Pakistan, citing the covid-19 pandemic, denied permission to a Sikh jatha (group of pilgrims) that was scheduled to visit it via the Attari-Wagah border on June 21. The jatha was to stay in Pakistan for 10 days and was to commemorate the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh at Gurdwara Dehra Sahib in Lahore on June 29, besides visiting Sikh religious places.
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Bibi Jagir Kaur wrote a letter to the Pakistan government and urged to repair Gurdwara Nanaksar Sahib built in the memory of Sri Guru Nanak Dev situated in Chakk Fateh Bhinder village in Daska tehsil of Sialkot district in Punjab provinces of Pakistan. The SGPC president has urged the Pakistan government to pay special attention towards the maintenance of Gurdwara Nanaksar Sahib in Sialkot district, by getting the shrine repaired immediately. "If the Pakistan government has any difficulty in the Sikh shrine, then the service of this shrine should be handed over to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Sri Amritsar. The SGPC is ready to do Sewa (voluntary service) of this place," she said.
According to reports, Sikhs in Pakistan took out an anti-India rally in Nankana Sahib to condemn the attack on the Golden Temple by Indian forces in June 1984. Sources said that rally participants held placards and banners with anti-India slogans. The protesters led by pro-Khalistani leader Gopal Singh Chawla demanded of the United Nations to take action against Indian culprits involved in the massacre of Sikhs in 1984.
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) said that Pakistan government, citing the second wave of Covid-19, has denied permission to a group of Sikh pilgrims from India who wanted to visit the historic Gurdwara Dera Sahib in Lahore to mark the martyrdom day Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Sikh Guru.
A Hindu lawmaker, Keeso Mal Kheeal Das, a member of the National Assembly, submitted a bill in the lower house of Pakistan Parliament which intends to refer religious minorities as ‘non-Muslims’. Called as the Constitution Amendment Act, 2021, the bill aims to end discrimination against Pakistani non-Muslims who have been also referred in the constitution as minorities. He suggested that the bill should be adopted and brought into effect immediately. The government has not opposed the bill so far and the matter has been referred to the relevant standing committee. After it is vetted by a bipartisan committee of the house, it will be presented for voting.
Pakistan-based Khalistani leader Gopal Singh Chawla admitted that a Gurdwara granthi, Ranjit Singh, sending out the voice message which warned members of the Pakistani Sikh community, but he said the motive was different. In a video message uploaded on social media, Chawla, whose handlers are with ISI, said Sikhs of Pakistan always took guidance from gurdwara granthis. “The message was indeed from granthi Ranjit Singh, but he wanted to convey something else,” Chawla said. Instead, Chawla claimed, the granthi was giving a message to Sikh youth to not loiter around late in the night and reach home on time. He also pointed to deteriorating Sikh religious values and practices in Pakistan, as he claimed that Sikh youth of Pakistan had gone astray from the path of Sikhism.
In an audio message circulating among Sikh groups of Pakistan, a Sikh religious leader has cautioned the community members based in Lahore and Nankana Sahib to not move out of their houses late at the night due to threat from Taliban. The Pakistani Sikh leader said he has been informed about these threats by the officials of Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) after the culmination of religious services at Gurdwara Dera Sahib, Lahore on May 24. The leader appealed to the Sikhs of Lahore and Nankana Sahib to furnish their credentials with the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGC) and Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) for security arrangements. However, the chairman of ETPB, Dr Aamer Ahamd denied the reports of asking Sikhs to furnish their details with them. “We vehemently deny such reports, there is no threat to Sikhs in Pakistan,” said Aamer.
A United States (US) body on religious freedom in its latest report has been scathing in its criticism of Pakistan and China over the appalling condition of the minority communities in their states. Stating that underage girls from the Hindu, Sikh and Christian communities continue to be kidnapped for conversion to Islam, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in its annual report said that around 1,000 such incidents occur in Pakistan every year.
A granthi of a Pakistan Gurdwara was suspended after his sleazy video went viral on the net causing much embarrassment to the authorities of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) and its parent body Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB).
According to sources, a group of Sikh leaders of Pakistan, reportedly led by former Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) president, Bishan Singh, held a meeting with the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) top brass seeking change in leadership. Sources alleged that Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) bosses were not “satisfied” with the performance of the present PSGPC president Satwant Singh in finding “soft targets” from among the Indian Sikh jathas to push the Khalistan movement. Taking advantage of this, a Sikh lobby led by Gopal Singh Chawla is trying to oust Satwant, they added.
Pakistan’s Religious and Minorities Affair Department has failed completely to utilize its Rs 370.20 million funds in the first 10 months of this fiscal year in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). According to the official sources, out of the Rs 370 million allocated funds around Rs 350 million were released by the Finance Department but the Religious Affairs Department only managed to utilize Rs 110.93 million funds.
Pakistan’s National Command and Operation Centre informed that the Kartarpur Corridor was closed for pilgrims since 16th of last month owing to rising disease spread.
