Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) and the All India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF) have approached the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions to secure the release of former Sikh militants who continue to be detained after the expiry of their prison term.
In an urgent appeal addressed to Malick Sow, Chair-Rapporteur for UN “Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions” and Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights, the SFJ has urged the UN body to persuade India and secure the release of the six prisoners and the life of Sikh activist Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa — who is sitting on a fast unto death for their release.
Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa has been on a hunger strike since November 14 for securing the release of Gurmeet Singh, Lakhwinder Singh, Shamsher Singh, Lal Singh, Wariam Singh and Gurdeep Singh Khaira lodged in different jails in the country.
“Continued arbitrary detention of Sikh prisoners beyond the sentence period exposes the bias towards Sikhs who are minority in India. On one hand, the Indian system failed to prosecute those who committed genocidal attacks on Sikhs during November 1984. While on the other hand, Sikh activists continue to face arbitrary detentions without any charges,” said Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal advisor to SFJ.
The Sikhs groups have also initiated a social media campaign asking the community to email UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions to push for the release of these prisoners.
Meanwhile, another radical Sikh group Dal Khalsa has written a letter to Amnesty International seeking its help for the release of these prisoners. In a statement issued in Chandigarh, the organisations said that the government is paying lip service to the matter without doing anything substantial. It has also sent a prisoner’s bio sheet to Amnesty detailing the status report of the prisoners.