connected with hunger relief charity Zero Hunger with Langar for his birthday celebrations. The world record holder has requested anyone wishing to celebrate his birthday with him to donate to the Zero Hunger with Langar Malawi project, which currently sees them serve 40,000 meals a month in the impoverished African nation. Donations can be made via the link above.

Jagjit Singh of Zero Hunger with Langar stated of the link up, “In Malawi, most children don’t even know what it means to celebrate a birthday. With this in mind, Zero Hunger with Langar have offered the opportunity for people to give up their own birthday celebrations for the children of Malawi, and we’re delighted one of those people is the much revered Fauja Singh. It is a fantastic gesture, especially with it being such a milestone birthday, and we hope many people celebrate with him as he’s requested.”

The Sikh practice of langar is a free meal service of vegetarian food that can be found at every Gurdwara (Sikh temple) in the world. To ensure langar meets the needy, in recent years many groups across the world have taken langar out of the Gurdwara and onto the streets, a notion which the UK based Zero Hunger with Langar team have taken one step further by going into Malawi, where the government announced 6.5 million people face food insecurity.

Speaking of his birthday pledge, Fauja Singh stated, “I am getting old and frail now as I turn 106. On my birthday, on my name, help the poor. The boys from Zero Hunger with Langar serve the hungry. We should all, however we can, support them. I have always supported charitable causes and will continue to do so. I pledge my birthday towards the cause.”

Donations towards Fauja Singh’s birthday celebrations can be made via the www.serve.world/fauja-singh-106 fundraising site created by the Zero Hunger with Langar team which follows the 100% model, meaning that unlike with other charity donation sites, every single penny donated goes directly towards the Malawi project. The aimed target is £10,600, which will provide 70,000 meals for Malawian schoolchildren across the country.

Autism Awareness

World Autism Awareness Week – Introducing Gurleen Kaur Manku

During World Autism Awareness Week (running from March 27-April 2nd, with World Autism Awareness Day on the 2nd), Sikh PA are working with Gurleen Kaur Manku of AS Mentoring to help publicise just how families and individuals can get help. Conditions such as autism can be taboo subjects within Asian communities, where there often aren’t the support networks needed to help those affected. Here we share a statement from Gurleen about her own experiences with autism and where there is support available.

Gurleen Kaur Manku, Autism Employment Consultant.

Gurleen Kaur Manku, Autism Employment Consultant.

“I’m a British Sikh professional working as an Autism Employment Consultant for AS Mentoring. I also have a younger brother with autism. My brother is now 13 and we’ve faced numerous obstacles due to his autism in accessing appropriate education, healthcare and the wider community.

“Autism affects the whole household. My brother’s challenging behaviours make social outings difficult. However after persistence and with God’s grace he is learning. I’m very proud that he is a member of Sikh Scouts and the children have all been welcoming.

“Through my work with adults with autism, individuals often face associated mental health problems and other co-occurring conditions. Even if they are able to hold down some form of employment with reasonable adjustments in place, they still struggle with social situations and flexibility of thought.

“It is important for people to know support is available. They can turn to the National Autistic Society, Autism West Midlands and additionally adults can access AS Mentoring. I hope that more awareness of autism within Asian communities will make more things possible for those on the spectrum, including attending a Gurdwara or any place of worship, as everyone should be allowed their own spiritual journey.”

Lord Singh backs mother on death-row in Abu Dhabi – NSO

The following is a statement from the Network of Sikh Organisations;

 

Calls for Justice: The case of Jennifer Dalquez

Our Director has written to the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in London to ask for clemency in the case of a Filipino domestic worker who faces execution in Abu Dhabi next week.

30-year-old mother of two Jennifer Dalquez (pictured right) who moved to the UAE to provide for her family says she was fighting off rape when she killed her employer. Currently in prison, Dalquez maintains that she was attacked in the home in which she worked back in December 2014.

Under sharia law, she now faces execution or paying $50,000 in diya or ‘blood money’ to the family of the deceased. Her appeal will be heard on Monday 27 March in an Abu Dhabi court.

In the letter sent to His Excellency Sulaiman Hamid Almazroui yesterday, Lord Singh writes:

“It is clear from the evidence that her action was not pre-meditated, but a desperate response to an unprovoked sexual attack.”