According to reports, Pakistan’s anti India propaganda machinery is now projecting a Muslim in guise of Sikh who has given a call to Sikh community to join hands with Islamist activists against the French people and to boycott the French products in protest against publishing of caricatures of Prophet Mohammed. In a video message which was uploaded on social media on Friday, a turban clad person said that this was the right time to reply to the temerity of French people and the man is also heard saying that he had visited a few shopping malls where he saw ‘boycott' labels attached to the French products. Notably, in the recent past there had been violent protests against France, after French president Emmanuel Macron defended the publication of a caricatures of Prophet Mohammed and pledged to fight the Islamist separation. Meanwhile, the Indian Sikh jatha on visit to Pakistan had to be stopped due to protest by the activists of Islamist body Teherek-i-Labaik Pakistan on April 12. While ensuring support of Sikh community to the Islamist jihadi’s, he said that they should be like Hitler to the French people who dared to publish the blasphemous caricature of Prophet Mohammed. Intelligence sources informed that the person in the provoking video was Qasam Dogar who calls himself Sardar Qasam Dogar Singh and was on the payrolls of ISI like Pakistan’s pro Khalistani leader Gopal Singh Chawla.
According to media reports, the Sikh community in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) of Pakistan is facing troubles as the members of the community are once again receiving calls from extortionists. A local Sikh trader who has a cosmetics shop in the Karkhano Market recently received a call from Afghan numbers asking him to pay ‘charity money’ to the militants. The businessman has received two calls for extortion in a short span of two days and is being threatened with dire consequences if he failed to pay up. The Hayatabad police have opened an inquiry into the case.
Pakistan’s Punjab Government has issued a resolution which defines the Government’s position towards the Sikh community and puts in a strong plea for the maintenance of cordial relations between the Sikhs and the Government.
Sikh pilgrims celebrated the 322nd Baisakhi Mela at Gurudwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur. Around 818 Sikhs from India came to border town Kartarpur through the corridor in a procession. Other than India, pilgrims from Pakistan, Dubai, the US and Canada were also participated in the Baisakhi festival.
The Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) invited Sikh pilgrims from India to offer ''Jyoti Jyot Gurpurab'' prayers at the historic Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Punjab province of Pakistan next month.
In a first, the ‘jyoti jot’ diwas (death anniversary) of Guru Nanak Dev would be observed at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur Sahib, on September 22. The decision was taken during a meeting of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) and the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB).
Some Sikh religious and political leaders in Pakistan came out in the open to exhort the community to ‘help’ militant movements in Kashmir. Messages were delivered to the Pakistani Sikh community on August 5, which is being observed as Youm-i-Istehsal (the day of exploitation) in Pakistan. The Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSPGC) president Satwant Singh in his video message said that supporting Kashmiris in their “cause” is their duty, which they would continue to perform. He claimed that Kashmiris are being subjected to atrocities and denied their rights. “Sikhs have been helping the oppressed and it is time for the Sikhs to help Kashmiris,” he said.
The Sikh bodies in Pakistani-occupied Kashmir (PoK), including Sikh Intellectuals Circle J&K, International Sikh Federation, Sikh Students Federation and Sikh Youths of J&K said that the entire Sikh community had decided to observe 5th August as Siege Day. They demanded restoration of special status of Jammu and Kashmir and release of all Kashmiri political detainees.
According to reports, after the refusal by Canadian government to recognize Sikhs For Justice (SFJ)’s Referendum 2020 campaign, there is likelihood that Pakistan government could also rebuff SFJ to continue with its anti-India agenda from its soil. Pakistan has earlier declined SFJ’s request to hold registration for Referendum 2020 among Indian Sikhs who had gone there with Sikh jatha to celebrate Baisakhi last year (2019). The President of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) Satwant Singh disassociated himself with SFJ, its Referendum 2020 campaign and its legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun and said that PSGPC had not received any request to hold any function with regards to Referendum 2020 in any of the gurdwaras. “Let the request come then we will discuss in the meeting and take appropriate decisions”, he said. Another senior Sikh leader from Lahore who didn’t wish to give his name said that “We will not allow SFJ to hold any function or the voters registration for Sikhs of Pakistan, we (Pakistani Sikhs) will not be the part of his personal agenda, even our local Pakistani friends have started asking us whether we will betray with Pakistan for Khalistan”.
Sikhs in Pakistan want the Imran Khan government to deal with those staking claim over the historical Gurdwara Shaheedi Asthan in Lahore at its own level and restore confidence among minorities. Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) president Satwant Singh said, that “Sikhs across the world are sad to hear the news about Gurdwara Shaheed Bhai Taru Singh. The vision of the Pakistan government, especially Prime Minister Imran Khan, is to promote peace and brotherhood. The incident that happened at Shaheedi Asthan is the act of an individual. There is a plot behind the gurdwara, which is a property of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETBP). They plan to grab that plot. This is wrong and can’t be tolerated.” Meanwhile, the ETPB, a Pakistan government body under which the PSGPC works, has lodged a complaint against Suhail Butt Attari, who is seen intimidating the Sikh community in Pakistan.
An activist of Dawat-e-Islami (Beraillwi), who is also a caretaker of Mazar of Muslim prophet Hazrat Shah Kaku Chesti in Lahore has threatened the minority Sikh community saying that Pakistan is an Islamic nation that belongs to Muslims. In a video, Sohail Butt, who also runs a shop in Landa Bazar, along with some local activists have occupied the land of Gurudwara Shaheed Bhai Taru Singh and has threatened Gopal Singh Chawla, the former chief of Pakistan Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (PGPC) who hoisted Shri Nishan Sahib (a Sikh symbol) at the Gurudwara last year. Sohail claims that the land on which Gurudwara Shaheed Bhai Taru Singh and its adjoining 4-5 kanals of Gurudwara land belong to Mazar of Muslim prophet Hazrat Shah Kaku Chesti and adjoining Masjid Shaheed Ganj.
