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  1. Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa || Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh || A(n)mrith Peevai Jis No Aap Peeaaeae || They alone drink in this Amrit, whom the Lord Himself inspires to do so. Amritsar Prison, Thursday 28th June 2012, a historic and profound event took place in the walls of this jail: an Amrit Sanchaar – Sikh Baptism ceremony – was held for the very first time within the confines of the prison. A total of 38 individuals, 35 men (Singhs – Lions) and 3 women (Kaurs – Princesses), arose in unity to illuminate a place as dark as a prison to tread a path of righteousness and join the Khalsa Panth (Sikh nation). The newly initiated had been inspired by the Parchaar (preaching) practiced by Bhai Pal Singh, a French citizen who has himself been physically tortured and illegally detained since July 2010, whose simple yet highly eloquent messages of “refrain from all drugs, honour women, and educate yourself” resonated with both the prisoners and wardens alike. The Jail Superintendent and his fellow staff being so impressed by both the lifestyle (click on this link for previous a press release of Bhai Sahib and his prison diaries), and loving devotion to fighting social injustices commented: “I have seen many who have come through the prison claiming to be Sants (saints)… THIS here is the FIRST REAL one.” After the ceremony Bhai Pal Singh was permitted to give a speech where they reemphasised their message as well as encouraging more prisoners to give up on their misguided ways and to step forward with a “clear” record and live a more fulfilling, devoted and commendable life. SOPW is amazed at the effect Bhai Pal Singh is having in such a short and restricted time period within the prison. The Chairman of SOPW, Bhai Balbir Singh Bains, recalls a short conversation a few months into Bhai Pal Singh’s incarceration, “Bhai Pal Singh felt that it was almost a divine calling from Waheguru (God) for them to be sent to prison. Whereas before they were at liberty to go village to village spreading a positive message amongst the people’s, it was time for them to deliver these messages where it was needed most, where nobody goes: prison.” SOPW is humbled at the support of the Sangat (congregation, donors) for their support and blessings. Bhai Pal Singh has also received many post cards as part of the “Postcard Appeal” and have written to many school children from around the world. We wish to encourage everyone to continue such morale-boosting support. If you wish to donate to any of the projects or volunteer your time, please visit / email: www.JustGiving.com/SOPW/Donate and info@prisonerwelfare.com Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa || Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh ||
  2. Inauguration of Gym at Maximum Security Jail Nabha, Punjab. Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa || Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh || Pourree || Pauree: Aapae Shhi(n)jh Pavaae Malaakhaarraa Rachiaa || He Himself has staged the tournament, and arranged the arena for the wrestlers. Lathhae Bharrathhoo Paae Guramukh Machiaa || They have entered the arena with pomp and ceremony; the Gurmukhs are joyful. Manamukh Maarae Pashhaarr Moorakh Kachiaa || The false and foolish self-willed manmukhs are defeated and overcome. Aap Bhirrai Maarae Aap Aap Kaaraj Rachiaa || The Lord Himself wrestles, and He Himself defeats them. He Himself staged this play. SOPW is proud to announce today that with the Sangat’s (Congregation’s) support and Waheguru’s (God’s) blessings, we are able to provide an update on the commitments announced on the press release dated 25th May 2012 (Guru Arjun Dev Ji’s Shaheedi Purbh / Imprisonment / Martyrdom): On 18th June 2012, the SOPW India team was able to visit the Maximum Security Jail Nabha to inaugurate a fully kitted out gym for all the inmates. This had been a longstanding request from the prisoners and it was during the Kirtan (religious hymn singing) and subsequent meeting with both the prisoners and the Jail Superintendent on 25th May 2012 that this as well as other needs were identified and committed to by SOPW. It was with the cooperation and much needed funding from the UK Sangat, SOPW (UK) was able to provide the following pieces of equipment at MSJ Nabha: 1) Olympic Weight Bar 2) Lat Pulley 3) Seated Rowing Machine 4) Shoulder Bench Press 5) Leg Curl & Extension Machine 6) Hack Squat 7) Seated Calf Raise 8 ) Exercise Bike 9) Flat Incline Decline Benches x3 10) Weights up to 210Kg 11) Cable Crossover Machine 12) Linear Bearing Smith Machine and other pieces of kit. The Jail Superintendent Gurpal Singh Saroya, his Deputy, alongside other jail staff was joined by representatives of many of the prisoners at the inauguration. This project required the support of the prison authorities in both at the concept stage – where permission was needed – as well at the project execution stage where many of the prison staff practically assisted in the construction of the gym. The Superintendent thanked SOPW for delivering on its commitments within such a short timescale. SOPW also wishes to publicly endorse the positive support and cooperation in making, what normally would be dark and