Let’s Educate the World and present the Truth behind the protest & the ill treatment of Sikhs & Panjabis in India. Via CAP Liberté de Conscience Interview session with Mr PREMI SINGH and CAP’s representative Mr. THIERRY VALLE.
My name is PREMI SINGH, I am a Sikh Community representative, educator of Sikh affairs and an activist on Human Rights. I have represented Sikhs, Hindus and other community’s concerns and issues regarding Human rights violations at the United Nation in Geneva. I have also spoken about and raised issues faced by many refugees and asylum seekers, regarding their deportation, and migrations matters. I have also stood against and raised my voice against the brutality of unjustifiable wars. Apart from delegation duties, diplomacy, I and my team actively support homeless communities across Europe via our work with various Sikh Gurdwara’s (Sikh Places of worship) and different active collaboration with charities like the British Red Cross, Khalsa Aid and many other European Charities.
Through this interview session, I would like to raise my concerns via CAP LC on the Famer’s Peaceful protest taking place in India and how it is linked with Sikhs and Panjabi farmers in particular and how it will have a serious impact on their livelihood. I want to discuss what I believe to be the main aim of ‘far Right Hindu group’ and the Current BJP government which mostly consists of RSS members (Rashtriya swayamsevak Sangh- A volunteer Far right Hindu nationalist Organisation). This is a group that the current prime minister of India, PM Modi is an active member off.
How the fundamental right to go to Court on contractual disputes, under article 6 and 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), has been taken away from the farmers. This is to throw the small farmers to the ‘market’ (a designed monopoly by corporate Hindu owned companies) and remove all protections as well as the small subsidies that enables these small farmers to survive. The majority of whom are already under debts, thus pushing them further towards bankruptcy. This may result in them in losing their lands, homes and all livelihoods. These will later be purchased by the aforementioned corporate Far Right Hindu companies either by forced purchases or through opportunistic land grabbing. This is a process which is designed by India central government to gain control of historical Panjab land, territories and achieve political autonomy over Panjab. This is a systematic process to wipe out the Panjab and its Sikh identity pushing Sikh farmers to migrate to other countries.
Who is victim to these India’s 3 Farming Bills?
These bills are politically designed with a sinister agenda of the Far Right Hindu Organisations such as RSS and BJP (Current Government). In particular it is aimed at Sikh and Panjabi farmers. It is designed to slowly and systematically push the Sikh community out of the Panjab and seize their lands.
This proposed bills/Laws do not provide any guarantees or any assurances of a minimum purchased price (MSP) for individual crops. This means large corporations and monopolies can dictate prices. Whenever there are large monopolies as seen in the current markets in India, the small parties that had been protected previously, are forced to offer lower prices.
Many Ministers and MPs in India have raised their voices against PM Modi’s Farmer bills, but his reaction has been disgraceful and sycophantic. India officials have threatened the Canadian PM Justin Trudeau by releasing a statement that India ties and trade deals with Canada are at risk, should Canada continue to support the Panjabi community. Mr Trudeau, to his credit responded very strongly and said ‘Canada will always be there to defend the right of peaceful protest” in the context of the protests in India.
The Indian central government has placed under ‘House arrest Arvind Kejrewal the CM (Chief Minister of Delhi) AAP Party member. This happened as a direct results of him refusing to convert Delhi stadiums into prisons. The BJP plan was to place all Sikh protestors in these stadiums as prisoners. He responded that this would be a violation of Human rights and in fact tried to support the basic rights of the protesters by providing electricity and clean water.
Why is Britain’s PM silent over this protest? Why is the British media silent on the world’s largest protest? Why are the voices and actions of 25 million being ignored by such large parts of the international community?
Current UK government is being influenced by the Indian government as it requires Indian government co-operation to achieve any sort of Post-Brexit trade deal.