The Baluchistan government handed over a 200-year-old Gurudwara to the Sikh community. The Siri Guru Singh Gurdwara located on Masjid Road in the centre of the city has been used as APWA Government High Girls School for 73 years since the creation of Pakistan in 1947.
Gopal Singh Chawla, a Khalistani activist based in Pakistan, issued a video statement threatening former Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) president Manjit Singh GK for leading the protest outside Pakistan high commission in New Delhi.
According to officials, Pakistan government laid a 16,000 feet artificial turf in the courtyard of the Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara to facilitate bare-footed pilgrims walk on the marble floor in the scorching heat.
Pakistan reopened the Kartarpur Corridor more than three months after it was temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but no Indian pilgrim visited the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib. "Pakistan today opened the Kartarpur Corridor. However, no Indian pilgrim visited it,” Evacuee Trust Property Board Deputy (ETPB) Director Imran Khan said.
Pakistan decided to reopen Kartarpur Corridor for all the Sikh pilgrims on June 29, 2020, on the occasion of the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, announced by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Twitter on June 27. He underscored that Pakistan is conveying to the Indian side its readiness to reopen the corridor. The corridor was temporarily closed on March 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure that necessary precautions are taken, Pakistan has invited India to discuss standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the reopening.
Nankana Sahib Sikh girl Jagjit Kaur alias Ayesha Bibi’s statement couldn’t be recorded in the Lahore high court once again after the couple reportedly requested to transfer their case to another judge.
Pakistan’s former Railway Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique offended Sikh sentiments by dubbing the great Sikh emperor Maharaja Ranjit Singh as a profligate, dacoit and looter. He also leveled allegations of desecrating and looting mosques on Maharaja Ranjit Singh. “Ranjit Singh Ayash was a dacoit looter ruler who openly desecrated Muslim faith mosques and Sufi shrines, looted heavily and forcibly imposed Sikh beliefs. Established oppressive Dogra rule over Kashmir,” reads the English translation of Khawaja Saad Rafique’s tweet.
Reacting to Khawaja Saad Rafique’s derogatory statement on Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Pakistani Sikh leader Gopal Singh Chawla said that Khawaja Saad Rafique was trying to earn political mileage and hide his failures by leveling baseless allegations on the great Sikh ruler. Chawla, while recalling the tenure of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, said that no one got capital punishment during his four decades-long regime.
The Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) president Satwant Singh said that, “The words used by the former railway minister are highly objectionable. The Sikh community in Pakistan and the gurdwara management committee strongly condemn these words.”
Due to the covid19 pandemic, this year, the Sikh community in Pakistan will quietly mark the death anniversaries of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and Guru Arjan Dev. The Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) Secretary-General, Sardar Amir Singh said that “Due to the Covid-19 virus, the Sikh community will mark the death anniversaries of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and Guru Arjan Dev in the most simple manner.” According to sources, Sikh pilgrims from all over the world, including India, will not be able to take part in the religious ceremonies to mark the important events on the Nanakshahi Calendar this month.
The pro-Khalistani Sikhs in Pakistan converged at Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, the birth place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev,. They extended support to the separatist movement for a Sikh state -Khalistan in India and protested to mark the 36th anniversary of Operation Bluestar. According to sources, prominently among those who were present on the occasion were Pakistan's main Sikh face for such occasions Gopal Singh Chawla, former Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) president Bishan Singh and PSGPC general secretary Amir Singh. Sources said that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had organised the function and ensured its media coverage, besides it had also assigned duties to the officials of Evacuee Trust Property Board (EPTB) to facilitate the anti-India demonstration. In a video uploaded on social media, Chawla and Bishan were seen raising slogans against India and in praise of Khalistan. However, PSGPC president Satwant Singh was not seen during anti-India protests at Nankana Sahib. In an attempt to foment the anti-India sentiments, Chawla and Bishan spewed venom against India, and to win over the sympathy of Islamist militant organisations, they raised the issue of Kashmir too.
According to reports, no Sikhs converged at Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib on the call given by US-based pro-Khalistani group, Sikhs for Justice (SFJ). Sources said that "We have information that attempts are being made to allure poor Paksitani Sikhs with cash rewards for protesting against India. However, none reached Kartarpur Sahib on Saturday morning". The presence of several Sikh youth and some unknown faces during Saturday's protest only confirmed their belief that these were being paid to stage demonstration and raise slogans against India, they claimed.
The US-based Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) leader, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in a message to Sikhs of Pakistan appealed to them to converge at Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib on June 6 to perform ardas and also raise slogans for Khalistan. He said that Sikh for Justice (SFJ) would be holding a conference on June 6 to update Sikh community regarding their divisive ‘Referendum 2020’. However, the president of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC), Satwant Singh didn’t comment on Pannun’s call to Sikhs of Pakistan. However, sources didn’t rule out the possibility of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) facilitating a video conference between Sikh militants of Pakistan and those abroad. “There is likelihood of forging of new ties especially SFJ exhorting Pakistani Sikhs to hold anti-India protest at Kartarpur and we are of view that Pakistan’s Khalistani leader Gopal Singh Chawla will be playing a key role,” said sources.