dull atmosphere, the prison a more hospitable and physically active place. This is in addition to last month’s commissioning of a water filtration system for the whole prison – we hope to see a marked improvement in the health of all prisoners. Lastly, the SOPW India team prior to leaving the prison also assured the jail authorities that SOPW would in future also be both willing and ready for any such project where welfare of jail inmates was concerned. With this in mind, we would like to both sincerely pass on the blessings from all the prisoners and their families for all the support YOU given them as well as request everyone to please continue to donate to these and many more projects we undertake. We would not be able to undertake any of the above and other endeavours at SOPW without the kind patronage of everyone. If you wish to donate to any of the above projects or volunteer your time, please visit / email: www.Justgiving.com/SOPW/Donate and info@prisonerwelfare.com.com Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa || Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh || SOPW UK
  3. Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa || Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh || Today, on 25th May 2012, an eleven strong SOPW team went to the Maximum Security Jail Nabha for the celebration of the fifth Sikh Guru’s (Guru Arjun Dev Ji) imprisonment and Shaheedi Purbh (Martyrdom). Sikhs acknowledge Guru Arjun Dev Ji as the first Sikh to be Shaheed and the second political prisoner (the first being Guru Nanak Dev Ji). Guru Ji fits the definition of a political prisoner perfectly as they were held and sentenced to death for not accepting Islam against their will as well as the alleged harbouring of a political opponent (Prince Khusro) of the ruling Emperor Jahangir. The Guru was imprisoned and excessively tortured. His body was exposed in the scorching heat of May-June sun. He was made to sit on the red-hot sand, boiling hot water was poured on His naked body, chained and then thrown into the River Ravi where the Guru passed into heavenly abode. MSJ Nabha: A Kirtan (religious hymn singing) programme was arranged by SOPW within the Jail Gurdwara (temple). Between 8:30am and 11am the Kirtan rang out from the prison in the surrounding area with many prisoners and Prison Wardens joining in the congregation. From 11am to 1230pm a meeting and open forum was held with all of Nabha’s political prisoners to discuss their concerns and needs. Baba Bakshish Singh with great humility completed the Stage Secretary Sewa (service) and gave a beautiful speech where he went on to thank SOPW for organising such an event within the confines of the prison. In Panjabi, Baba Ji stated “It is the first time that any organisation has done this [service] for us and for that we are extremely grateful.” Baba Ji also affirmed that if any prisoner was to require any assistance or had any problems to speak to the SOPW team. Baba Bakshish Singh went on to thank SOPW and it’s supporters (You – the Sangat – Congregation) for looking after their medical, financial, family welfare as well as most of the prisoners’ legal aid. Soon after the discussions with the inmates, the SOPW team arranged a meeting with the Jail Superintendent, Gurpal Singh and his Deputy. The SOPW team demonstrated, on behalf of the prisoners, their concerns and asked Superintendent Gurpal Singh what we at SOPW could specifically do for the prisoners. A list of issues was jointly produced with an agreement from both parties that the items were primarily issues for the state government to resolve. However, the Superintendent was open to the offer of SOPW helping the jail authorities. The following is a list of the concerns and issues raised from the prisoners: 1) The need for greater pressure to be put on lawyers to fight political prisoners’ cases 2) Steering cases to be put before the Chief Minister of Punjab and requesting a memorandum to release all political prisoners 3) Bringing cases to the attention of the Akal Takhat (Throne of Sikh Political Power) to concentrate pressure and help facilitate the release of all political prisoners 4) The construction of a full gymnasium / fitness centre The SOPW India team articulated the above to the SOPW Chairman, Balbir Singh Bains, and confirmed the following: 1) A supervisor in India will be appointed who will specifically deal with all legal matters and ensure that any hired lawyer will ‘do their job’ 2) SOPW will write to the Chief Minister of Punjab, advising him of the concerns of all political prisoners and the need for action without delay 3) SOPW will also communicate with the Jathedar (Leader) of the Akal Takhat and advise him to not only put pressure on the government but to also personally visit the prisoners 4) SOPW will fund MSJ Nabha’s gym with all kit funded and ensure the gym is for the use of ALL inmates The issues raised by the Jail Superintendent include the following: 1) Water – A new filtration system for the whole prison is urgently needed 2) A regular weekly visit by a Doctor and Dentist is required for all the prisoners; ideally there will be 2-3 visits a week 3) Drug addiction needs to be addressed in the prison With Waheguru’s (God’s) grace and the Sangat’s contributions, SOPW has committed to funding the water filtration system for the whole prison and are now in communication with the local hospitals and rehabilitation centres to assist with issues 2 and 3. We would like to sincerely pass on the blessings from all the prisoners and their families for all the support YOU give them. SOPW would not be able to undertake any of the above and other endeavours SOPW without the kind patronage of everyone. If you wish to donate to any of the above projects or volunteer your time, please visit / email: www.Justgiving.com/SOPW/Donate and info@prisonerwelfare.com.com We wish you and your families a very happy Shaheedi Purbh. SOPW UK
