Fake Guru tweet - Ram Rahim

Sikh community reacts to “fake Guru” rape conviction

Fake Guru tweet - Ram Rahim

Sikhs around the world have been reacting to the news that famous Indian spiritual leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim has been convicted of rape.

Fake Guru tweet - Ram Rahim

The self-styled Guru has often been berated by the Sikh community for his attempts to portray himself in a similar style to the Sikh Gurus, based on the way he often dresses and his use of the surname Singh. The leader of the Dera Sacha Sauda organisation, which many call a “cult”, has amassed a huge following despite having been involved in countless controversies dating back decades.

Fake Guru tweet - Ram Rahim

Today Gurmeet Ram Rahim was officially convicted of rape based on an allegation dating back to 2002 in a court in the city of Panchkula, with the sentence set to be given on Monday. The tensions around the ongoing case have resulted in mobile data blocks in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.

Fake Guru tweet - Ram Rahim

The Sikh community seems to have largely welcomed the conviction of Rahim. Although portraying himself as a Guru and believed by hundreds of thousands (possibly millions) to have been a holy-man, Rahim has consistently been accused of many heinous crimes; from forced/unconsented castration, to murder and sexual abuse.

Fake Guru tweet - Ram Rahim

The convicted rapist, accused of murder and forced castrations, is no stranger to controversy. In 2007, he received worldwide condemnation from Sikhs for trying to ridicule the Sikh faith by wearing a turban with a plume that is typically associated with the 10th Sikh Master, Guru Gobind Singh.

Such a controversial figure, with his history of criminality and corruption, further mocked the Sikh faith by adopting the surname ‘Singh’. There was outcry and condemnation of his attempts to malign the integrity and authenticity of their faith from Sikhs across the globe.

News of the conviction has already resulted in mass rioting from his followers and the deaths of currently five people. The situation across India is likely to remain tense, especially around Punjab which is where the case was heard and many of Rahim’s followers are based, as the Indian Army have been brought in to quell tensions.

Many in the Sikh community also feel the shock at Rahim’s conviction is a sign of how the Indian judiciary system is perceived, with a belief that influential figures are often placed above the law. Rahim’s open support for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had him viewed as a key figure in what is often referred to as “vote bank politics”.

Fake Guru tweet - Ram Rahim

 

For more information or reaction from the Sikh community, contact us via Media@SikhPA.com.

Drayton Manor Sikh issue

Theme park revokes Kirpan ban

Drayton Manor theme park have revoked their Kirpan ban, following negotiations with the Sikh Council UK.

The long-standing ban by the Midlands based theme park was challenged by the Sikh Council UK after a group of Sikhs were stopped from entering because of the wearing of the Kirpan in June this year. Since than, Sikh Council UK have discussed the issue and come to an agreement which stops the park’s discrimination against Sikhs.

The Kirpan is one of the punj kakkars (five Ks) which are five items Amritdhari (initiated) Sikhs are mandated to wear. The small sword is legal to wear under UK law, although private grounds can still choose to whether to allow Sikhs to come on their property with the Kirpan. The Kirpan is worn by thousands of Sikhs in the UK every day, including in schools and parliament.

Kirpan

Kirpan

A statement from the Drayton Manor on the outcome reads;

 
‘I am pleased to advise that we are changing our park regulations effective from Monday 14thAugust 2017 to allow Kirpans when following the below guidelines.
 
It will be our security team that will be conducting the inspections upon guests arriving at the park.
  
  • Upon arrival please notify a staff member if you are wearing a Kirpan to allow for a suitable inspection, please do allow additional time for such inspection.
  • The Kirpan should be no more than 6” in total.
  • The Kirpan should be worn securely under clothes, out of sight and difficult to access
  • The Kirpan should never be drawn from its sheath and a suitable clasp or mechanism to ensure it is not easily drawn should be incorporated.
  • Due to the nature of some of the high speed, vigorous rides within the park. The Kirpan should be strapped securely to the body to ensure it does not move about freely during physical activity.
  • Please note in the interest of public safety, individuals can expect that relevant searches and questions will take place. Non-compliance, or failure to follow the guidelines will result in refusal on the premises and park.’
partition line