The Jammu and Kashmir Youth Social Forum (JKYSF) leader, Angad Singh paid tributes to all Sikh leaders and Sikh Sangat pilgrims who were killed in Indian Army’s Operation Blue Star in Golden temple in June 1984, in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). He said that “We in Kashmir remember this day as black day. Also, this day is a proof of Sikh and Muslim brotherhood right from Kashmir to Punjab and all over the world.”
The Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) in Pakistan is now in action to expel the pro-Khalistan leader Gopal Singh Chawla from the ‘Punjabi Sikh Sangat’. Earlier, he was also expelled from the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC). Notably, the ETPB had constituted ‘Punjabi Sikh Sangat’ to look after the religious activities in the Sikh shrines of Pakistan and Gopal Singh Chawla was appointed as a chairman of this body. According to report, the ETPB has started cornering Gopal Singh Chawla after he illegally occupied a piece of land managed by ETPB. An FIR was registered against Gopal Singh Chawla under sections 447/511 in Nankana Sahib police station on the complaint of revenue officer Asif Chadar. Sources also revealed that Gopal Singh Chawla might resign from the chairmanship of ‘Punjabi Sikh Sangat’ on May 7. It has also come to fore that the ETPB has not even credited Gopal Singh Chawla’s monthly salary worth Rupees 30,000.
The Pak-based pro-Khalistan leader Gopal Singh Chawla accused that the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) officials are going to remove him from the chairmanship of “Punjabi Sikh Sangat” under a conspiracy.
Domes of the newly renovated Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara was collapsed due to a thunderstorm and high-speed winds in the area of the holy site's location in Punjab in Pakistan. According to reports, the domes were allegedly not even constructed with cement and iron but with plaster-of-paris material. After the embarrassing incident, the Sikh community has expressed disappointment with the way construction was done in Pakistan
Pakistan extended the duration of the closure of the Wagah border and the Kartarpur Corridor along the International Border with India for two weeks amid the Coronavirus pandemic. The Kartarpur Corridor will be sealed till April 24 while the Wagah crossing will be closed from April 16 to April 29.
The Pakistan government asked Afghanistan to hand over the recently arrested Islamic State terrorist, responsible for the deadly terror attack on Sikh Gurudwara in Kabul to Pakistan. According to the sources, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the ambassador of Afghanistan to Pakistan, asking for Aslam Farooqi's custody. Afghan security forces on April 5 had arrested Farooqi involved in the massacre of around 27 Sikhs in a terror attack on a Gurudwara in Kabul on March 25. As per an official statement, Islamabad sought Farooqi's custody for investigation because he is allegedly involved in anti-Pakistan activities in Afghanistan.
Sikh community in Pakistan has shut down Gurdwaras in Swat district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province after the provincial government banned gathering of more than five people for worship in religious places to stop the spread of the coronavirus which has infected nearly 4,000 people and killed 55 in the country.
Pakistan’s Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) deputy secretary shrines, Imran Gondal said that a meeting of the ETPB and the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbadhank Committee (PSGPC) unanimously decided that there would be no Baisakhi celebrations at the shrine in Hassanabdal city this year and the scheduled visits of Sikh pilgrims has been cancelled. The Baisakhi celebrations scheduled to begin on April 14 at Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Punjab province, in which 3,000 Sikhs from India and 2,000 from elsewhere were to participate.
Pakistani authorities cancelled the Baisakhi celebrations at Gurudwara Panja Sahib in Punjab province from April 14, in which around 3,000 Sikhs from India were to participate, due to the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
A mob of Islamist radicals attacked the Sikh Gurudwara in Nankana Sahib (in Punjab, Pakistan) to avenge the arrest of a Muslim man who had kidnapped and converted a Sikh girl to Islam. The crowd gathered in front of the main entrance of the Nankana Sahib Gurudwara and pelted stones at the Gurudwara in the evening. The extremists also threatened to eliminate every single Sikh faithful from the city and announced that they have renamed the location with an Islamic name.
Pakistani pro-Khalistan leader Gopal Singh Chawla said that land in Nankana Sahib belonging to Guru Nanak Dev was being grabbed by the rich by paying money and there was collusion by Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) of Pakistan. Chawla in a video said that atrocities were being committed and complaints about the misuse of land, registered in the name Guru Nanak Dev in Pakistan's Punjab province, have fallen on deaf ears of authorities. He said that ETPB of Pakistan has been aiding and shielding rich people who have encroached the land of Gurudwara Nankana Sahib. Chawla alleged that ETPB chairman Aamer Ahmed has been colluding with the land grabbers. "I had made a humble request that in Nankana Sahib there is full loot (of land) and I had given proof to Aamer sahib that a lot of atrocities are taking place. Rich people who can give Rs 2 lakh, Rs 3 lakh, Rs 4 lakh, Rs 5 lakh, they are getting their houses made and the poor who have to build on two marla, three marla, there is no law for them," he said.
The Border Security Force (BSF) recovered 4.27 kg of heroin from an area close to the border outpost Bareke along the India-Pakistan border in Ferozepur district. According to officials, the consignment was stored in four plastic bottles and a China-made pistol was also seized along with the contraband.
The Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC) released its “original version” of Nanakshahi calendar, which was introduced in 2003, at Gurdwara Janam Asthan in Nankana Sahib in Pakistan. The PSGPC president Satwant Singh said that, “The original version of the calendar symbolises distinct identity of the Sikhs. We request Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh to ensure unity in the Panth, which is divided over the calendar issue. The calendar implemented in 2003 by the then Jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti should be followed for this purpose.”