  4. Please read and share with everyone; Bhai Pal Singh who is in his late 50's has endured so much, yet he remains in high spirits: http://www.prisonerwelfare.com/news/bhai-pal-singh-letter-1/ Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa || Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh || To those beloved, caring Sikhs and to those who despite their distance look after me. You must be thinking how we in the prisons are coping with life inside. From 5th of August 2010 till now I have been imprisoned in a small cell. The measurements of the cell are as follows: 10ft long and 8ft wide. Within this small cell there is a only a curtain that separates us from a Turkish style toilet. The cell doors have locks on them and outside the cell there is a tiled open spaced room. To exit this room there is another door which has a grilled, mesh type steel door. In my cell there are another two inmates, Bhai Kulwant Singh (now deceased) and Bhai Makhan Singh. We used to be four but with Waheguru’s (God’s) grace Bhai Darshan Singh Dadhi was released. There are two water taps in the toilet area and in this area we must keep our clothes, food containers and dishes (storage space). We are now having to cook our own food because the inmates who cook the prison food are addicted to intoxicants and are even allowed to smoke whilst cooking; sometimes we find cigarette butts in our chapattis or lentils (Daal). We petitioned a writ in the High Court about this but were unsuccessful and so we took the decision to cook our own food. We can buy the chapatti flour from here (jail) but the lentils are ordered from outside. For us this is very expensive. In order for us to prepare our food we are obliged to hire a stove for 100 rupees and pay for the fuel for an additional 18 rupees. This is all because the prison food is both appalling and unhygienic – This has also resulted in almost every other cell hiring their own stove so that they can, as a minimum, take the prison lentils and add various flavourings themselves. The prison chapattis are semi cooked, so we have our own hot plate to re-cook the chapattis properly. The prison canteen is where we buy our fuel, milk, yogurt, sugar, onions and potatoes but we are forced to pay a rate that is 3 times higher than the selling rate outside the prison.The daily timings for routine activities in the prison are semi-fixed; they fluctuate with the season. In the summer they will keep us outside our cells for longer. They take us out of our cells at 6am, however they impose a cell “lockdown” between 12pm-3pm regardless of what the conditions are (in the summer it is difficult to breath due to the humidity and stuffiness of the cells). It is prison rules that we must be taken out of our cells from 7am and lock us up again between 12pm – 3pm. Between 3pm and 6pm we are then released again and the cells are again closed for the day from 6pm to 7am the following day. If anyone causes any trouble or if someone disappears, the jail authorities create more rules and impose stricter conditions on all. The water starts running at 3am and this is when I wake up and have a bath and do Simran (meditation), Nitnem (morning prayers) and listen to Sri Darbaar Sahib’s Hukamnama (order of God for that particular day)and Kirtan (religious hymns singing). Everyone recites their prayers together. I wash my clothes at 5am so that when the cell doors open again at 6am I can then hang my clothes outside. By now its 7 am and we put on our tracksuits and go for a power walk or jog; we train like camels. In about an hour we have covered about 2km. At 8am some of the Singh’s will make Garam Jal (tea) and we make our way to the prison Gurudwara. They allow me to do Kirtan (sing hymns) between 8:30am and 9am everyday. After I have done my Kirtan, I will practice between 9am and 10am. At 10am I will then make my way to the gym and do some weightlifting for my arms/chest for half an hour. We would use each machine one by one. I can bench press 70kg with ease and with a little help I can bench press 100kg. The youths here are surprised and astonished to see an old man like me doing this exercise. I started going to the gym and exercising with this intensity 8 months ago because after they had tortured me, my body quickly deteriorated. It is by the virtue of Waheguru, by purchasing food from outside the prison, eating and training well, my body is a lot fitter now. At 1030am the gym closes and I return back to my cell and read the newspapers. At 11am a fellow inmate will prepare the food and after eating this meal we will once again go for a walk, to help digest the food. During this walk we prefer to do Simran