How the 1947 Partition of Panjab still impacts Sikh activism

By Ranveer Singh

Across the globe today, national borders typically reflect ethnic, linguistic, and sometimes religious divisions.
Take Europe: countries like Italy and Spain are largely home to people who speak Italian and Spanish. Similarly, in places such as Croatia and Hungary the predominant ethnicity is Croatian and Hungarian, respectively. For many across South Asia however, it is a different story altogether. These nations are largely defined by the idiocies of colonialism, and not by the heritage of its indigenous people. The region of Panjab is an obvious case.
The partition of Panjab in 1947 initiated one of the harshest and most enduring ironies of decolonization. It is estimated that up to 18 million people were displaced and two million killed in the sectarian violence that followed.
The power broker behind the partition of Panjab was the departing British, whose exit was clumsily improvised. The hastily-arranged decision to split Panjab triggered a perilous era of economic, social and religious subjugation within the region.
As preceding rulers of Panjab and natives to the land, the Sikhs were actively engaged in fighting to remove the British, who had taken official occupation of Panjab in 1849. The activism was no surprise, as the Sikh mandate to acquire political power can be traced back to the Sikh Gurus themselves, who not only exercised sovereignty but also made it an integral part of the Sikh movement. Love for freedom and justice had become basic elements of the Sikh psyche and the soil of Panjab is soaked with the blood of Sikh martyrs; a testament to the continued movement to protect Sikh sovereignty.
However, in many ways 1947 signalled an inevitable turning point for the Sikhs, as the effects of the colonial encounter, which overtly began in 1849, coupled with the intrusion from their Indian counterparts, wreaked havoc on their political aptitude. Sikh psyche had endured wave-after-wave of attack during British occupation of the region. Now armed with a foreign notion of activism, the colonised Sikhs resorted to placing hopes of liberty and freedom in the hands of another.
Many insist that it was the promises made by the likes of Mohandas Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru which convinced the Sikhs to throw their lot in with the Indians. Both Master Tara Singh and Baldev Singh, two prominent leaders of the Sikh community, were influenced by the politicking of Indian leadership into believing the best solution for the Panjabi-Sikh populace scattered across Panjab was to join India.
Whether the decision to throw their lot in with the Indians came through betrayal or blunder, is an irrelevant matter of opinion. The harsh reality remains that it was a clear deviation from the polity of the Khalsa Panth that was prevalent under Banda Singh Bahadur’s Sikh Republic of 1710, and the sovereign states of the Sikh Confederacy that followed in the 18th Century.
It is imperative to remember that following the creation of India, both Sikh members of the Constituent Assembly refused to sign the Constitution. They declared vehemently that “the Sikhs do not accept this Constitution. The Sikhs reject this Constitution Act.” In subsequent years, all the personal laws of the Sikhs were abolished and eventually replaced by Hindu statutes, such as the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955.
The words of renowned Sikh academic and scholar Prof Puran Singh proved true when in 1932 he had predicted a bleak prophecy of civil turmoil. He wrote “self-government in India means Government by the very few cunning and aggressive people who, once put in possession of the authority, would twist all letters of law and constitutions to their individual wills and make them work on the communal or the so called religious bias”.
Under the guise of democracy and secularism, the social, historical and geographic wounds of Panjab caused by the barbarity of colonial policies were ripped open for Sikhs by Indian legislation.
For the next 30 years Sikhs attempted to initiate various movements to preserve their identity, language and culture. During this time Panjab was reduced to a mere fraction of its size, with river water diverted to neighbouring states. The capital, Chandigarh, fell under the direct control of Central Government. The efforts to agitate for civil rights were compromised because the mode of activism, fell largely within the constraints of Indian law and not from a position of sovereign authority.
The futility of their actions is best exemplified when we attempt to draw a parallel with someone like Banda Singh Bahadur. How absurd would it sound if we were told he tried to petition the Mughal government for civil rights or led protests against their injustice and called for them to recognise his rights? For him, and many others that followed, the mandate from the Guru was clear; acquire political power and establish Khalsa Raj.
By the early 80s, a concerted effort was made to realign Sikh psyche with the Guru’s mandate. The Sikhs became astutely aware of the pitfalls of placing all hope in the Indian establishment, no matter how democratic the system appeared.
Inevitably the declaration for a separate Sikh homeland was made on 26 April 1986. Despite efforts to suppress Sikh political activism in Panjab, the resolution passed in 1986 received unanimous support and remains the political mandate of the Sikh people. Today, some of the largest gatherings amongst the Sikh diaspora are made in support of that resolution with protests usually taking place every year in the month of June. The show of solidarity not only commemorates the fallen freedom fighters of the Sikh movement but also reaffirms the calls for an independent Sikh homeland.
It was Guru Nanak who first openly criticised and challenged those indulged in corruption and it is He who advocates that a person in authority should honour his/her office and do so conscientiously.
Sikhs took inspiration from the writings of the Guru, for example (when referring to the Pathan administration) He writes “the ruler administers justice if his palm is greased”. The Sikhs understood that the whole paraphernalia of government in India was corrupt and people at every rung of the establishment indulged in such acts.
Today an informed Sikh recognises that their liberty will only truly arrive when they exercise the sovereignty bestowed upon them by the Guru.
This was the example set by illustrious Sikh leaders from the pre-colonial era who acquired and exercised political power.  Sikh rulers such Banda Singh Bahadur who founded the first Sikh Republic or Nawab Kapur Singh and Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, to name just two leaders from the sovereign states of the Sikh Confederacy. The same traits were found in rare gems such as Bhai Maharaj Singh and the Babbar Akali from the late 19th century and early 20th century, who swore their allegiance to none other than the Khalsa Panth. They were staunch anti-colonialists and understood the need for Sikhs to re-establish political power to fulfil the requirements of the House of Guru Nanak.
In the years leading up to 1984, Sant Jarnail Singh, Bhai Fauja Singh and their Sikh compatriots became the most recent in a long line of illustrious leaders to have rekindled the spirit of Sikh sovereignty from centuries past. From the way that they dressed to the manner of their speech, they seemed to challenge the effects of colonialism that had engulfed so many of their contemporaries. Having pledged their allegiance to the House of Guru Nanak, they encouraged Sikhs to re-enter Anandpur, if they were to truly liberate themselves and deliver on the Guru’s mandate.
The Khalistan movement seeks to challenge the religious and political domination of the Indian establishment, which undermines the moral fabric of a society envisaged by Guru Nanak. As such the events of 1947 carry no less, or no more significance, than the events of 1849 when Panjab was annexed by the British, or the events of 1716 when Banda Singh’s Republic met a brutal end. These episodes from history merely serve to remind Sikhs of their duty to deliver on Guru Nanak’s mission of emancipating society from the clutches of totalitarianism, no matter what the odds.