The Current Secretary of State for the Home Department in the UK, Priti Patel has long standing political affiliations with the Governments of India and Israel. She was the International Development Secretary under Theresa May’s premiership but was removed from this position after it was discovered that she was having meetings with Benjamin Netanyahu (Israel’s Prime minister) that breached the ministerial code of conduct. Priti Patel background is from Gujrat and has alleged relations with ‘far-right Hindu nationalists that form a large part of the current ruling party in India. Gujarat is where PM Modi started his Political career and was the Chief Minister of Gujrat. During his tenure the now infamous Gujrat Riots took place where thousands of Muslims (the ethnic minority in the region) where killed. During this crisis the police were allegedly stopped from taking actions that could have prevented or curtailed such riots.
Whenever any organisational or individual highlights such human rights violations, the government of India labels that individual/organisation as anti-Indian, fundamentalist, hardliners, separatists or as a terrorist. These acts don’t stop at political name calling, these individuals are harassed by the local law enforcement, imprisoned on false allegations and often tortured in jail. Indian state backed media often lead attempts at discrediting such individuals. They will also attempt character assignations on live TV with baseless claims to promote the political agenda of the ruling party.
Many scientists, sports personalities, artists, celebrities (numbering in the hundreds) have returned their awards including Olympic medals back to central Indian government in response to such atrocious farming bills and the treatment the farmers are receiving from PM Modi.
Peaceful Farmers protest started on the 25th of September in Panjab after the farmers reform bills were announced and were passed without the consultation with the farmers and were pushed swiftly by PM Modi to the President of India Ram Nath Kovind (again a far right Hindu nationalist) without the right to appeal in court.
Central government started ignoring the pleas of farmer organizations and thereafter started to ignore democratically elected ministers from the Panjab region in particular. This act was seen and felt both by national and international witneses as dictatorial in nature and a direct threat to the democracy of India. This also brought together the already strong ties of PM Modi, the Far Right Hindu nationalist party BJP, RSS, and its alliance with their big corporations like Advani, Hindujas, Tata, Mittal, and Reliance Ambani. The aim of such an alliance is clear for all to see- namely an eradication of Sikh’s rights in Panjab with an aim to their eventual removal from their home state.
Sikhs are known to the world for their Kindness, Bravery, farming prowess, Economical Enterprise, Community values and Pride. For India these are all reasons to be against the Sikh community and the values they stand for. Sikh’s have been Soldiers fighting for Justice, Democracy and Human Rights across the world since their inception.
When British left India in 1947, they had plans of a three state solution, Hindustan for Hindus, Panjab (Khalistan) for Sikhs and Pakistan for Muslims. Due to short-sightedness of Sikh leadership and false promises of Mr. Gandhi to Sikhs. Sikh leaders declined the offer of the three-state solution.
Once India, got freedom in 1947, the promises made by Gandhi at the time to Sikhs did not materialise. Thereafter time after time the demands of a Free Panjab state was suppressed and ignored by successive Indian governments. There has been no official acknowledgement of the unique Sikh history and territories, no acknowledgement of the proposed Sikh constitution by The Sri Akaal Thakht Sahib (called the Sikh Rehat Maryada). Even till today’s date Sikhs are considered as Hindus under Indian constitution and even their marriage act is registered under the Hindu marriage act. How can we label an English as Irish or a Dutch as South African, a French as Canadian? Well this is exactly happening to Sikhs around the world they have been labelled as Indians even as matter of fact is they are PANJABIs.
To keep brutal pressure on Sikhs, the central government of India kept dividing the Panjabi territories to other states within India, prime example Haryana a new state was formed as a result of dissection of the territories in Panjab. This was done in to dilute the political voting power from the majority Sikhs and Panjabis.
India has historically divided the Panjab kingdom with Pakistan and India in 1947, then further divisions inside India to neighboring states to continue to diminish the Sikh voting block. They have continued by taking control of water and natural resources without the Panjab state’s consent nor the consent of its public- the SIKH community!!! Indian governments did not stop there, they placed drugs, alcohol, and prostitution into the state of Panjab to undermine younger Panjabi Sikh’s Identity.
History suggests if you take away the richness, purity of Sikh faiths, strong cultural and traditional ties, and its values from the younger generation and specially the mother tongue (Panjabi) the coming generation will cripple itself. This is exactly what is happening to Sikhs in India. A slow systematic political dilution and wipeout of their existence and the Panjab a Free Democratic state. A few years back all the road signs of Panjab were re-written in Hindi and Panjabi was wiped out. This faced serious challenges by the local Panjabi residents who may only know how to read and write in Panjabi.
