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Memorandum submitted to the UN Secretary General, President of the UNHRC & High Commissioner for Human Rights Ban Ki-moon United Nations Secretary-General Joachim Rücker President of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Prince Zeid bin Raad High Commissioner for Human Rights 30 October 2015 GENOCIDE & KILLINGS OF RELIGIOUS MINORITIES IN INDIA Over 1,000 Sikhs from over a dozen countries have today gathered outside the United Nations office in Geneva to mark the 31st anniversary of the November 1984 Sikh Genocideand highlight the continued killings of religious minorities in India. Lack of justice for the Sikh Genocide of November 1984 The Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh in late December 2014 referred to what happen to the Sikhs in November 1984 as Genocide and that justice would be meted out to the victims only when the perpetrators of the crime are punished and that until these persons are punished, victims will not get relief. This is at odds with the recent decision in September 2015 by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to give a clean chit to one of the leading culprits, Jagdish Tytler. UN-led inquiry into the 1984 Sikh Genocide The Indian state ordered the army to attack the Sri Harmandir Sahib Complex in June 1984.The BJP who are now in power in India are on record as supporting and even encouraging and wanting that attack sooner. This was set out by L K Advani in his book My Country, My Life. There is a need for a UN-led inquiry into the atrocities committed in June 1984, the killings and disappearances in the months that followed and the systematic and deliberate killing of innocent Sikhs in November 1984. The UN inquiry should also look into the use by the police of criminals, goons, gangsters and smugglers to impersonate Sikh militants, widely known as Black Cats. Prosecution of police officers involved in human rights violations in Punjab To resolve the political conflict with the Sikhs international admission of the truth around widespread human rights violations by India is essential. For over 30 years UN rapporteurs and independent experts as well as Amnesty International have been denied access to Punjab to investigate widespread allegations of torture, disappearances, false encounters and extra-judicial executions. If India wishes to be taken seriously it must allow the truth to emerge by removing such restrictions, allowing independent investigations followed by prosecutions. Release of Sikh political prisoners There are 84 known Sikhs political prisoners languishing in India's prisons some have been in prison for over 25 years. The list consists of 1 death row conflict, 20 life term prisoners who are mainly in Punjab's prisons and many have served their minimum terms, 8 senior citizens whose health has deteriorated and 55 other Sikhs held in various states around India, such as UP, Haryana, Jammu and Jaipur. One of the first steps for resolving political conflicts is the release of all political prisoners and a general amnesty for those that have cases pending. Oppression of religious and ethnic minorities in India The present Indian Government has clear Hindutva objectives and the current Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, trained with the ultranationalist right wing Hindu group, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The RSS is a Hindu nationalist paramilitary group that has been involved in extreme violence, including acts of terrorism and been banned several times in India. This includes when RSS member Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi in 1948. The most recent ban was in 1992 after the demolition of the BabriMasjid. The BJP government led by Narenda Modi presents a significant threat to religious and ethnic minorities in India with the declaration by right wing Hindu groups that they will ensure India becomes a Hindu Rashtra by 2021. These groups have an objective of attacking the Sikh faith so it leads to its eventual assimilation and is driving a campaign to convert Muslims and Christians to Hinduism by force. There have been numerous examples of forced conversions since Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014. Following Indian independence Sikhs refused to be signatories of the Indian Constitution as Article 25 denies Sikhs exist as a distinct religion with a separate identity. Successive Indian governments have refused to amend Article 25 and various laws concerning the Sikh way of life (i.e. marriage, inheritance, adoption etc.). The current Chief Minister of Punjab burnt a copy of the Indian Constitution in Delhi on 27 February 1984 to press the then Union Government to amend the Constitution. The current BJP government, although supported by the Chief Minister of Punjab is plainly opposed to make any changes. In January 2015 President Obama while speaking in Delhi criticised the Modi led BJP government by making a plea for freedom of religion to be upheld in India, a country with a history of strife between Hindus and minorities. In a veiled threat he also warned otherwise India could break up. Recent attacks on the Sikh faith and killing of peaceful Sikh protesters In recent weeks we have seen the desecration of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the Sikh Holy scriptures and the eternal living Guru of the Sikhs. Following an incident at Bargari village in Faridkot district tens of thousands of peaceful Sikh protesters pitched their tents in Kotkapura demanding the arrest of those responsible for tearing off more than 100 pages of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. In shocking scenes on the morning of 14 October 2015 the Punjab Police used lethal force against the peaceful Sikh protesters without warning while they were undertaking their morning prayers. The police initially used batons to attack the peaceful protestors and then resorted to use of water cannons full of sewage water to try and disperse protesters. Later they opened fire with live ammunition killing two unarmed Sikh protesters and injuring dozens of others. In appalling and horrific scenes hundreds of Sikhs exercising their democratic right to peacefully assemble and protest were beaten, dragged away and arrested reminding everyone little appears to have changed since 1984 in terms of a disregard for Sikh lives and police brutality. These shocking scenes have caused global outrage within the Sikh Diaspora. Tough and speedy action is needed against police officers responsible for the killings and brutality and arrests and prosecution of those who desecrated Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, our living Guru. Application of self-determination to the Sikhs & demand for an independent Sikh homeland, Khalistan Acceptance by India of the general principle that self-determination is a basic human right founded in international law and it applies to the Sikhs. Withdrawal of Indias reservation at the UN Human Rights Council that self-determination does not apply to the people of India. Internal self-determination by Sikhs since 1947 has been violently rejected and crushed with state terror so remedy via external self-determination is possible. The persecution of Sikhs in 1984 and in the years that followed and the lack of justice is the basis on which the Sikhs continue to raise the legitimate demand for an independent Sikh homeland, Khalistan. A Sikh homeland will not be a sovereign nation just for Sikhs, but will allow all who live there to be respected and encouraged to practice their faith. It will allow us to protect Sikhi, the Sikh way of life and identity given to us by our Gurus across the globe wherever Sikhs choose to live. Equally important is that a Sikh homeland will allow the universal message of our Gurus to be shared and disseminated in a way that has never been possible in the modern era. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=905405449547675&id=440939405994284&ref=bookmarks
http://www.sikhsiyasat.net/2013/10/31/sikhs-for-justice-addresses-press-conference-at-geneva-about-the-sikh-genocide-1984-petition/ Geneva, Switzerland (October 31, 2013): A 58 minutes and 31 seconds long video of press conference held by Sikhs for Justice and others at Geneva about the Sikh Genocide 1984 petition has appeared on YouTube channel of a bilingual news website Punjab Spectrum. Gurpatwant Singh Pannun Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) legal advisor and a Human Rights Lawyer; Jatinder Singh Grewal Director, International Policy, Sikhs For Justice (SFJ): Indira Prahst, Professor of Sociology, Langara College (Vancouver, BC) and Karan Singh, representative of Movement Against Repression (MAR) addressed the press conference and replies to the inquires by media. The video of the press conference is being shared as follows for the information of visitors/readers of the Sikh Siyasat News (SSN):