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan held a high-level meeting of the National Security Committee and announced series of measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, including a ban on Pakistani nationals from travelling via the Kartarpur Corridor. Indian pilgrims will, however, be allowed to use the corridor.
According to reports, two Indian flags were set on fire and stamped on during a remembrance march and "freedom rally" by some Khalistani supporters in London, United Kingdom, held to mark the anniversary of 1984 Operation Blue Star. The report quoted the Indian High Commission in London as saying that it was "extremely concerned and distressed" by what happened and vowed it would take action against those who desecrated the national flag. The incident reportedly took place at Trafalgar Square and some bystanders shouted "Khalistan Zindabad". Pro-Khalistani British Sikhs marched in London city, which started from Wellington Arch, led by the Panj Pyare, the five beloveds with their swords drawn, passed through the iconic route of the Constitution Hill and The Mall to Trafalgar Square. Addressing the march, the Sikh leaders said the events of 1984 took place 37 years after India gained independence in 1947, but the horror memories of those events would live forever in the minds of millions of Sikhs around the world, who feel deeply aggrieved at the Indian atrocities during the genocide carried out by the Indian Army.
India refuted as absolutely untrue allegations that a British Sikh man arrested on charges relating to terrorism is being tortured in Tihar Jail in New Delhi after group of demonstrators staged a protest outside 10 Downing Street in London. The Indian High Commission in London in a statement said, Jagtar Singh Johal has been arrested on serious charges relating to terrorism. It is untrue that he is being held without any charges. The prosecuting agency, NIA (National Investigation Agency), has already filed charge sheet in the court of law and he is presently undergoing judicial proceedings as per the law of the land. It is absolutely untrue that he has been subjected to torture. He has been granted consular access several times to the UK High Commission in New Delhi. Further, institutional safeguards like the Human Rights Commission exist to investigate any such allegation, it said. Earlier, the protesters waved placards and made speeches to protest British national Jagtar Singh Johal's detention in India for 1,020 days. His brother, Gurpreet Singh Johal, handed in a letter for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson seeking his intervention over the alleged third-degree torture and mistreatment and lack of charges against his younger brother in India. Johal, a 33-year-old Scottish-born Sikh, was in Jalandhar with his family for his wedding in October 2017 when he was arrested by police in the city.
British Pakistani and Kashmiri community held a demonstration outside Indian High Commission London on August 15 afternoon to mark India’s Independence Day as ‘Black day’ which was also joined by Indian Sikh community. The participants carried flags of Pakistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Khalistan.
The new Indian High Commissioner, Gaitri Issar Kumar, said that New Delhi will take all measures at its disposal to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity. She said in an interview that “the people of Punjab and the Government of India have worked together over the years to successfully root out the Khalistan ‘movement’ — extremist entities associated with Khalistan terrorism — in the early 90s in India. We are aware that many of these terrorist entities connected with the Khalistan movement continue their activities based in the UK and other western countries, where they had fled to. It is well known that they operate in close cooperation with Pakistan-backed perpetrators of terror to create instability in J&K and other parts of India.” “Our government has a number of institutional mechanisms for sharing relevant information on all these organisations with the UK, including regular dialogue and robust cooperation in a variety of areas related to our convergent security and defence interests.” She added that “We appreciate the position taken by the UK government on the Khalistan issue — that they see Punjab as an integral part of India.” “As for ‘Sikhs for Justice’, its supporters must be aware of this organisation’s involvement in serious terror-related and other illegal activities for which many are wanted in India. My government has officially sought the proscription of the terror entity ‘Sikhs for Justice’ in the UK”, she said.
Businessman and chairman of British Sikh Association, Lord Rami Ranger said that British Prime Minister has assured him that the British Government does not support Khalistan movement in the UK or any activity against India. Lord Ranger said that, “I informed Prime Minister Johnson that there are some separatist organisations working for Khalistan and they want to separate Punjab, the Indian side of Punjab from India. Prime Minister categorically assured me that the British Government does not support such organisations or anything against India.” Recently, Lord Ranger was criticised for his tweet asserting the Prime Minister’s support. Preeti Gill, member of Parliament Labour party, had replied to the post, saying, “The principle of self-determination is prominently embodied in Article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations. It is positioned as the first right in the twin Human Rights Covenants-the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and (ICESCR). Most concerning.” Mentioning the fiery twitter interaction with Preet Gill, Lord Ranger said, “You don’t get self-determination on Twitter sitting 5000 miles away. You have to go and fight your cause with the people and test your popularity.” He further called out the organisations and people pushing for Khalistan, to renounce their British Passports, go to India, form a political party and do something “worthwhile” if they really believe in it.
Indian Diaspora in UK has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to stop any protests by Pakistan and its supported Khalistani supporters near the High Commission of India building in London on August 15, the day Indians celebrate India's Independence Day. "August 15 is a National Day celebrated by Indians and across the world by Indian diaspora. It is the day when the first foundation stone was laid to form the union of states and a vibrant democratic country by gaining Independence. This day is a joyous movement for all Indians/ British Indians settled in the UK too", said the letter submitted to PM. The letter added, "However, Pakistan and Pakistan supported violent Khalistan groups have been a hindrance to our celebrations by creating unrest and violently attacking celebrators at the High Commission of India, London in recent years. This pattern is observed more in recent years and every year the violence has gone a step further". The Indian Diaspora added, "We would like to mention the violent attacks by sharp weapons on police personnel too apart from Indians gathered to celebrate last year (2019). British government and local administration allowing Pakistan and Pakistan support Khalistan groups to carry out violent protests has deeply hurt Indian Diaspora".