 

Ranveer Singh is a member of the National Sikh Youth Federation and also a regular contributor to news opinion site Naujawani. For more from Ranveer Singh you can follow him on twitter.

WhatsApp Image 2017-08-18 at 17.41.44

Spanish Sikhs speak on Barcelona terror attack

Sikh español habla sobre el ataque terrorista de Barcelona. Vídeo aquí:

A native Spaniard and Amritdhari (initiated) Sikh today called for unity between the Spanish and Sikh communities, in the wake of yesterday’s terror attack in Barcelona.

Partapdev Kaur, who works as head of translations for Sikh educational organisation Basics of Sikhi, spoke out in condemnation of the attack, whilst also dispelling the commonly made mistaken association between the Sikh identity and terrorism. See the video above for her full statement. Learn more about the Sikh faith in Spanish here.

The sangat (congregation) of Barcelona Sikh Gurudwara Gurdarshan Sahib Ji (Sikh place of education and worship) also came together to condemn the attacks and offer their support to locals, stating “for anyone who is having a hard time, the Guru’s house is open to come to at any time”, offering food, water and shelter. Barcelona’s Sikh Gurudwara Gurdarshan Sahib Ji is adjacent to where the terror attacks took place, with the Carrer de l’Hospital road it is on being cordoned off by the police straight after the attacks.

WhatsApp Image 2017-08-18 at 17.41.47

Sikhs of Barcelona went out today to show solidarity with the local community, following yesterday’s terror attack.

Respected Sikh community figure of Barcelona Gagandeep Singh also addressed the people of Catalan in their native tongue, condemning the attack and again offering support from the local Sikh community. Both videos can be seen below.

For more information, images, quotes or interview opportunities, email Media@SikhPA.com.

