Sikh Council UK is pleased to confirm that the Home Office has announced that it will provide the Sikh Council UK with a grant of £60K to provide assistance to destitute, trafficked and vulnerable people from North India if they wish to voluntarily return back home. The Council is waiting on a formal confirmation and expects the scheme to commence sometime in November when full details will be advertised in the Panjabi/Sikh media.

It is worth noting that the Immigration service already holds surgeries in 10 Gurdwaras in England for those people who may wish to return on a voluntary basis and the widespread media coverage relating to destitute Panjabis sleeping rough and the sexual exploitation of vulnerable women.

Meetings:

5th October 2013 Home Secretary visit to the General Assembly Meeting of Sikh Council UK at Gurdwara Amrit Pirchar Dharmik Deevan Oldbury.

The Home Secretary was a guest of honour at the meeting. During the meeting the Home Minister announced that Sikh Council had been granted a £60k funding from the Home Office to support destitute panjabis who wish to voluntarily return back to India with appropriate support.

17th October the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby hosted a reception of Faith leaders at Lambeth Palace. Mankamal Singh and Surinder Singh Jandu -representatives of Sikh Council and other Sikh representation such as Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh, Lord Inderjit Singh and Dr Jasdev Singh Rai also attended this prestigious event.

The event included an exhibition of religious artefacts from the British Museum and key note speech by its Directors Neil MacGregor celebrating the history of respect for religious diversity in Britain.

20th October Representative of Sikh Council UK visited and met with representatives of Brent Sikh Centre. 20th October 2013 following requests by Jathebandis, Gurdwaras and individuals, the Indian Sub-Continent Affairs Committee of Sikh Council UK facilitated an open Panthic meeting at Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Smethwick.

Representatives of Sikh Council UK attended a consultation at west Bromwich Mental Health hospital in supporting dementia cognitive assessment tools in ensuring appropriate assessment terminology and visual images for the Panjabi Sikh Community when undertaking assessment.

Meeting has been organised between Giani Sukha Singh and 2 members of Board of Jathedars to discussed and collect files of evidence in relation to an allegation of a high profile individual.

Campaigns:

Sikh Council formally wrote to welcome Esther McVey MP and also take the opportunity to highlight the current Hard Hat issue their predecessor was dealing with Sikh Council circulated widely the 1984 genocide petition organised by Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) and All India Sikh Student Federation (AISSF) with a view to submit the petition of 1million signatures or beyond at United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in Geneva Switzerland on 1st November 2013 Following agreement with Council of Sikh Gurdwaras in Birmingham for Sikh Council UK to sublease empty offices in their building, we have begun refurbishing and equipping the office. Gurinder Singh Josan, Head of Political Engagement at Sikh Council UK has provided support to a Sikh candidate who is seeking to be the Labour candidate in Brent Central constituency.

The candidate is Inder Singh-Nijhar and for more information his website is at www.inder4Labour.com.

Meetings:

8th September South Regional consultation meeting took place at Singh Sabha Gurdwara Sahib Barking, consultation was well attended and consulted on various topics including: Mixed Marriages, Caste Legislation and Same Sex Marriages 8th September Representatives of the Sikh Council attended the British Sikh Council Conference at Willenhall and a Panthic conference at Guru Arjan Dev Gurdwara Sahib, Derby.

14th September the Operations Team Meeting took place at Guru Nanak Gurdwara Wednesfield 14th September the Executive Committee Meeting took place at Guru Nanak Gurdwara Wednesfield during this meeting members also met with Sikhs for Justice who have been working internationally for the last several years to have the events during the first week of November 1984 recognized as genocide.

They have been directed by the Sri Akal Takhat Sahib to petition the United Nations to recognize November 1984 as genocide. The Khalsa Panth has been directed to collect at least one million signatures on the petition before it is presented.

19th September 2013 Representatives of the Sikh Council UK met with S. Manjit Singh, G.K. the President of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) and his colleagues. Present at the meeting were members of the Board of Jathedars and Executive Committee as well as other representatives of Sikh Council UK Affiliated Member organisations.