rather than to talk to other inmates. At 12pm we are again locked up in our cells again and we use this opportunity to rest for a small white and then to arise again and complete Sukhmani Sahib and other Baani’s (Prayers). If we have some time after that, I will then make notes of the various happenings and my own case. Once the cells open up at 3pm, we go to the Gurdwara. I am the only person permitted to go to the Gurudwara at 3pm whereas the others are only allowed from 4pm onwards. Between 3pm and 3.45pm I practice Kirtan and I will continue this in front of the congregation until 4:15pm. After I have finished we all then complete our Rehiraas Sahib (evening prayer). These timings are applicable to the winter schedule; the summer schedule only changes slightly. After Rehiraas Sahib, we go outside the Gurudwara to an area where there is a 400m track where we walk and complete 4-5 laps power-walking. At 6pm we return to our cells and we are locked up for the night. Here we listen to Kirtan for half an hour, prepare and eat dinner and again listen to Kirtan until 8pm. Every now and again, a comedy program comes on air and we would watch it with the news. If we are afforded the luxury of fruit and nuts, we would also indulge in them as well. By 9pm we are asleep. This is our daily routine. For the last 18 months I’ve been in prison but somehow I haven’t realised or felt that I’ve been here for so long. This is because of the blessings and prayers done by you for me. Sometimes when I do Kirtan in Raag (classical musical form) I am surprised that someone like me is blessed by Waheguru’s grace; no-one has taught me how to do Kirtan here. I have been given two Kirtan Books from which I have learnt to do Kirtan. This is a peaceful life – the reality is, I have not been able to live outside! This is simply Waheguru’s blessings. It is with the the Sangat’s prayers and Waheguru’s grace that I’ve been able to live in peace. I have however seen people cry here. Only those are saved who follow Waheguru’s will. Gurbaani (Guru’s words) is extremely powerful and it doesn’t let its followers fail or slip. My mind still hasn’t been able to comprehend your prayers and well wishes. With Waheguru’s blessings many in the prison have stopped taking intoxicants and have started to keep their hair. I believe this is Waheguru’s blessings on me: that I have been assigned this duty to serve the people here. Sangat Ji (dearest congregation), If I have said anything wrong, please accept my sincerest apologies. Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa || Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh || Pal Singh Amritsar Jail
  5. Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa || Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh || On this Shubh (auspicious) day, we at the Sikh Organisation for Prisoner Welfare (SOPW) wish everyone a very happy and high-spirited Vaisakhi (Sikh – Khalsa’s founding and Punjabi/Indian New Year centred around the Harvest Festival). May Waheguru (God) bless us all with a celebration that illuminates the entire universe in this dark age where injustice, hardships and other forms of life’s struggles permeate. “… Maeraa Prabh Sabh Kishh Jaanadhaa || Pragatt Prathaap Varathaaeiou Sabh Lok Karai Jaikaar Jeeo ||17|| Maerae Gun Avagan N Beechaariaa || Prabh Apanaa Biradh Samaariaa || Ka(n)t(h) Laae Kai Rakhioun Lagai N Thathee Vaao Jeeo ||18|| “…My God knows everything. He has made His Glory manifest, and all people celebrate Him. ||17 | He has not considered my merits and demerits; this is God’s Own Nature. Hugging me close in His Embrace, He protects me, and now, even the hot wind does not touch me. ||18||” On the 13th April 2012, Vaisakhi, between the hours of 0900hrs and 1130hrs in the Patiala Jail, Gursikh volunteers from SOPW were allowed to enter the prison and in very much the tradition of the Khalsa, were permitted to hold a Kirtan Diwan (religious hymn singing ceremony). All prisoners were allowed to attend including Zinda Shaheed (Living Martyr) – a title conferred by the Sikhs highest temporal authority, Sri Akaal Takhat Sahib and coined by Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar – on death row themselves – in reference to all political prisoners on death row) – Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana. Inmates from Patiala Jail Congregation SOPW recognised the convictions and respect for human life of the Patiala Jail Superintendent Bhai Lakhwinder Singh Jakhar. SOPW volunteers presented Superintendent Sahib with a Saropa (respectful garland) for his refusal to execute, literally, the court warrant ordering Bhai Balwant Singh’s inhumane execution by hanging. The jail Superintendent in turn also presented the SOPW volunteers with a Saropa in his recognition of the Sewa (selfless service) they, often in the face of personal/familial intimidation they themselves face whilst carrying out their service, humbly carry out of the prisoners. This symbolic act was recognised by all in attendance as a highly momentous and significant event. This very much aligns with Shaheed Bhai Fauja Singh’s Parchaar and spirit whilst they were in prison where they too also held Kirtan Diwans on a regular basis; Bhai Sahib went as far as organising Amrit Sanchars (baptism ceremonies) for