Killing of PM Indra Gandhi in 1984 was a direct result of Indian government’s long suppression, torture and dictatorship on Sikhs and especially the attack on Golden Temple by Indian Army on the Golden Temple (Sri Harmander Sahib) acted as a catalyst to this action.
The Military History of Sikhs and their contribution to world’s peace and democracy, is well known to World however India and its RSS lead politics and its led media, keeps labeling Sikhs as Terrorist and fundamentals.
Sikhs and their Empire under Maharaja Ranjit Singh proves that Sikhs promotes multiculturalism, equality, respect to all faith and beliefs, human rights for all by recognizing ‘All Human Race & mankind as ONE’! This Sikh rule and empire was so forward thinking in its ideals and practices, it is still being studied by scholars in other countries worldwide.
Sikhs were the first to give full equal rights to woman and Sikh women (Mia Bhago ji -1666 battle against Mughals) have fought on the front lines over 300 years ago. Even later Sophia Daleep Singh (1876 -1948) a Sikh princess was behind the women’s right to vote called the Suffragette Revolution/movement in Europe including UK.
Not many countries or its public are aware of the Sikh empire (also known as Sikh Khalsa Raj or Sarkar E Khalsa) was established under the leadership of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It was based on a secular Empire, rooted on Sikh Values as respecting and recognizing all as One.
At its peak in the 18thth (1801- to 19th) century, the Sikh empire extended from the kyber pass in the West to western Tibet in east, and from mithankot in the south to Kashmir in the north. In today’s geography, this would be land covering parts of China, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir and Tibet. The language spoken in the Sikh empire was Panjabi (Script –Gurmukhi) being the main and other its dialects like Hindi, Urdu, Sarikis, Hindoowans, Pothwari also mixed with Pashto, Farsi, and Kashmiri mix. Its Generals, court judges and ministers were from not only from Sikh background but many from other faiths and from all around the world as to promote multiculturalism.
A few names of some of the Generals that served under Mahraja Ranjit Singh:
- Jean-François Allard – French
- Paolo Di Avitabile – Italian (Naples)
- Claude Auguste Court – French
- Jean-Baptiste Ventura – Italian (Modena)
- Alexander Gardner – American (Scots – Irish)
- Josiah Harlan – American general and later governor of Gujrat
Now let’s relate Sikh history to the current situation of peaceful famers protest all over India and its capital city Delhi being the center point against Modi’s suppressive government and its unethical farmer’s bills.
Panjab and Sikh territories have been changed regularly by the Central government of India with cruelty and dictatorship like tactics.
The current political stunt aims to acquire lands from the Panjabis (Sikhs in particular), by the RSS led Hindu government currently governed by PM Modi. The plan seems clear, by destroying the local economy and livelihoods of the farmers in the Panjab rejoin, they aim to buy up the land at a fraction of current prices. This is economic warfare and plain to see by all.
On the 27th of November 2020, Panjabi farmers chose to co-ordinate their protests against the radical Farmer’s bills in the capital city of Delhi. They had to overcome concrete barricades, National highways being converted into trenches to stop crossings, tear gas, stone missiles, baton charges from the Haryana and Delhi police. Nevertheless they successfully overcame all of these hurdles as the need to protest against these bills was paramount. The farmer protesters into Delhi pushed Modi to cut off the food and water supplies from the Punjab to these protestors. Already over 25 Panjabi’s have lost their lives due to the freezing local conditions in Delhi. Nevertheless, the Panjabi protests continue. They continue in spite of the challenges forced upon them by the central government. They continue in spite of the risk to their lives. They know if the current bills that have already been passed are allowed to stand, it means an end to the Panjab they know. It will mean an end to their culture and their way of living. This is why they and we must continue to protest and force these bills to be undone.