The meeting was also opened up to members of the Sangat as observers.

Approximately one hundred people attended and took part in the discussions. In September Member of Board of Jathedar and Secretary General of Sikh Council met with Guru Nanak Gurdwara Sahib Committee about a local issue 22nd September the media and communications committee met in Coventry to progress work on the new website, e-mail addresses and the branding of the Sikh Council 28th September A Minister of the Victoria state,

Australia met with representatives of the Sikh Council UK at Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Havelock Road, Southall; the meeting was arranged by the Australian Minister as part of his educational tour in understanding and networking with different faith communities.

Following a guided tour of the Gurdwara Sahib discussions took place around the issues affecting Sikhs living in the state and developments in UK. 28th September Sikh Womens’ Alliance supported by Sikh Council held a conference addressing issues of vulnerability and exploitation of women. This event was attended by around 150 people.

29th September 2013 a number of the members of the Board of Jathedars and Executive Committee of the Sikh Council UK met with Giani Gurbachan Singh the Jathedar Sri Akaal Takht Sahib Ji at Ramgharia Sabha, Southall.

A very wide range of issues were discussed in the one hour long meeting that proved extremely positive. A separate Press release has been issued reporting on the details of this meeting.

The Council is continuing dialogue to correct the anomaly in the legislation to secure the right to wear a Dastaar in non construction environments
The Council is engaged in various discussions to ensure that the issue of grooming of Sikh females is recognised and dealt with by the responsible agencies.
Ongoing work is taking place to increase the engagement of Sikhs in the political and civic structures of UK

Media:

19th September 2013: A representative and Secretary General of Sikh Council attended Sangat Tv along with the President of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee and a colleague to share with Sangat the contents of the meeting held earlier on that evening.

Casework/Campaigns:

Sikh Council UK provided a letter of support towards the application of Nanaksar Academy in Slough The 4th draft version of the Mixed Marriage guidelines were provided at request to a Gurdwara Sahib in Huddersfield, Nottingham and Birmingham Sikh Council provided follow up information to previous email sent to Care home relating to a query about the care of individuals of opposite gender as a Sikh.

The clarifying response was as follows: ‘Generally speaking, in the Asian communities for cultural and religious reasons many people prefer for the carer and clients to be of the same gender,

particularly where intimate caring duties are involved. The Sikh religion teaches that there are five cardinal sins which individuals are to work to avoid and eradicate from their lives for spiritual salvation to be attained. One of these is ‘Lust’.

In order to eradicate this sin from ones life an individual will be expected to follow two approaches – exercise self-control / self-discipline and by practicing a lifestyle of modesty. In practice this is accomplished by contact and relationships with members of the opposite gender being characterised by personal restraint and modesty in ones dress, mannerisms, conversations etc.

The cultural manifestation of this is that individuals who are unknown to each other will therefore behave in a reserved manner with a level of distance that is often interpreted as detachment, diffidence, aloofness or even timidity and will be conservative in their dress and actions. This cultural practice is further amplified when there is a significant age difference between the individuals where the older person is considered akin to ones own parent or grand-parent.

Sikh Council was contacted by the National Union of Students for information to be included in their information document. The following information was provided to them based on the conceptual framework of developing the National Sikh Students Alliance (NSSA). ‘Since April of this year (2013) informal discussions have take

Same Sex Marriages Law.

POSTED ON 07/28/2013 · POSTED IN GENERAL

Following the passing into law of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 by the bill receiving Royal Assent on 17th July 2013 the Sikh Council UK has
issued important advice and guidance for Gurdwaras.  attached are documents for your reference and guidance…SCUK – Same Sex Marriage Guidance Letter – 28-07-13SCUK – Letter from Helen Grant MP – 25-04-13SCUK – Email from Melanie Field – 25-04-13Press Release – SCUK – Same Sex Marriage Act – 28-07-2013Press Release Punjabi – SCUK – Same Sex Marriage

Meetings:
3rd June 2013 three members of the Policy Team attended an informal meeting with Alok
Sharma MP Parliament regarding Caste Legislation. The meeting created an opportunity for
an informal discussion between the groups and some Conservative MPs.