the reformed/political prisoners. Vaisakhi is also the day Bhai Sahib and 12 other Gursikhs, from both the Akhand Kirtani Jatha and Bhindranwala Jatha, attained Shaheedi (Martyrdom) in the face of state- sponsored thugs from the Nakali Nirankaris in 1978. A fact not known by many is that Shaheed Bhai Fauja Singh was also, at the time of their Shaheedi, out of prison on bail pending a court hearing on charges relating to their actions against a rapist who publicly dared to repeat his crimes with no remorse. Bhai Sahib wrote very eloquently of the needs of the Khalsa Panth (Sikh nation) to always be at the forefront of justice and truth and often referred to the Qaum (nation) being in a state of deep stupor. We at SOPW urge everyone to not only enjoy this period of celebration as well as spiritual/economic cultivation, but also to awaken to the inequities, prejudice and unjustness of the present situation around the globe – SOPW is not only a charity seeking justice for the Sikh people, it is a charity seeking truth, reconciliation and fair treatment for all. Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa || Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh || Sikh Organisation for Prisoner Welfare (SOPW) www.prisonerwelfare.com
  6. Exclusive News Tuesday (10/04/2012) Prof. Devinderpal Singh Bhullar faced their fourth hearing in relation to their appeal of the 2001 imposed death sentence. This coming Thursday will be their fifth hearing. In India there are 47 death-row cases pending final outcomes. Of these 47 cases, 5 are for Political prisoners – they are listed below: 1) Prof. Devinderpal Singh Bhullar 2) Murugan alias Sriharan, T Suthendraraja alias Santhan and A G Perarivalan alias Arivu (Rajiv Gandhi’s Killers) 3) Afzal Guru 4) Mahendra Nath Das 5) Kamal Shah (Now deceased after committing suicide) The Supreme Court of India has now decided to set up guidelines and procedures to follow with regards to prison inmates who sit on death row. Previously, sentences were passed down with no real set guidelines for judges to follow. With such high importance of cases, this often lead to inconsistency of application of capital punishment as a sentence. The courts have further decided to hear to each case twice a week; one hearing each for Tuesday’s and Thursday’s though it is still unclear which of the following two modus operandi they will use: A) Hear each appeal in turn and then confirm and accept or refuse and reject the sentence passed in earlier judicial proceedings, or B) Hear all 47 pending appeals and then make a decision in totum or on each case The Supreme Court is also adjudicating on whether the death sentence would be “fair” in application in such cases where consideration for the amount of time spent in incarceration may need to be taken into account. This is particularly relevant as the life sentence is often 14 years and in many cases prisoners have been denied their liberty for far longer. With this review there is an anticipated decision as to whether the death penalty should be an “allowable” verdict for those proven to be suffering from any psychological illnesses. The United Nations has passed several resolutions and under International law this is prohibited (1984, 1997, 2000. As an international comparison, the United States of America, a country where several states allow for capital punishment, bans such executions in its constitution – a document written and signed by the Founding Fathers in 1787. It appears that judges in the lower courts are also becoming increasingly averse to using capital punishment. For example, in 2007 several high profile cases involving pre-meditated murders, rape and murder of minors during rioting, terrorist bombings, etc. have not attracted the death penalty. However, activists have revealed a fatal flaw in any assumption that this would lead to a real reduction in the amount of death sentences passed – in the absence of sentencing guidelines in what constitutes “rarest of the rare”, in some less gruesome murders, the lower courts have often awarded capital punishment often not due to their own reluctance but due to the poor defence presented by the lawyers of the economically weak. We will provide you all with updates as we get them. Thank you for you continuous support.
  7. SOPW is proud to announce the following acquittals and bails: Balwinder Singh – 1.5 years in Nabha Jail: Acquitted Gurbhej Singh – 3 years in Nabha Jail: Acquitted Manjit Singh – 3 years in Nabha Jail: Acquitted Lakhwinder Singh- 3 years in Nabha Jail: Bailed Jasmail Singh aka Sahib Singh – 1.5 years in Nabha Jail: Bailed Baba Rashpal Singh – 1.5 years in Nabha Jail: Bailed Bagh Singh – 3 years in Nabha Jail: Bailed Baba Paramjit Singh – 8 months in Nabha Jail: Bailed Palwinder Singh – 4.5 years in Nabha Jail: Bailed SOPW have been supporting these prisoners from the beginning and we are proud of the strength and courage they have shown to fight for their innocence. We also would like to thank you all; the supporters, who have helped SOPW facilitate the releases of these prisoners. It is with your support we can do the work that we are doing right now. Please continue to support us by sharing this, adding your friends to SOPW, Volunteering with us and donating; www.Justgiving.com/SOPW Thank you all.