Sikh speaks in Catalan on Barcelona terror attack

Statement in Punjabi by Sikh Gurudwara Gurdarshan Sahib Ji sangat

 

free sikh political prisoners

Sikh Political Prisoner Released

A Sikh political prisoner from France has been released on bail after seven years in a prison in India thanks to the work of UK based humanitarian charity Sikh Relief.

Pal Singh, a French citizen and well-known human rights campaigner in Europe and America, was working in his native Punjab state in India, helping those suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. It was during this work that Pal Singh was arrested by the Punjab Police which was reported by the Punjabi newspaper Daily Ajit to have been on 22nd July 2010.

Chairman of Sikh Relief, Balbir Singh Bains said: “It has taken years for the justice system to acknowledge the right to liberty of those who are demonstrably innocent, even if only granting bail pending appeal. The Indian justice system would benefit society greatly if it worked with an organisation like ours and helped heal the mistrust of a Sikh community that feels oppressed by the judiciary and political classes.”

In the immediate aftermath of Pal Singh’s arrest, the Punjab Police denied that he had been arrested, leading to the Sikh Relief legal team filing a case for Habeas Corpus on 26th July 2010. Only then was his detention confirmed. This is another example of similar cases where men have been detained illegally by the police in Punjab, with the arrests being denied often for weeks at a time. Allegations from within the Sikh community suggest this time window provides an opportunity for the police to torture the illegally detained suspects, which then results in forced “confessions”.

Pal Singh faced charges of terrorism in an evidently flawed trial and was sentenced. Thanks to Sikh Relief, he has now been freed on bail ahead of his appeal against the conviction, which is due next year.

Jagtar Singh Gill, Secretary General Elect of the Sikh Council UK said: “The Sikh Council welcomes the news that Bhai Pal Singh, a citizen of France, has been released on bail and commends the hard work and perseverance of Sikh Relief in assisting with the release.”

Toofan Singh

Review of Toofan Singh – Harjinder Singh (Akaal Publishers)

The following is a review of Toofan Singh by respected Sikh author and educator Harjinder Singh. The recently released film depicts the life of famed Punjabi folk-hero Jugraj Singh who was a freedom-fighter for the Khalistan Liberation Force. For more from Harjinder Singh and the Akaal Publishers team, follow them on facebook, twitter or instagram.

To see where you can watch Toofan Singh in your area, check out the images here.


 

 

Last Friday, I went to the premier of the Toofan Singh movie. It was held at the plush and world famous Pinewood Studios (London, UK). I have never had a better sound and visual experience of watching a movie, so if you get an invite to Pinewood don’t turn it down! It was second to none.

Writing this review has been quite hard for me as I knew much of Toofan’s story before watching the movie, so apologies if it is not comprehensive.

Toofan means tornado, and this nickname aptly describes the storm that Bhai Jugraj Singh Jee created in Punjab when participating in freedom fighting in the late 1980s. This film is by far the best Punjabi movie produced that I have seen on anything related to the period of 1984 – 1995. It has raised the bar on previous poorer productions and I hope this raising of the bar continues in future movies about this period of recent history.

Bhai Jugraj Singh Jee is referred to as Gurbaaz Singh in the movie and is played by two actors – Damanpreet Singh (as the child/younger Toofan Singh) & Ranjit Bawa (the famous Punjabi singer). Damanpreet’s acting was superb, Ranjit Bawa did a decent job too for a singer. People have criticised the casting of Bawa in the main role due to his diminutive figure – but from what I know this is pretty accurate of what Toofan actually looked like. The movie starts with how the 1984 attack on Sri Darbar Sahib by the Indian government impacts the young Toofan, and shows his family life. His family was poor – they didn’t even have electricity in their home. He was the only son and had five sisters.

Toofan became one of the most famous freedom fighters of the Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF). The KLF was a formidable force and their leadership and fighters were some of the most exemplary characters of modern Sikh history. They were almost superhuman, and reflected complete determination and an unflinching attitude in battle and principle.

Toofan became famous because his story was in direct contrast to the view propagated of Sikh freedom fighters of this period. He loved people of all faiths, supported them all and participated in civilian reforms through his political power. His story goes against the conventional narrative of a gun-toting terrorist causing havoc. As a freedom fighter, he was both feared and loved. He stopped the evils of dowry and helped people of all faiths to live harmoniously, reintegrating Hindu families who may have left their villages due to fear, and settling disputes.