3rd June three members of the Policy Team held a EHRC meeting with an officer of the
Equality and Human Rights Commission about research of interest to the Council.
8th June Media and Communications Committee met at Singh Sabha Gurdwara Sahib
Coventry.

21st June Informal meeting with an official of the Home Office to raise requests for further
meetings to better understand exploitation of people from India by human traffickers.
21st June SCUK representatives met with Pat McFadden MP to discuss Labour Party plans to
engage with the Sikh community and SCUK Political Engagement Programme
22nd June the Operations Team Meeting of Sikh Council took place at Guru Nanak Prakash
Gurdwara Sahib Coventry

22nd June Executive Committee Meeting of Sikh Council took place at Guru Nanak Prakash
Gurdwara Sahib Coventry

27th June attendance at a Labour Party meeting to discuss Sikh Engagement Strategy
The Midlands Regional consultation meetings took place Saturday

29th June 2013 at Guru Arjan Dev Ji Gurdwara Sahib, Derby and on Sunday 30th June 2013 at Ramgarhia Sikh Temple, Birmingham Both meetings were very well attended amongst a number of issues

constructive consultation
also took place on: Mixed Marriages Consultation and the Implication of Caste Legislation.

Events:

4th June Census Meeting of ongoing consultations was attended by Balvinder Kaur on the Future of the Population Census – “Beyond 2011″ Meeting explored specific needs in the fast paced changes in the landscape of society which may outdate a census almost immediately as it is carried out.

Discussions included issues relating to future requirements for population and small area socio-demographic statistics for specific sub groups of the population including those with protected characteristics. Options discussed included: · Full census (long form for everyone),

· Rolling census (every 5/10 year period) · Short term (everyone), long form (sample),

· Short form annual survey (US model)

6th June 2013 Sikh Council UK held its first ‘Political Engagement Programme’ event with Conservative Party. The event saw sixty Sikh candidates come together to learn about how to get involved in the political arena. Applicants were invited from across the community and were asked to demonstrate a history of professional excellence, service to their local community and a good understanding of Sikh issues.

16th June 2013 Executive Member of Sikh Council Mankamal Singh attended and spoke at an inter-faith discussion forum titled “Serving Our Community” at Southwark Cathedral. The objectives of the forum was for the faith groups to share how their traditions celebrate and encourage service to community, how it is mandated in holy scriptures and how it is put into practise.

Casework:

Following the news of ban on turbans at St Joseph’s Higher Secondary School in Baramulla Jammu Kashmir Sikh Council UK wrote to Chief minister of Jammu Kashmir, Head of School, Head of Catholic Church UK and the Pope with concerns of this discriminative decision. The United Sikh has brought the matter to the attention of the international Sikh Community and led on the campaign in India. We understand the School has since retracted its discriminatory policy.

Sikh Council was contacted by a person who was made to remove his dastaar at an Airport in Rome during security searches. This was said to have been done in a very rude and threatening manner. The individual has since sought advice from the HR team within his company. Sikh Council Forwarded the newly amended regulation (EU) No 185/2010 as regards the screening of passengers and persons other than passengers by Explosive Trace Detection (ETD) equipment in combination with Hand Held Metal Detection (HHMD) equipment” to assist the process

Request:

Glasgow Gurdwara requests for reps of Sikh Council onto Big Question: (Sikh voice) BBC 1 programme to take up broadcasts debates on religious, social and moral issues. Sikh Council accepted this request and asked for details to be put forward to the BBC

Media:

Sikh Council was contacted by reporter at Leicester Mercury regarding an article he was doing on the recent death of a prominent Sikh leader in Leicester. Omparkash Chand was said to be the president of the Harrison Road Temple, the Shri Guru Ravidass Temple, for more than 16 years. Sikh Council contacted the President of Shri Guru Ravidass Bhavan Birmingham Mr Lashman Singh Sehmar to take up a telephone interview with the reporter.