  8. Ik Onkar Sri Akaal Sahai To all humble and concerned Sikhs in the United Kingdom, please accept my Fateh; Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa || Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh || With all the blessings from Waheguru (wonderful Lord) and the prayers from the Sikh community, and despite my incarceration and confinement by the corrupt government, I am happy to report that I remain in high spirits (Chardi Kala). In the presence of Waheguru (God), I pray for the well being for all my fellow Sikhs and for the freedom of our nation. May Waheguru bless us; bless us with unity so that the community can come together and achieve our goal of Khalistan. I am unable to express in words the magnitude of support I am receiving from the Sikh community in the UK. In this hardship the UK community has amazed me and I find myself awestruck and I am finding it difficult to express the feelings I have in my heart and soul except to say that I am extremely thankful for the Sangat’s (congregation) love and support. I would specifically like to thank 2 advocates who have taken the time and effort to do Parchaar (educate) and Seva (selfless service) in the Sangat. They are educating the youth and elders alike about the true history – past and now presently – of the Sikh struggles. Despite the contemptible actions of the corrupt government these Gursikhs are not allowing any other hurdle get in their way of Sewa. They are helping both Sikh and non-Sikh Political Prisoners very bravely and without any fear. Amongst those being held in these harsh jails, I must report that there are many who after so many years on jail, do not know why they are in prison. Additionally, their families have been left to suffer. In these difficult times it is the UK charity, SOPW, who with the support of the UK and International Sangat, is paying for these prisoners’ lawyers, other jail expenses and also assisting their families at their time of need. I would specifically like to thank these 2 advocates and also the rest of the SOPW team for the great work they are doing. I pray to God, that you all be blessed with everything, for not only helping me but many others who are like me: Political Prisoners. You have been helping and supporting us for the last 3 decades. I pray that Waheguru blesses you all with more strength to serve the Sangat and Panth tirelessly. For OUR freedom. I would like to request that the UK Sikh community help SOPW with their mind, body and soul, so that they can continue to serve the innocent Sikh Political Prisoners. I would sincerely like to thank all the God-loving followers for the support they have given. It is with their energy (spiritual and physical) that many challenges have been overcome. From me and all the other inmates we would like to thank you all. With your permission I would like to end this letter here. Please forgive me for any mistakes. Sevadaar of the Khalsa Jagtar Singh Hawara Imprisoned: Central Jail 1 High Risk Ward-6 Tihar, New Delhi (11064) http://www.prisonerwelfare.com/news/letter-from-bhai-jagtar-singh-hawara/
  9. Breaking News Exclusive – Akaal Takhat Meeting Leak. SOPW has received inside information leaked from the meeting that took place today at Sri Akaal Takhat Sahib. The meeting was held between the Five Jathedars, Advocate Amar Singh Chahal, and other leading Sikh intellectuals, academics and political figures. The meeting was to determine the best course of action to take in relation to the death sentence of Balwant Singh Rajoana. SOPW believes that the information leaked is of significance to the Sikh Nation and we have a duty to present this information to the Sikh Nation. Legal counsel in this meeting was provided by Advocate Amar Singh Chahal who is a high ranking lawyer in Punjab. Advocate Amar Singh Chahal was leading the defence of the 11 accused in the Beant assassination case. Advocate Chahal made clear to those attending that the death sentence cannot be stopped only delayed. Four out of five Jathedars expressed that they wished to delay the death sentence. Only Jathedar Balwant Singh Nandgarh of Damdama Sahib supported the decisions of Balwant Singh Rajoana. The options discussed to delay the death sentence were: 1. The five Jathedars issue a Hukamnama to Rajoana ordering him to appeal, which would cause much delay and open the way to convert the sentence to life. 2. The superintendant of Patiala Jail cannot hang Rajoana in Punjab as he can only be hanged where the trial was, Chandigarh. This transfer process could be supported which will delay the hanging by 4-6 months 3. There is an ongoing explosives case on Rajoana in Patiala Court; the Advocate General (appointed by Badal government) can issue a writ to the court to suspend the hanging until the pending case is solved. This will cause 5-10 year delay. From the information leaked to SOPW we have been given this break down of the options: 1. Option 1 is seen as very risky as it is believed that Balwant Singh would reject this option and this would be very embarrassing to the authority of the current Akaal Takhat Jathedars. 2. Option 2 would not result in significant delay as the sentence could be carried out in Chandigarh. 