Media Blackout /spin
The Indian government is suggesting to the world’s media that they are providing the protesters with electricity, food and water. This is false. Modi has tried and is still trying to stop supplies from Panjab to the protesters on the borders of Delhi. The goverement has placed internet jamming devices and has tried to implent national and international media blackout on the protests. This extends to social media sites and accounts being blocked who are reporting on the protests. That is why it has taken over two months to reach to international news about the farmer protest. The protests took over three months to gain any sort of attention and actually started on 25th of September 2020 in the Panjab and in the other states of India like Calcutta, Karnataka, and utter pardesh. Since September 2020 the protests aren’t localized in Panjab, many states and farmers from all over India recognize this threat to their livelihoods and have been protesting locally ever since.
Sikhs are known for giving not taking, they have fought many battles for the freedom of international world and democracy. They been humanitarian leaders since day one. The easiest example of thier service to all communities is the serving free-food (Langar)/free Kitchen) to the world as Guru Nanak Dev ji’s Langar. This tradition has started since the days of Guru’s in the 1500’s and continues proudly by all Sikh all over the world.
Sikhs are peace loving, saint soldiers (universal soldiers) not fundamentalists or hardliners. They are secular and promote humanity, multiculturalism and democracy in a full and transparent manner. We believe we have a duty to protect communities and people who are unable to fight for themselves. This is why it is paramount we protest against such laws and transgressions from the government in India.
It is crucial for the world to understand Sikhs are only asking for their human rights, farming rights, freedom to use their mother tongue, and share their culture with the world. Sikhs are hoping to establish an Independent state in future. This is the same land they were born on and have lived on for generation. It is their right to govern themselves according to their own laws and values. The international community and India shouldn’t have an objection to this. They are not asking someone else’s land or property. This is land that has passed down through the generations. Sikhs are asking for the right to govern themselves without fear of religious persecution. The same persecution they have been fighting against since the creation of the Khalsa.
This peaceful farmer’s protest to Delhi is not even about an Independent state, Khalistan (or Sarkar I Khalsa). It is solely about the farmer’s rights and against the astrocious farmer’s bills. The bill is clearly designed to benefit already rich companies like Hindujas, Mittal’s, Ambani’s, Reliance, Tata etc. All of which are unsurprisingly owned by Hindu’s. This is why other states have joined with Sikhs and Panjabi farmers to protest against the brutal bill where farmers lands will be taken away in a slow and systematic way. This bill will impact millions of farmers lives and livelihoods. The Sikhs community is being the targeted by the current Indian administration.
Indian government tried its hardest to stop Sikh farmers entering Delhi but failed. Delhi Haryana police, BSF soldiers, and Raw agents tried infiltrating the protests with their agents. State hired goons turned the initially peaceful protest march to Delhi into a violent one. They used stone projectiles, tear gas canisters, heavy water-guns, dug trenches on the national high ways and roads, built over 7ft high concrete barricades and even fired live ammunition against the protesters resulting in injury to many.
Nevertheless the peace loving Sikh and Panjabi farmers kept the peaceful march moving forward. Indian government tried to place false Covid restriction on them but nothing withstood the farmers’ energy, passion and strength for justice and righteousness. It is surprising that a few weeks ago other states farmers managed to enter Delhi to protest and there was no Covid restrictions placed on them. Even Bihar state ran its full elections and election rallies prior and there was no mention of Covid that included currently running party of Modi BJP and PM and his advisor Amit Sha themselves being present in the rallies.
India government has been trying to buy and influence Western main channels like BBC, SKY, CNN, France TV, Arab TV to not broadcast or provide coverage to Farmer’s protests around the world. (BBC has kept it quiet till 06Dec2020 and after severe pressure has been given the topic minimal coverage).
Indian media is deliberately broadcasting negativity about the protest, and farmers have boycotted the Indian media owned by Modi interests.
Still there is much more needed to be done by the International community and politicians! Western media has a duty to report human right violations by the Indian goverment on these peaceful farmer protesters.
Even when the protests are covered in the media of some foriegn nations they have a distinct pro-government bias in their reporting. This is a direct result of the pressure the Indian government is applying to its trading partners around the world.