The Sikh Federation UK has taken great exception to Lord Raminder Ranger’s comment over Khalistan, stressing that self-determination is a basic human right enshrined in international law and Article 1 of UN Charter. The Sikh Federation intervened after a row broke out on social media between Shadow International Development Secretary Preet Kaul Gill MP and Conservative Party’s Lord Raminder Ranger.
The British Sikh Association defied the Sikh Federation UK for its demand for an independent state for the Sikhs after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson assured that his government does not support the Khalistan movement. A British businessman Lord Raminder (Rami) Ranger tweeted, "Today, I spoke with the British Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Boris Johnson who categorically assured me that British government does not support the Khalistan movement. Thank you, Prime Minister." His comment was countered by Labour Party MP for Birmingham Preet Kaur Gill, who said, "The principle of self-determination is prominently embodied in Article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations. It is positioned as the first right in the twin Human Rights Covenants -- the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and (ICESCR). Most concerning." Kuldeep Singh Shekhawat, a journalist based in London said, "This (Khalistan) is (a) fake idea. There is no one in India demanding Khalistan in India. Indian Sikhs know that India is for them and they are for India." However, the Sikh Federation UK, which is allegedly working on the behest of Pakistan's secret agency, supported Preet Kaur Gill saying that "Sikhs have a legal and historical right to their own homeland, the British signed treaties with the Sikh Kingdom which are valid today. The betrayal of the British and Gandhi/Nehru Congress in 1947 is the reason for ongoing Sikh revolutionary movements. They won't stop until freedom."
After the British government dismissed its referendum 2020, the Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) stated that, “One we establish consensus on the question of independence, we will then present the case to the United Nations for re-establishing the country of Punjab. Punjab Referendum 2020 is an unofficial referendum where the outcome is not legally binding on India. Yet with an overwhelming ‘yes’ vote this unofficial referendum will start the process through which we will eventually conduct an official legally binding referendum in Punjab, thereby peacefully establishing Khalistan.” “Today UK believes in India’s territorial integrity but tomorrow when they will see an overwhelming Sikhs supporting the independence of Punjab, I am sure they will reconsider the position,” it added.
The British government rejected the Khalistani extremist group Sikhs For Justice (SFJ)'s Referendum 2020 which seeks the separation of Punjab from rest of India saying that it considers Punjab as part of India. A British High Commission spokesperson said, “This is a matter for the government and people of India, not foreign countries or overseas organisations. While we support the right of anyone to voice their opinion, the UK government is not involved in any way with this unofficial and non-binding referendum," he said, adding, "We consider the Indian Punjab to be a part of India.” The development comes, days after Canada dismissed support for Khalistani separatism.
The Sikh Federation UK (SFUK) is celebrating a ‘victory’ in its campaign to get a Sikh ethnic tick-box added to the 2021 UK census after Scottish ministers agreed to put a prompt for Sikhs in the ‘other’ part of the ethnicity response options. They also assured to ‘monitor Sikhs as an ethnic group as well as religion’ going forwards.
According to media reports, Khalistani organizations have not only increased significantly in the UK recently, but they have also emerged as a profitable business venture for those who do not have any other source to earn a living. Most of these organizations have joined hands with umbrella organizations of Federation of Sikh Organizations (FSO), Sikh Council UK (SCUK) or World Sikh Parliament (WSP) to remain in the limelight, report said. Though these organizations may not have the support of most of the Sikh population in the UK, they keep on competing among each other to wrest the control of the management of Gurudwaras in the UK. An officer working in a security establishment said that "It serves them multiple purposes like easy funding in name of sewa and charity, captive audience to listen to their propaganda from the stage, availability of ready-made venues for various meetings and events and the garb of a charitable organization to carry out their ulterior tasks." "Once established, these organizations diversify into media, university unions and politics, to create a larger base for Khalistan cause,” another officer said. "And for the survival of these few individuals and Gurudwaras, the need to keep Khalistan alive is essential for their own benefits. Midland Langar Seva, Sikh2inspire, British Organisation of Sikh Students are few of the benign forms that these tendencies have brought forward and are actively engaged in attracting youth to their perception of Sikh values," the official said.
A UK-based prominent member of the Sikh Community, Navdeep Singh challenged Akal Takht Jathedar’s recent assertion that "it is ready to accept the sovereign state of Khalistan if the Indian government makes such an offer". Navdeep Singh, in an open letter to Giani Harpreet Singh, the acting Jathedar of Akal Takht asserted that not even one-fourth members of the community favour Khalistan. “We Sikhs have seen much at the time of Partition to know what it does with a nation and its people. There are many of us who’s ancestral homes, their memories of childhood, the place they were born, now lies in Pakistan. We still remember the painful memories of 1947. So, we would never want another such event to happen in our lifetime or with our future generations,” Singh wrote in his letter.
A few members of the Sikh community marched from the Hyde Park in the British capital to Trafalgar Square to commemorate the anniversary of Operation Blue Star. This year, however, the coronavirus pandemic and its related restrictions prevented a mass gathering. The organisers said they had, therefore, closely liaised with the authorities and agreed on a much smaller event for June 7, with social distancing and everyone's safety in mind.