One of the opening scenes shows Toofan running home to get money to buy ice-creams for some poor girls who couldn’t afford them. This scene personified his character. This was a guy who would dedicate his life to helping the poor, downtrodden and oppressed. He would do this at great personal risk and did not flinch under any pressures. He was advised not to become a freedom fighter. He had five sisters and was advised to support his family instead. But he felt the need to help everyone in Punjab and voluntarily took up the life of a freedom fighter.

As a Sikh he became influenced by Damdami Taksal at a young age, notably by Bhai Manbir Singh Chahehru (in jail at Nabha). He stayed at Mehta – the headquarters of the Taksal – and his main inspirations remained within this circle up until his death in 1990. He worked under the leadership of Jathedar Bhai Avtar Singh Brahma when in the KLF. It was inspiring seeing a towering Brahma being depicted in the movie. This was guy was a true living legend. I got goosebumps every time Brahma’s character came on screen, as I knew of many of his legendary tales including one where his clothes were riddled with bullet holes, yet he survived to tell the story and show the clothes.

Toofan wanted to free the people of Punjab of all social evils and government oppression, choosing to free people from tyrants through the power of the gun to establish peace. The movie shows the despicable torture techniques of Punjab Police. These scenes make hard viewing but accurately display the human rights violations of prisoners in Punjab during this period.

The filmmakers developed a love story into the movie as is seen compulsory by Indian cinema, showing Toofan getting married and having a daughter but continuing to fight against the state. Other plot points can be discerned when you watch the movie. His wife and daughter also met their demise soon after Toofan’s but this isn’t explained when the movie ends.

The movie is essential viewing for all Indians, Punjabis, Sikhs & Khalistanis. The history of this iconic figure needs to be known. When Toofan was martyred in an encounter against the Punjab Police, an estimated 1000 people gathered outside the police station protesting for the release of his body from police custody so that a funeral could be conducted. It is estimated that 400,000 people attended his funeral. He was loved by all Punjabis. Notably, ‘Baba Takhur Singh of Damdami Taksal, Shaheed Major Baldev Singh Ghuman, Simranjit Singh Mann, Bibi Rajinder Kaur Bulara, Bibi Bimal Kaur Khalsa and Justice Ajit Singh Bains all paid homage to the great hero during his antim ardas (cremation). On that day, the president of Sri Hargobindpur’s BJP party, Mr. Darshan Lal Chopra, said that Jugraj Singh was their shield and protected the Hindu’s and today we feel alone after he is gone.’ (source: neverforget1984 dot com).

bangalore sikh attack victim

Threatened, assaulted in Bangalore, Sikh family turns to Akal Takht for help – TOI

We share this post as an example of how Sikhs – like other minority communities in India – regularly find no support from the police when targeted for abuse intimidation and more, which is why this family have turned to the highest seat of Sikh authority in the world for help.


 

 

AMRITSAR: A Bangalore-based retired Sikh Army officer, whose wife and two sons were allegedly assaulted and threatened, has approached the Akal Takht requesting it to use its influence on the Karnataka government to give him justice in the case.

In a letter written to the Akal Takht jathedar, a copy of which was sent to TOI on Saturday, Col R S Uppal (retd) wrote, “My son Harmeet Uppal was brutally assaulted and he suffered multiple facial fractures and a broken jaw. He had to undergo a 5-our surgery and has six plates in his mouth. He was also hit on the chest, head, back and limbs. My younger son, Harpreet Uppal, suffered multiple blunt injuries on head, chest, face, back and limbs.”

Harmeet spoke to TOI from Bangalore, saying his family had been getting threats from people, who told them to sell their property and leave the city. “We have met everybody in the Bangalore police establishment to get justice, but to no avail. Now, we have approached the Akal Takht to ensure that the culprits are booked immediately and we can live safely in Bangalore,” he said.

Harmeet, an IT professional having worked in US, alleged, “They threatened to break the legs of my mother Surinder Kaur and outrage her modesty. Police did nothing to safeguard us.”

In the letter, Uppal has also mentioned that they were called ‘Pakistani’. He stated that despite the seriousness of the assault on the family, they were not even being provided its CCTV footage. “There are three cameras on the main road which captured the assault,” he mentioned.