3. Option 3 is seen as the most favourable route as greater pressure can be exerted by political figures in Punjab on the Patiala Court resulting in much delay. We have seen international support for Balwant Singh Rajoana and his decision not to oppose the death sentence. These fearless actions have renewed the pride and interest of the Sikh Nation in the ideals that Sikhs like Balwant Singh Rajoana represent. Balwant Singh Rajoana has provided the nation with a central focus point that has brought the ideals of Sikh Nationalism, Justice for Sikh Political Prisoners and victims of oppression and the significance of Shaheedi to the hearts and minds of nearly every Sikh household the world over. We know from many examples of non-Sikhs where the death sentence has not been given that there is no Justice for Sikhs Political Prisoners in India. Like in the case of Kishori Lal the butcher of Trilochpuri, who was released following three death sentences. The case of the Mumbai bombers who were also spared the death sentence; the case of the Naxalites that killed 17 police officials in 1983 but were not given the death sentence. We also know that political figures and police officials accused of brutal human rights violations and genocide enjoy impunity and promotions. Such as Izhar Alam, Sumedh Saini and KPS Gill, to name a few. Balwant Singh Rajoana is well aware of facts like these, this is the reason he has expressed zero faith in the Indian legal system and has made it clear that there is no justice for Sikh Political Prisoners other than the hangman’s noose. This is a continuation of the traditions of great Sikh martyrs, like Guru Arjan Dev Ji the first Sikh martyr, who accepted death rather than bow down to a brutally oppressive government. We know clearly where Balwant Singh Rajoana stands – uncompromisingly for justice for the countless raped, broken, tortured and murdered families. We know who he stands with – the entire Sikh Nation. We know what he wants – the justice of the noose. What we don’t know is where the Punjab government and Akaal Takhat stand. Why would four out of five Jathedars wish to delay the death sentence? Why would they be vocal over this issue but silent over other issues of Sikh National Interest? Why would they ignore letters from Balwant Singh Rajoana and not visit him during his 17 years despite several requests? We don’t know the clear answers to these questions, we can only guess. What we do know is the next meeting of the Akaal Takhat Jathedars is with Chief Minister Parkash Badal. This is the same Parkash Badal against who numerous allegations of corruption and collusion with those political elements that facilitated the genocide of the Sikhs are levelled. Is Parkash Badal above and more important than other Sikh political figures, intellectuals, academics and advocates that he needs to meet in secret with the Akaal Takhat Jathedars? We know clearly that these proposed delays will only serve politicians like Parkash Badal, not Balwant Singh Rajoana who has been denied justice for 17 years. The only reason that the date for hanging was set was at the repeated request of Balwant Singh Rajoana. For 17 years we have nearly forgotten him, will it take 5-10 years more to forget him and others like him, entirely? Please also read our other Press Release in this matter at: www.PrisonerWelfare.com/press-release/rajoanna-pr
  10. We are now at 57%. Please post all over social networks and let Sangat know about this appeal.
  11. BHAI BALWANT SINGH RAJOANA TO BE HANGED TILL DEATH ON 31, MARCH AT PATIALA (FORMER CHIEF MINISTER BEANT SINGH MURDER CASE) BREAKING NEWS H S Bawa Jalandhar, March 13- Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana, who had been awarded capital punishment in the case of murder of former Chief Minister Beant Singh shall be hanged on 31st of March at Patiala. His is a rare case where an accused in a murder case, after being awarded death penalty, had not only chosen not to go for an appeal but even kept on asking to hang him as early as possible. Orders about his execution have been passed by Chandigarh Additional District & Sessions Judge, Shalini S Nagpal and sent to Jail authorities. He will be hanged till death at 9.00 AM on Saturday the 31st of March. Bhai Rajoana who is in Patiala Jail has been served the orders, it has been learnt. Bhai Rajoana is at present lodged in Central Jail, Patiala. He was to present himself before Sh. Vivek Puri, Additional District & Sessions Judge Patiala in another case regarding recovery of RDX from him today but he was not brought into Court and the proceedings were reportedly conducted by way of video-conferencing. The case has been adjourned to March, 21, 2012. Congress Leader and Chief Minister of Punjab Beant Singh was assassinated at the Punjab secretariat on August 31, 1995. Dilwar Singh, a suicide bomber, killed the former CM along with 17 others in the attack, which also left 18 seriously injured. A charge sheet in this case was filed in November 1995. Six accused in the case including Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoanae were found guilty and convicted by Additional District & Sessions Judge (Chandigarh) Ravi Kumar Sondhi in the last week of July, 2007 for attempt to murder, murder and criminal conspiracy. The others who were convicted included Jagtar Singh Hawara, Shamsher Singh, Gurmeet Singh and Lakhwinder Singh. Another accused, Nasib Singh, was convicted under the Fire and Explosive Act. One of the accused Navjot Singh was acquitted. Only two of the accused Hawara and Rajoana were awarded capital punishment while three were awarded life imprisonment. As Bhai Rajoana had confessed his role in the case he refused to file an appeal