The UK’s first turbaned Sikh Member of Parliament (MP) and the Labour Party politician, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi called for an independent inquiry into the extent of the involvement of the then Margaret Thatcher led British government in the Operation Blue Star in June 1984. While raising the issue in the House of Commons to mark 36 years of operation at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, also called for a debate on the issue.
The largest Gurudwara in the UK, Guru Sri Singh Sabha, located at Havelock Road in Southhall recently put up a picture of slain Khalistani terrorist leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale along with the picture of Guru Arjan Dev, who was the fifth guru of Sikhs. Some Sikhs wearing jackets with Khalistan logo were also seen in the premises of the Gurudwara giving out food packets to those in need in this period of Covid-19. Calling these elements terrorists, Lord Ranger, the Chairman of British Sikh Council said, “I will be taking up the matter to the highest level.”
The pro-Khalistani group, World Sikh Parliament (WSP) condemned the recent attack on Derby Gurdwara in UK carried out by a Pakistani origin Muslim man, identified as Mohammed Ibrar on May 25.
According to reports, Derby Police will look into possible terrorism links as part of their wider investigation into the attack on Guru Arjan Dev Gurudwara Derby, UK.
The World Sikh Parliament (WSP) released two videos, one in English and one in Punjabi, with advice for Gurudwaras around the world on considerations they should take when reopening their doors to the Sangat after the lockdown.
A Pakistani man, who attacked the Guru Arjan Dev shrine in Derby in Derbyshire, UK was arrested on May 25 morning. The Gurudwara described the vandalization of the shrine as a hate crime. The vandal left a hand-written note in broken English on a piece of paper in the Gurudwara, making an appeal to Sikhs to ‘help people in Kashmir’. Interestingly, besides scribbling ‘Pak Allah Pak’' in a corner of the paper, he had also provided a phone number. According to sources, Police later identified the man and arrested him.
Despite a long-running campaign by some sections of the Sikh community, the House of Commons approved the draft census order for England and Wales on May 6 night without an ethnic Sikh tick-box in the ethnicity section. In response to the question asking their ethnic group, the British Sikh will have the option of ticking Asian/Asian British and then whether Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese, or any other Asian background (stating which), or they can write in Sikh.
The Sikh Federation UK (SFUK) threatened the Scottish government with legal action claiming discrimination for failing to include a tick-box response option for Sikhs in the ethnicity section of its proposed census. The federation claims that this contravenes the European Convention of Human Rights, EU law and the Equality Act 2010.
Vaisakhi will not be marked with the customary large gatherings and melas in different parts of the UK this year as the community is urged to stay safe amid the coronavirus pandemic, with all events cancelled. Meanwhile, Prince Charles issued a video message to convey his “lakh lakh vaidhaiyan” to the Sikh community in the UK and across the Commonwealth on the occasion of Vaisakhi and praised the “selfless service” of the British-Sikh community in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.
British Pakistani and Kashmiri community held a protest outside Indian High Commission in London on March 8 afternoon. The protest was organized by Global Pakistan and Kashmir Supreme Council (UK) and the participants also raised slogans for freedom of Kashmir and Khalistan from Indian subjugation.
UK based KLF militants had assembled to discuss the future course of the group after the death of Happy PHD. A total of eight persons, Gursharanvir Singh, Amritveer Singh, Avtar Singh Khandaand Amanveer Singh, attended the meeting. Gursharanvir vouched for himself citing his close ties with former KLF ‘chiefs’ -Happy PhD, Mintooo. While asking to avoid Italian and swiss contender he called for the continuation of violent activities.
Pakistani human rights activists and members of the Indian community continued their protest for the second day on February 17 outside the Pakistan High Commission in London seeking justice for the minor Hindu girl, Mehak Kumari who was forcibly converted to Islam and married to a Muslim man in Sindh. She was abducted by a man, Ali Raza, from the Jacobabad district of Sindh province on January 15. The girl said she was forced to accept Islam, causing a widespread furor among the Islamic fanatics.
The Indian diaspora in the UK in collaboration with Lalkar Social Forum and other Pakistani human rights activists staged a protest outside the Pakistan High Commission in London seeking justice for the minor Hindu girl, Mehak Kumari who was abducted, forcibly converted to Islam and married to a Muslim man in Sindh.
The Scotland Yard provided strict security around the Indian high commission building in London and prevented recurrence of violence as protesters raised anti-India slogans and separatist demands related to Khalistan and Kashmir. According to report, only less than 1,000 people attended the much-hyped anti-India protest. After the diplomatic pressure from India, British authorities took adequate measures, including mounted police and cameras to record and identify protesters.
Around 15,000 British Kashmiris plan to attend the protest outside the Indian high commission building in London on January 26 as India celebrates Republic Day. The protest, which starts at 1 pm was called by the groups like Tehreek-e-Kashmir UK, Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) and the World Sikh Parliament. Pro-Khalistan Sikhs, British Pakistanis and Britons who originate from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) are expected to take part in the protest..
According to reports, protesters have been mobilizing people in large numbers to join the agitation outside the Indian embassy in London and burn copies of the Indian Constitution on January 26. Some pro-Khalistan fringe groups are also joining hands with Pakistani groups in the protest. Messages are widely circulated using various social media platforms inviting ‘like-minded’ people to join and burn the Indian Constitution, report said.