Harmeet said he was hopeful that the Akal Takht jathedar would give directions to Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to constitute a committee and probe into the incident which had scared them enough to leave in India’s ‘Silicon valley’. “We hope the Akal Takht will write to the Karnataka government,” he said.

When contacted on Tuesday, Akal Takht jathedar Gurbachan Singh’s personal assistant Jaswinderpal Singh said they had received the letter and asked for CCTV footage, FIR, medical report and other relevant documents of the assault from the Uppal family.

Click here to watch the video

Via Times of India.

Oakcreek

Five years on, what has changed?

Five years on from the tragic Oak Creek Gurdwara massacre, journalist Dawinderpal Singh asks why there are still so many unanswered questions about America’s view of Sikhs.


On a Sunday morning five years ago, while worshippers at a Sikh Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin USA, were preparing Langar (communal food) and Sunday school was in session, a white American man opened fire on the congregation, shooting six people dead.

A further four were wounded before the assailant killed himself. The mass shooting was considered a hate crime. The shooter had ties to white supremacist organisations. He believed that, due to the skin colour and appearance of the Sikhs, they posed a threat.

Five years later, and despite many attempts by Sikhs in the United States to raise awareness of who they are and what the Sikh identity stands for, little has changed. Sikhs are still living in fear of hate crime from Americans.

The issue first came to light in September 2001, after the 9/11 attack. Some Americans began seeking retribution for the Islamic terrorist attack, and the first victim they claimed was Balbir Singh Sodhi, a 49-year-old Sikh man in Mesa, Arizona. He was shot and killed outside his gas station.

It was the first of many attacks on Sikhs in the US (see Box-Out). Following Sodhi’s murder, a Sikh lady was killed by two men on a motorcycle who said: “This is what you get for what you’ve done to us,”; three teens burned down a Gurdwara (Sikh temple) in New York, and a Sikh man was beaten with metal poles by two men in LA, all within the following three months.

Thereafter, the shocking attacks continued at a steady pace; a Sikh man was stabbed in the neck in front of his home; a 15-year-old student’s hair forcibly cut by an older student in New York; a Sikh US Navy veteran who was approached by a police officer outside his own home in Illinois for an expired vehicle registration tag, is assaulted with pepper spray by the officer who shouted anti-immigrant expletives.

From graffitti and vandalism, to assaults and murder, Sikhs are being consistently targeted.

In just March this year, a Sikh man working on his car in his driveway in a Seattle suburb was approached by a man wearing a mask over his face, who told him to “go back to your own country”, before shooting him and fleeing the scene.

Sikhs in the United States have banded together to deliver a “National Sikh Awareness Campaign”, drafting in former President Obama’s election campaign team to manage the project. It had little impact. Instead, the American media has been caught using images of Sikhs in reports about Islamic terrorism. USA Today and Cosmopolitan both used images of Sikhs in reports about terrorism, despite no instances of terrorism ever being suffered at the hands of Sikhs in the country.

Has anything changed since the Oak Creek massacre? Seemingly, most would say no. An online poll of 151 by the Sikh Press Association showed 51% felt nothing had changed, whilst 17% felt the situation had actually gotten worse for Sikhs.

Although there is not anywhere near the same number of incidents – or at least violent incidents – suffered by Sikhs outside of the US, the issue is still prevalent in nations like the UK, Australia and Canada. The Sikh Network’s Sikh Survey, which over 4500 Sikhs participated in (which according to some figures could be approximately 1% of the population of UK Sikhs) showed over one in five had experienced a hate crime.

Yet, it is nothing like the US, where the violence “has become all too common” according to Attorney General Eric Holder, speaking at the memorial service held in Oak Creek five years ago.

“In the recent past, too many Sikhs have been targeted and victimised simply because of who they are, how they look, and what they believe.

“This is wrong.  It is unacceptable.  And it will not be tolerated.  We must ask necessary questions of ourselves: what kind of nation do we truly want to have?  Will we muster the courage to demand more of those who lead us and, just as importantly, of ourselves?  What will we do to prevent that which has brought us here today from occurring in the future?

Sikhs worldwide urge America to find the answers to those questions, five years on from when they were originally asked.

You can read more from Dawinderpal Singh here – http://dawinderpal.com/.