Development of the political influence and the Sikh vote:

The Council is developing a strategy and programme of activities to increase the engagement of the Sikh community in the political and civic life of Britain. Planned activities include events with major political parties and student bodies. The first event will be hosted by the Conservative Party (June 6th 2013), with subsequent events planned with Labour (Summer 2013) and the Liberal Democrats (TBC)

Events:

23rd April 2013 a member of the Executive Committee attended a Faith and Policing Conference, Organised by Faith Forum for London and Metropolitan Police. There were approx 100 multi-faith attendees, Met police reps and third parties.

The following areas were covered:  Q&A with Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe Commissioner Metropolitan Police. Main issues raised around challenges of policing in London and the part faith groups can play.

More focus on strategic partnerships with faith groups with focus on reducing youth crime, rehabilitation, cost reduction and BME recruitment.

 Workshop “Preparing for the worst – Major incidents”.

Discussion around identifying ways in which the faith sector, London Resilience, MPS and partners can work together most effectively to detect, prevent and if necessary withstand, handle and recover from disruptive challenges to London. Main focus was on strategic partnerships, training for faith groups and MPS, communication. How can faith groups provide support through resource, space and counselling Other Workshops included 1) Gangs, 2) Hate Crimes, 3) Protests and 4) Developing relationships. There was a Sikh rep in each workshop

 Recruitment. Aim was to identify options to increase applications to Met amongst all faith communities. Discussion around what Met can do to attract applications, what communities could do, selection process.

Professor Bhullar –Death Penalty Campaign:

Contact was made by Sikhs in Austria for assistance with preparing a Memorandum against the death penalty to be presented to the German Ambassador in Austria and also to the United Nations Office Austria

Sikh Council has been in liaison with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office India Desk by letter and via telephone to urge their intervention and request for an urgent meeting in addressing the matter regarding Professor Bhullar and to abolish death penalty in India by dialogue with Indian Government.

Sikh Council UK fully supported the Mass protest organised by the Federation of Sikh Organisations on 15th April 2013 by way of wide publicity and raising awareness of the event. Members of Sikh Council also attended and lobbied their MP’s at the Houses of Parliament during the event.

6th April 2013 Members of the Council attended “Save a Life”- Vaisakhi Vigil – Unite Against “India’s Death Penalty” event organised by Kesri Leher and spoke during the event in support of the campaign against the death penalty

Equality Act 2010 Inclusion of ‘Caste’ Campaign:
Representatives of the Council held a number of meetings with Ministers and MPs’ to ensure that the Sikh position was stated and that unintended consequences of the legislation were properly considered.

Vaisakhi:
 Representatives of the Council attended vaisakhi event at Downing Street on 18th April 2013, this created an opportunity for Sikh Council to personally present the Prime Minister with a letter requesting their intervention to Indian Government regarding Professor Bhullar case and in stopping the use of the death penalty.

 Representatives of Sikh Council attended Vaisakhi event at Houses of Parliament on 22nd April 2013 organised by British Sikh Consultative Forum. This offered a good opportunity to network.

 Sikh Council representatives attended a Vaisakhi Dinner and networking evening Friday 19th April organised by Accenture Sikhs attendees included PwC Sikhs, E&Y Sikhs, UBS Sikh and other individuals as well as some representatives from Nishaan. It was a good informal networking event in which the APPG Liaison also took the opportunity to engage young professional Sikhs in considering roles within the political field.

 Sikh Council Representatives attended Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust Vaisakhi Event in the Chapel of City Hospital on 16th April 2013 and Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Vaisakhi celebration event on 23rd April 2013 and took the opportunity to address the guests and inform them of the work of the Council at both events.