before the Punjab & Haryana High Court, after he was awarded capital punishment by the Sessions Court at Chandigarh. He had in fact given in writing to the court that he does not want to go for an appeal. However Jagtar Singh Hawara and others petitioned High Court against the orders of the District & Sessions Court. Punjab & Haryana High Court on October 12, 2010 commuted the death sentenced of Hawara while upholding the death sentence awarded to Bhai Rajoana. Beant Singh Murder case had hit headlines again in January 2004 when Hawara, Tara and Paramjit Singh Bheora escaped from Burail jail. The police later nabbed Hawara and Bheora, but are yet to arrest Tara. While in Jail Bhai Rajoana had expressed to be blessed with ‘AMRIT’ and requested Akal Takht Jathedar Singh Sahib Giani Gurbachan Singh to come for baptizing him who specially came to the Jail to baptise him on June, 12, 2011 alongwith Baba Harnam Singh Khalsa, Chief of Damdami Taksal and president of the Gurmat Sidhant Parcharak Sant Samaj, former Akal Takht Jathedar Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode, Federation President Paramjit Singh Khalsa, Bhai Raghbir Singh Khalsa and Bhai Major Singh to fulfil the wish of Bhai Rajoana. In a will signed on June, 17, 2008 in the presence of his sister Kamaldeep Kaur, his brother in law Baljit Singh, his nephew Ajaydeep Singh, his niece Harnoor Kaur, Superintendent of the Model Jail Chandigarh, Navjot Pal Singh Randhawa, Medical officer, B. K. Salwan and other jail authorities Bhai Rajoana had expressed the wish that after his death his eyes be donated to Bhai Lakhwinder Singh Hazuri Ragi of Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar so that his eyes continue to have darshan of Darbar Sahib. Bhai Rajoana, in his will, had said that after his death any of his body parts, be given to anyone who needs them. Strongly criticizing Congress for doing great injustice to Sikhs Bhai Rajoana in an appeal issued on 3rd of January, 2012 had asked the panth to vote for Shiromani Akali Dal in the recently concluded Punjab Vidhan Sabha Elections. Bhai Rajoana is the son of late Malkit Singh and Bhajan Kaur. He was a constable with Punjab Police. He has an elder brother Kulwant Singh Rajoana and a sister Kamaldeep Kaur. English Translation of the Will of Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana. Ik Onkar Oh Kabir, there is nothing of mine in this life Whatever is there, is yours If I surrender what is yours, unto Thee What do I lose or pay? (Bhagat Kabir, Guru Granth Sahib) Accepting the Omnipresence of Akal Purakh (God Almighty), I hereby swear on oath that after my death, all the parts of my body, which can benefit any person, are pledged to the highest temporal authority of the Sikhs, Sri Akal Takht Sahib. It is my earnest wish that after my death, my eyes may kindly be given to Hazuri Ragi of Sri Darbar Sahib Harmandar Sahib, Bhai Lakhwinder Singh, who is blind, so that through him, my eyes continue to revere holy Darbar Sahib. For medical or other reasons, in case this is not possible, then my eyes may be given to any other needy person. In addition to this any other part of my body (heart, kidney or any other) which can be beneficial to any other person, may be given to that person. I am writing this Will without any coercion or compulsion and out of my own convictions and commitment and with the approval of the members of my family. I am happily making this Will in the presence of my sister Kamaldeep Kaur, my brother in law Baljit Singh, my nephew Ajaydeep Singh, my niece Harnoor Kaur, Superintendent of the Model Jail Chandigarh, Navjot Pal Singh Randhawa ji, Medical office, B. K. Salwan and other jail authorities. Signed Balwant Singh Rajoana Countersigned by Kamaldeep Kaur Baljit Singh Ajaydeep Singh Navjot Pal Singh Randhawa Deputy Superintendent of Jails 17 June 2008 http://yespunjab.com/index.php/punjab-news/item/298-bhai-balwant-singh-rajoana-to-be-hanged-till-death-on-31st-of-march-former-chief-minister-beant-singh-murder-case
  12. Can admin please make this a sticky? SOPW is a registered charity in UK. Please donate generously.
  13. Please do Ardaas for Panthik Sevaaks Bhai Lal Singh and Bhai Major Singh who are due in High Court for judgement. Please spare a thought and prayer for two political prisoners whom are due in High Court today and tomorrow. Political Prisoner Bhai Lal Singh son of Bhai Manjit Singh being held in Naba Jail for over 20 years is due for his final appearance at High Court today for final judgment. Tomorrow Bhai Major Singh whose story we shared with you last year is due in High Court. Bhai Major Singh has been the longest serving Political Prisoner, he has been held in prison since age of 14 years old for well over 20 years. SOPW has today made payment of 25,000 INR for Bhai Major Singh and another 25,000 INR for Bhai Lal Singh legal fees. We pray they both are released in next couple of days. Please donate towards the 50,000 INR legal fees paid today for lawyer fees for just these two political prisoners. DONATE: http://www.justgiving.com/sopw/Donate SOPW has no staff or paid consultants, just nishkam sevadaars. All accounts are avalible on charity commission website.
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    Both - right now we would like An events poster made.
  15. Anyone able to help with Seva of posters etc please email us at info[at]prisonerwelfare.com Thank you
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