He went on: “I am writing to you to use your good offices to remove the threat of the death penalty and for the authorities to show due clemency.”

Justice For Domestic Workers (J4DW), a group run for the well being of migrant workers has been leading a campaign for Dalquez’s release and repatriation back to her family in the Philippines.

J4DW Coordinator Marissa Begonia said, “It is sad that in our modern world, migrant domestic workers are still the most abused and exploited group of workers because of the absence of labour rights and human rights in many countries like the UAE.”

Begonia was clearly moved by the circumstances in the case, having made a special trip to General Santos city in the Philippines to meet Dalquez’s family. J4DW is now collaborating with human rights organisation Justice Upheld who have highlighted their concerns with the United Nations.

Lawyer and human rights activist Jas Uppal from Justice Upheld said, “Jennifer Dalquez is yet another victim of gross inhumane abuse and injustice faced by migrants in the Gulf states. Her plea in mitigation of self defense as she resisted and fought off her assailant when he attempted to rape her at knife point has been disregarded.”

She went on: “It is imperative that the Emirati authorities acknowledge and recognise Jennifer’s human rights. To kill her for defending herself is barbaric. We at Justice Upheld urge the Emirate authorities to demonstrate mercy and have made urgent representations to the UN’s Human Rights Council.”

Former Minister of State and MP for Slough Fiona Mactaggart, has tabled a Foreign Office question and has forwarded details of Dalquez’s case to the APPG on Human Rights.

Campaigners will be assembling outside the UAE Embassy tomorrow between 10:30-12:30 for a peaceful protest requesting Dalquez’s immediate release.

[Ends]

Notes to Editors:

Facebook campaign:

https://m.facebook.com/Save-Jennifer-Dalquez-Life-434771416695522/

Petitions:

https://www.change.org/p/his-highness-sheikh-khalifa-bin-zayed-al-nahyan-save-jennifer-dalquez-domestic-worker-sentenced-to-death-by-u-a-e-court

https://www.change.org/p/president-rodrigo-duterte-of-philippines-save-jennifer-dalquez-from-execution

Media coverage:

http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/stop-execution-jennifer-dalquez-and-stop-diya-too-314508871

For further information:

https://www.j4dw.com/contact-us

help@justiceupheld.org.uk

Info@nsouk.co.uk

Via IBT

Hola Mohalla 2017 at Kiratpur Sahib & Anandpur Sahib, Punjab

The celebration of the colourful festival of India ‘Holi’ is in full swing. In Punjab, it is Hola Mohalla that everyone is talking about. Punjab is all set to celebrate the festival with all its religious method. The preparation for the same has begun in Kiratpur Sahib and Anandpur Sahib, Punjab.

6 days long celebration of ‘Hola Mohalla’ festival has started in Kiratpur. First 3 days celebrations of Hola Mohalla festival will be carried out in Kiratpur Sahib, whereas the last 3 days celebration will be held in Anandpur Sahib.

Details of Hola Mohalla Event

Hola Mohalla Festival, Punjab

Date: 8th-13th March 2017

Days: 6 days

Venue: Kiratpur Sahib & Anandpur Sahib, Punjab

Attraction of the Hola Mohalla Festival

Celebration for Hola Mohalla has started in Gurudwara Patalpuri Sahib with the recitation of Akhand Path and beating of 5 old ‘Nagaras’. Community kitchen has also been set up for Hola Mohalla fest to serve the devotees. ‘Langar’ has been served in the roads as well leading to these 2 towns. Even huge crowd from various parts of India is arriving in the place to be a part of the Hola Mohalla celebration in Punjab.

  • Marshal arts of Punjab
  • Religious programs
  • Langar
  • Cultural activities like music, dance and poetry programs are held.
  • Horse riding by Nihangs.
  • Demonstration of traditional weapons.

And the most of Hola Mohalla festival can only be enjoyed in Anandpur Sahib, as the city has followed the tradition since the time it has been started by Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Thousands of Nihang assemble in Anandpur Sahib to be a part of this Hola Mohalla Fest every year.

As a huge number of devotees are expected to gather in Anandpur Sahib during the fest, Nakkian Toll Plaza has been ordered to not collect the toll just to ensure the smooth traffic movement in the area. No other place than Anandpur Sahib will be better to spend your Hola Mohalla as it will take you to the roots of the festival.