 Secretary General attended Vaisakhi event at Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Derby where MP’s were also invited this created an opportunity to raise further awareness of the concerns of the death penalty.

Others:
 Sikh Council have been regularly circulating updates on the Leicester cases information provided by Chief Superintendent Leicestershire Constabulary
 4th April 2013 Sikh Council representatives attended a meeting at the Home Office relating to the Bill of The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) which had finished the Commons Committee stage in its passage through Parliament. The meeting was to update Organisations with progress.
 4th April 2013 Sikh Council circulated the Chelsea Football club initiative supported by Sporting Equals, the first scheme of its kind ever undertaken by a professional football club, designed to boost Asian participation at all levels of the game.
 A representative of Sikh Council attended the 6th Event of the Fundamental Rights Platform in Austria 24th-26th April and met with Sikhs living in Austria.
 Letter of support provided to Slough Sikhs re: school site for free Sikh School

‘Political Engagement Programme – Labour Sikh Pathway’

The Political Engagement Programme aims to develop future British Sikh politicians and political activists through collaboration with the major political parties.  The Sikh Council UK have planned events hosted by the Conservative Party on 6th June 2013 and the Labour Party on 4th July 2013 with a further event is planned with the Liberal Democrats (TBC)

Labour Sikh Pathway –  4th July 2013 (2pm to 6pm)

The Labour Sikh Pathway event will be hosted by the Labour Party at their Head Office in Westminster.  This will be an opportunity for you to:

  • Meet and hear from senior     Labour Party figures and officials.
  • Learn about the Labour     Party, what they are doing to attract Sikh candidates and how you can get     involved.
  • Find out more about how to     stand as an elected representative for Labour – either as a Councillor,     Member of Parliament, European and Scottish Parliament or the Welsh     Assembly.
  • Find out how you can get     involved in the Labour Party Future Candidates Programme.
  • Learn about Labour politics     and share your ideas and policy priorities.
  • Meet other Labour     supporting Sikhs and to build networks.

Applicants Criteria

We are looking for future British Sikh politicians and political activists.  We expect all participants to be highly capable, interested in politics with a desire to get involved in their local community.  We are particularly keen to receive applications from women and young people.  We expect all candidates to have an understanding of Sikhism, its principles and history.  Your personal conduct should be in-line with Sikh teachings.

 Applicants are invited from across the community; there are no requirements such as being Amritdhari / baptised or being a member of a political party etc.

Applications

 If you fit our criteria and would like to apply for the Labour Sikh Pathway event on 4th July 2013, please complete an application form and submit it by 28 June 2013.

 

Sikh Council Condemns Indian Supreme Court Decision on Professor Bhullar

Sikh Council UK today expressed its concern and condemned the refusal to commute the death sentence of Professor Devinderpal Singh Bhullar by the Indian Supreme Court. This decision comes on the back of India’s recent decision to restart carrying out death sentences following an eight year moratorium. Two death sentences have been carried out since November 2012 with many hundreds more sentenced to death each year and around forty currently held on death row.

Chair of Indian Sub-Continent Affairs Sub-Committee, Gurdial Singh Atwal, said, “We totally condemn the use of capital punishment and the decision by India to restart capital punishment is totally abhorrent after the moratorium. In this particular case, the evidence against Professor Bhullar is clearly in doubt and to not recognise that is a great miscarriage of justice by the Indian justice system.”

The Sikh community has consistently held strong views against capital punishment with persistent campaigning to highlight miscarriages of justice and against the death penalty by the Sikh Federation (UK) and others over many years. This stance was recently reinforced by a 118,000 name petition coordinated by the Keshri Lehar campaign which resulted in a parliamentary debate on abolition of the death penalty in India. Gurdial Singh Atwal added,

“Professor Bhullar was deported wrongly by the German authorities on false promises that he would not face the death penalty. We now call upon authorities in the UK, Germany and across Europe to urgently make representations to India before it is too late.”