Harmanpreet Kaur

Sikh cricket star dedicates performances to 1984 genocide victims

Note – Sikh PA categorically refute language around the 1984 Sikh genocide which calls the massacres “riots”. Although this language has become common place as a reflection of the Indian media narrative, it does not accurately portray the horrific scale of the slaughters which took place across India. More information can be found here


 

As the world’s attention fell on Harmanpreet Kaur last week during her epic 171-run performance in the Women’s World Cup semi-final, the India team bats-woman used her shirt to remember victims of the 1984 Sikh genocide.

Wearing the number 84 shirt, it was after her amazing performance against Australia on July 20 when the reason for the choice of number went viral, with many applauding the female sport star’s constant recognition for the victims of one of India’s most horrific periods in recent history.

84 shirt harmanpreet india

In an interview in 2016, Harmanpreet was quoted saying “I am very emotional when it comes to my roots. The 1984 anti-Sikh riots were very unfortunate. I did not lose any relative during the riots but innocent people were the victims. Whatever I have achieved so far is dedicated to my community and to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots victims.”

Harmanpreet’s mother Sukhjeet Kaur said of her daughter to Indian media, “When she picked up her jersey, she chose the jersey number 84. For Punjabis, 84 brings back the memories of the 1984 riots. But she took it positively and now we also see it as a good sign for her. She dedicates all her victories to the victims of the riots.

“Girls must be empowered and shouldn’t be killed in womb. The way my daughter made the country proud, other girls should also be encouraged.”

Harmanpreet Kaur has also worn the number in domestic competition.

Harmanpreet Kaur 2 club shirt

The Sikh Press Association encourage all of our community athletes on all levels who feel a connection to the faith and the community to use their platforms to highlight Sikh issues/teachings. For support in any such endeavours, please get in touch via Media@SikhPA.com.

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Sikh educational group on Australian school turban ban

Below we share an article from ABC News (Australia) about a school in Melbourne that is refusing to admit a Sikh pupil because of his patka (religious head covering).

Jaspreet Kaur, volunteer at Sikh educational organisation Basics of Sikhi says:

‘It is disappointing Melton Christian College will be continuing with its discriminatory policy. This policy represents a  level of religious ignorance by the school that we hope to rectify. The patka is an integral part of the Sikh identity and for those that wear it, it is not something that can simply be removed. For as long as the school bans the patka it does not have an open enrolment policy. This issue has come about simply due to a lack of understanding about the Sikh faith.’

Basics of Sikhi are available and always willing to educate the public and institutions about the Sikh faith.


Melbourne Sikh family challenge ‘inclusive’ Christian school’s ban on boy’s turban

A Melbourne family has launched legal action against a Christian school for banning their son from wearing his traditional Sikh patka, a turban worn by children.

Sidhak Singh Arora, 5, was due to start prep at Melton Christian College, in Melbourne’s north-west, this year.

But his patka does not comply with the school’s uniform policy which prohibits students from wearing any type of religious head covering.

His family have taken their fight to VCAT, claiming the school had breached the state’s Equal Opportunity Act by discriminating against their son on religious grounds.

Outside court, the boy’s father Sagardeep Singh Arora said he was surprised the school would not make an exemption for his son.

“I was very surprised in an advanced country like Australia, they are still not allowing us to wear patka in the school,” he said.

“On the basis of that they are not giving enrolment in the school.

Sidhak has enrolled at another school, but his parents hope Melton Christian College will be forced to change its policy so he can enrol there instead.

The VCAT hearing was told the college had an open enrolment policy which allowed children of all faiths to enrol.

Former college council member Stephen Liefting told the hearing they were inclusive of people of all faiths.

“As long as they don’t wear clothing that promotes other religions,” he said.

“We don’t want children standing out as different … we’re inclusive in the college.

Principal David Gleeson gave evidence that a number of Sikh students attend the school but do not wear the patka.

“I think one of the real strengths of the college is that we’re blind to … everyone is blind to religious affiliations,” he said.

“Anything additional to the uniform isn’t allowed.

Mr Gleeson gave an example of another student who liked wearing a New Balance cap but was not allowed to.

The college claimed it was not breaching the Equal Opportunity Act as there was not an exemption allowing it to enforce reasonable dress standards.

The hearing will continue on Wednesday.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-24/sikh-family-challenge-christian-schools-turban-ban/8737716