**Sikhs write to Emmanuel Macron and EU President on transnational repression ahead of Republic Day celebrations in India as EU Parliament passes resolution condemning the human rights situation in India ** London – 18 January 2024
After US President, Joe Biden turned down an invitation to Republic Day celebrations in India on 26 January following accusations of transnational repression by the Indian state it was reported that the French President, Emmanuel Macron had accepted Narendra Modi’s invitation to be the chief guest of honour.
Sikhs in France wrote to Emmanuel Macron on 19 September 2023 after Justin Trudeau made allegations in the Canadian Parliament against the Indian government for their involvement in the assassination of Canadian Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar. They have written to him again today on the basis of a detailed Memorandum sent yesterday to the EU President, Ursula von der Leyen (see attached)
The Memorandum details transnational repression by the Indian government targeting Sikh activists in the Diaspora. It points out Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister raised India’s transnational repression with Joe Biden, Emmanuel Macron and Rishi Sunak ahead of the G20 Summit in Delhi in September 2023.
Emmanuel Macron has been asked to either pull out of India’s Republic Day celebrations or raise concerns directly with Narendra Modi when he sees him. Dabinderjit Singh , the Principal Adviser of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:
“Emmanuel Macron must show solidarity with the US Administration and Canadian Government and send a strong signal to Narendra Modi that transnational repression by India is totally unacceptable and that India must come clean and co-operate with the ongoing investigations by law enforcement agencies.”
The Memorandum to the EU President refers to the US Department of Justice unsealed indictment on 29 November 2023 that mentions plans for “two or three jobs” (assassinations of Sikh activists in the Diaspora) every month. Sikhs across Europe believe these plans could include Sikh activists in a number EU countries and not just the US, Canada and UK.
The memorandum also refers to the deteriorating human rights situation in India and India’s shift from a democracy to an autocracy. It was sent as the European Parliament adopted a detailed resolution yesterday concerning some of the most pressing human rights concerns in India, including “acts of violence, increasing nationalistic rhetoric and divisive policies”.
The resolution condemns “hate speech (in India) that incites discrimination or violence against any religious minorities” and expresses serious concerns about unjust laws like the Citizenship Amendment Act. It also urges India “to release all political prisoners,” end blanket restrictions on internet access, and protect civil society from harmful effects of laws such as the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The resolution urges the Indian government to facilitate the visits of UN special procedures and cooperate closely with them, most of which have to date not been allowed to visit the country for 25 years since 1999. India has also been urged to ratify the UN Convention against Torture, the UN Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and adhere to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Dabinderjit Singh , added:
“Emmanuel Macron cannot ignore the resolution on human rights violations in India adopted yesterday in the European Parliament.”
“He also is aware on the eve of his visit what India’s Republic Day represents and that the Sikh leadership rejected the Indian Constitution in 1950. Sikhs to date have refused to sign and accept the Constitution as it fails to recognise the distinct Sikh faith, the fifth largest in the world. The BJP government agenda building on an unacceptable Constitution is going to extreme lengths to try and assimilate Sikhs.”
Jaspal Singh National Press Secretary Sikh Federation (UK)