Sikh Council UK has many affiliated organisations and works with many other individuals and organisations who wish to express their strong views and campaign against this latest turn of events. Sikh Council UK is encouraging the UK wide Sikh community to speak out on this issue by contacting their MP’s and the media to highlight the plight of Professor Bhullar

Sikh Council UK is eagerly awaiting the written judgement of the Indian Supreme Court and in order to maximise the Sikh voice, will be assisting various Sikh organisations in the co-ordination and planning of protests and lobbying activities over the coming days.

Sikh Council UK are delighted to share the following information with you (below and attached) in relation to amended regulation using hand held metal detection equipment:

Please note this the amendment will come into effect on 25 February 2013

COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) No 104/2013 of 4 February 2013 amending Regulation (EU) No 185/2010 as regards the screening of passengers and persons other than passengers by Explosive Trace Detection (ETD) equipment in combination with Hand Held Metal Detection (HHMD) equipment (Text with EEA relevance)

 

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION,

Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

Having regard to Regulation (EC) No 300/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2008 on common rules in the field of civil aviation security and repealing Regulation (EC) No 2320/2002 ( 1 ), and in particular Article 4(3) thereof, Whereas:

 

(1) Commission Regulation (EC) No 272/2009 of 2 April 2009 supplementing the common basic standards on civil aviation security laid down in the Annex to Regulation (EC) No 300/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council ( 2 ) provides that the implementing rules to be adopted pursuant to Article 4(3) of Regulation (EC) No 300/2008 may allow the use of explosive trace detection (ETD) equipment and hand held metal detection (HHMD) equipment for screening of persons (passengers and persons other than passengers).

 

(2) Experience has shown that hand searches of passengers and persons other than passengers are not always the most efficient means of screening certain parts of the person, in particular where those parts are not readily accessible such as certain headgear, plaster casts or prosthesis.

 

(3) Trials have demonstrated the effectiveness of the combined use of ETD and HHMD in such cases. Moreover, the use of ETD and HHMD may facilitate the screening process and be experienced to be a less intrusive means of screening than a hand search, thus constituting an improvement in the experience of persons screened.

 

(4) It is thus useful and justified to allow these methods for screening of those parts of the person where a hand search is considered inefficient and/or undesirable such as certain headgear, plaster casts or prosthesis.

 

(5) This Regulation respects the fundamental rights and observes the principles recognised by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, notably the human dignity, the freedom of religion, the non- discrimination, the rights of persons with disabilities, and the right to liberty and security. In so far as it limits those rights and principles, such limitation is made genuinely to meet objectives of general interest and the need to protect the rights and freedoms of others, respecting the conditions laid down in Article 52 of the Charter. This Regulation must be applied in accordance with those rights and principles.

 

(6) Commission Regulation (EU) No 185/2010 ( 3 ) should therefore be amended accordingly.

 

(7) The measures provided for in this Regulation are in accordance with the opinion of the Committee on Civil Aviation Security set up by Article 19(1) of Regulation (EC) No 300/2008,

 

HAS ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

 

Article 1

The Annex to Regulation (EU) No 185/2010 is amended in accordance with the Annex to this Regulation.

 

Article 2

This Regulation shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

This Regulation shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States.

 

Done at Brussels, 4 February 2013.

For the Commission

The President

José Manuel BARROSOEN 5.2.2013 Official Journal of the European Union L 34/13

( 1 ) OJ L 97, 9.4.2008, p. 72.

( 2 ) OJ L 91, 3.4.2009, p. 7.

( 3 ) OJ L 55, 5.3.2010, p. 1.

