**Sikhs condemn massive security crackdown and suspension of civil liberties in Panjab
British Sikhs fear for loved ones visiting and living in Sikh-dominated Panjab and appeal to UK Government to raise concerns with Indian authorities ** London – 18 March 2023
The Sikh Federation (UK) condemns the massive security crackdown in Panjab to arrest youth leader, Bhai Amritpal Singh on trumped up charges. Nearly 100 of his close associates have been arrested and at least a further 500 detained.
The fate of Bhai Amritpal Singh remains unknown. Initial reports suggested Bhai Amritpal Singh was taken into police custody and moved to an undisclosed location. Later Panjab Police claimed he was a fugitive and a massive manhunt was underway. Many fear he will be extrajudicially murdered.
Internet services have been totally suspended across the Sikh-dominated state and section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code has been imposed suspending civil liberties of assembly and protest by prohibiting the assembly of four or more people. Travel within the state has come to a complete halt.
Tens of thousands of Sikhs from the Diaspora from countries like the UK, Canada, USA, Australia and the EU are currently visiting Panjab. Governments across the globe and the United Nations must recognise the lives of their Sikh citizens are in grave danger. These are the same types of tactics used by the Indian authorities in the 1980s to justify torture and fake police encounters.
Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:
“The massive security crackdown in Panjab with the arrest and detention of up to a thousand Sikh activists and the suspension of civil liberties has alarmed and unsettled Sikhs across the globe.”
“Tens of thousands of Sikhs from the Diaspora, including several thousand from the UK are currently visiting the Sikh-dominated State of Panjab. Friends and family in the UK are deeply disturbed by these worrying developments and concerned for their loved ones.”
“The Indian authorities have used these tactics in the past for extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.”
“We call on the UK and other governments to immediately raise concerns with the Indian authorities on the use of draconian laws, the suspension of civil liberties and the safety of their Sikh citizens who are currently visiting Panjab.”
“Panthic Sikh organisations and Gurdwaras have this evening announced a national protest outside the Indian High Commission in London between 1-3pm on Wednesday 23 March 2023 to allow Sikhs to highlight their concerns.”
Jaspal Singh National Press Secretary