Modi’s RSS and BJP’s aim is to convert India from secularism country to Hindu/ism only!! Prime example by changing city name from Bombay to Mumbai, Madras to Chennai and now even Delhi roads names are being changed to Hindu prominent memebers and far right Hindu leaders. Yet the international media is keeping quiet about it.
The main point of farmer bills should be to limit climate change measures/reforms, lower pollution, achieve cleaner air, promote better use of safe insecticides and fertilizer, however there is no subsidy for environment or sustainable development.
It shows clearly that Modi government is doing, what the few wealthy Hindu cooperate companies have asked him to. Only to gain them ever increasing profits at the expense of poor farmers and smaller land owners. This situation is so dire some of the affected farmers have committed suicide.
The farmer’s suicide has become a recurring trend in Panjab. We have seen over 1200 suicides in last year alone. In the Panjab, selling your land is like selling their mother. There is deep shame and regret in even thinking of selling your land. The Sikh community are proud to be farmers and to be able to grow crops on their own land. The inability to do so is a shameful thought for many and some have chosen to take their lives rather then live with such regret. This issue is seen throughout india with over 32000 suicide cases registered all over India in the last year. Due to the social stigma of suicide, there is gross under reporting of such actions and the true number is probably well over 50000 in the past year.
The Sikh voice and the plight of the panjab cannot be silenced. Attempts to curry favor with Western world through offering preferential trade terms are already being made by the Indian government. This was the same tactic used post the 1984 Sikh genocide during the attack on Sri Harmandar Sahib .
The trade deals of India silenced the world (especially Western countries), blindfolded them and made them deaf to the cruelty and torture of Sikhs in Delhi and all over India. This has been happening ever since where, especially in the 1970’s, and later in 1980’s resulting in assassination of Indira Gandhi whom once was a supporter of Sant Jarnail Singh Bindrawale. Sant Bindrawale was a Sikh Leader and Social Human Right activist. He was not a terrorist which is what the Indian government is trying to label him till today. It is clear whenever India is in violation of Human rights, it tries to buy international silence with ‘trade deals’.
Current update is that India government has placed hardline far Right Hindu goons into police uniforms and army uniforms and are planning to attack on protesters turning peaceful protest into violence. They will then blame Sikhs and Panjabis for disturbing the peace of the city.
To blindfold the world and they are using old tactics. They will prevent independent media from providing coverage of their attacks on Sikhs, just like it did in 1984 Sikh Genocide. It has already placed Internet jammers, social media blockade (Facebook). they are further planning to even turn the street-lights off. I.e. full electricity cut off, so their sinister operations can be covered by darkness. Same happened in Gujrat riots where thousands of Muslims were killed and many were burned alive.
Till today’s date there has been more than 25 deaths/causalities of farmer protesters in Delhi and many injured due to the brutality of Indian leadership.
The silence from European leaders continues as they do not values Sikhs lives. This is despite Sikhs being critical in both world wars. Sikhs fought alongside British and French troops in the trenches of the second wold war against the Hitler. Sikhs choose to be part of that war to protect civil liberties and fight for human rights for all.
This is the decision for the United Nation and the rest of the world and its ordinary public, If you want to be dictated, governed, controlled or ruled by 1% richest population of the world, then be silent! If you want the big cooperates to decide what is good and bad for you then be silent. Whenever any Sikhs have raised issues with regards to India they have be labeled as hardliners, or traitors or even terrorist funded by America, Europe or Arab world. They are forced to be silent or face India’s tyranny by being arrest on false allegation and made up charges or even killed in false accidents, like Jaswant Singh Karla DOB: 02nd Nov 1952). Today the ordinary people like YOU and ME are letting this happened because we do nothing! The readers and watcher-bys are as much guilty on moral grounds.
We are not placing our pen on papers nor raising our voices to condemn it strongly, that this is wrong and your elected government should place pressure on such governments. If there is humanity, compassion, kindness and righteousness left on this world then I humbly urge the International world and the United Nations to strongly condemn the hardliner, harsh tactics of PM Modi. They should place pressure on the Central government of India to undo the farmer’s bill back with immediate effect. This will help all farmers in India and allow them to continue enjoying their livelihoods in India.