 

ANNEX

The Annex to Regulation (EU) No 185/2010 is amended as follows:

(1) letter (f) is added to point 1.3.1.1 as follows:

‘(f) explosive trace detection (ETD) equipment combined with hand held metal detection (HHMD) equipment.’;

(2) point 1.3.1.2 is replaced by the following:

‘1.3.1.2. Points 4.1.1.3 – 4.1.1.6 and 4.1.1.10 – 4.1.1.11 shall apply to the screening of persons other than passengers.’;

(3) letter (e) is added to point 4.1.1.2 as follows:

‘(e) explosive trace detection (ETD) equipment combined with hand held metal detection (HHMD) equipment.’;

(4) new point 4.1.1.11 with the following wording is added:

‘4.1.1.11. Explosive trace detection (ETD) equipment in combination with hand held metal detection (HHMD) equipment may only be used in cases where the screener considers a hand search of a given part of the person to be inefficient and/or undesirable.’.EN L 34/14 Official Journal of the European Union 5.2.2013

The Sikh Council UK today called for comprehensive and urgent action by the next Punjab Government following the leak of the findings of the Justice Zora Singh Commission.

The Commission was established in October 2015 by the Punjab Government following the desecrations of the holy Sikh scriptures the Guru Granth Sahib in Punjab and the subsequent killings of unarmed Sikhs who had gathered to protest against the desecrations

The principal findings and recommendations of the Commission were that: –

> The investigations by the Punjab Police into the incidents of the desecrations of Guru Granth Sahib at villages Burj Jawahar Singh Wala and Bargari were flawed and improper

> Punjab Police officers fired riffle bullets at Sikhs protesting the desecrations at Kotakpura
Chowk injuring seven including Ajit Singh grievously

> The Punjab Police subsequently failed to provide CCTV footage to the Commission in relation
to the events at Kotakpura Chowk giving inconsistent reasons why it was not available

> Punjab Police officers fired riffle bullets from point blank range of approximately a yard out at unarmed Sikhs who were sitting on the floor peacefully protesting at the desecrations at Behbal Kalan killing Gurjeet Singh and Krishan Bhagwan Singh and injuring six others some grievously

> The firing upon ‘defenceless protestors’ sitting on the floor at Behbal Kalan was ‘absolutely unwarranted’ and ‘beyond comprehension’ and not in self-defence as alleged by the Punjab Police; the Punjab Police officers interviewed provided inconsistent and false testimonies to the Commission in relation to the events at Behbal Kalan

> The Punjab Police failed to undertake any alternative crowd control measures in the courses of policing the protests at Behbal Kalan such as loud speaker warnings or use of watercannons, tear-gas, latti charge, firing in the air, use of rubber bullets etc.

> The Commission recommended a criminal investigation is undertaken to identify the police officers responsible for the firings including reviewing the complicity of the SSP in charge Charanjit Singh Sharma and that charges are laid against the offenders before a court of law within 6 months

Sikh Council UK Chair of Indian Subcontinent Affairs Sub-committee Gurdial Singh Atwal said “It is shocking that the Commission report has laid dormant for the past year with the Akali-BJP Punjab Government despite the clear findings. We are calling for immediate action by the next Punjab Government to implement the recommendations of the Commission against the guilty officials and also calling for a high level and independent investigation to be undertaken as a matter of urgency into the deliberate desecrations of religious scriptures that have occurred in recent years within Punjab”.

He added “It has been alleged the inaction of the Punjab authorities to bring the culprits to justice has been motivated by political calculations in the lead up to upcoming state elections in Punjab by way of seeking to gain the favour of political block voting of certain anti-Sikh groups whose members have even been suspected of having involvement in the incidents of desecrations. These allegations have gained more traction in recent days in light of the decision of the Dera Sacha Sauda cult group to support the Akali-BJP alliance political parties in the impending election following the visit by a number of prospective candidates of Shiromani Akali Dal to the Dera Sacha Sauda to garner the votes of the followers of this group in flagrant breach of the 2007 Hukamnama (edict) of the Akal Takhat which mandated Sikhs to socially and politically boycott this group for its anti-Sikh activities. We are calling upon the Akal Takhat to summon those Sikh representatives of the Shiromani Akali Dal for defying the Hukamnama”.

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