The High Commissioner of India in London Ruchi Ghanshyam, in a call with the Home Secretary of UK Priti Patel, expressed concerns over the planned protest outside the High Commission of India (HCI) in which Indian Constitution is supposed to be burnt on the day India celebrates its Republic Day on January 26. Indian diaspora in UK too requested to various UK authorities to ban the protest.
The World Sikh Parliament (WSP) announced that they will support the anti-India protest being organised by the Tehreek-e-Kashmir (TeK) UK chapter on the occasion of India’s Republic Day on January 26, outside the Indian High Commission in London. The WSP spokesperson, Ranjeet Singh declared that “We are with the people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K) who have been incarcerated by the government of India since August 5, 2019. In this situation we will join the TeK UK’s anti-India protest in front of the IHC in London.” Earlier, TeK announced the protest outside Indian High Commission in London and to observe the Republic Day as ‘Black Day’ across the world.
A UK based NGO, the Sikh Federation UK (SFUK), is joining forces with around 200 Sikh representatives from more than 20 countries to lobby the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for a “Rwanda-style” international tribunal to investigate crimes during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. The chairman of SFUK, Bhai Amrik Singh said that ““Our experiences from the last 35 years and this latest report [Justice SN Dhingra Committee Report] shows the police, politicians, and judiciary in India are corrupt to the core and the wheels of justice hardly turn. It is therefore impossible to secure justice within the Indian system. We are confident in securing the support of the majority of the five members of the UN Security Council. It is the entire Indian machinery that must be put on trial in an international arena.”
According to sources, Indian diplomats and British Indians fear violence and damage to the Indian high commission building in London when up to 5,000 protesters are expected to protest outside it on Republic Day on January 26. The protest named as “Rise for Kashmir” will take place outside the Indian high commission on January 26 from 1 pm to 3 pm. According to the president of Tehreek-e-Kashmir UK, Fahim Kayani, Tehreek-e-Kashmir UK, Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) and the World Sikh Parliament are the organizers of the protest. However, the British Indians has sent emails to the Metropolitan police and London mayor Sadiq Khan expressing concerns about the security of the mission building and asking for the protest to be moved.
Two persons were arrested on September 4 after Pakistani diaspora along with Khalistanis launched a massive protest outside the Indian High Commission in London on September 3 and broke a window pane, drawing widespread condemnation. UK's metropolitan police in a statement said that “there were two arrests for criminal damage at yesterday’s event outside the Indian High Commission”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed to Boris Johnson, his counterpart in the United Kingdom, about New Delhi's displeasure over recent “vandalism and violence” by a large number of Pakistani protesters in front of the Indian High Commission in London.
Violent protest took place outside Indian High Commission in London when protesters carrying ‘Khalistani’ and Kashmiri flags tried to push across the Police line and threw objects targeting Indian Diaspora. The Indian Diaspora was celebrating the Independence Day on August 15. The violent protesters had arrived in London from Birmingham and Nottingham.
According to reports, amid escalating tension between New Delhi and Islamabad British Sikh Association chairman Rami Ranger stated that there will be no investment in Pakistan by the Punjabi diaspora in UK “until relationships between New Delhi (India) and Islamabad (Pakistan) becomes cordial. The relations between the two countries have hit a low with Pakistan downgrading its ties with India after latter scrapped Jammu and Kashmir’s special status earlier this month. In January this year, British Sikh Association had signed a memorandum with Pakistani multinational conglomerate Hashoo Group for development of infrastructure on the Kartarpur Corridor. Ranger had signed the MoU on behalf of British Sikh Association in United Kingdom.
A group of Sikh protesters sporting with "Punjab Referendum 2020" T-shirts and chanting pro-Khalistan slogans were evicted from the Old Trafford stadium in Manchester in United Kingdom (UK) during the World Cup Cricket semi-final match between India and New Zealand. Greater Manchester Police arrested the two of them who were causing disruption and later released.
The UK counter-terrorism Police arrested two British Sikhs in connection with ongoing investigations into ‘allegations of extremist activity in India and fraud offences’ in Birmingham. The arrested individuals were identified as 38-year-old Deepa Singh, who runs the group Sikh Youth UK (SYUK), and a 49-year-old female relative of his.However, the two arrestees were released on bail and will either be charged within 28 days or released pending further investigations.
The British High Commissioner to India Dominic Asquith said the British Security agencies are investigating the pro-Khalistan activities in regards to the pro-Khalistan campaign held in August 2018 at London’s Trafalgar Square. As the part of investigation conducted by the West Midlands Counterterrorism Unit (WMCU), the British Security agencies searched several properties on September 18 in connection with the allegations of the terrorist offences in the UK, including the activities in relation to Khalistan campaign in India, said Asquith. However, the investigation conducted by WMCU is not directed by either the UK government or the Indian government.
A day ahead of Indian Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK, a video surfaced online featuring ‘most-wanted’ Khalistani terrorist Paramjit Singh Pamma leading a campaign and preaching hate speech against the Indian PM Narendra Modi and Mahatma Gandhi in London, UK, on April 17. In the video, Pamma was surrounded by his associates holding anti-India protest, without any intervention from the UK’s law enforcement agencies.
The UK in its consolidated list of organizations involved in terror activities or terror financing brought out on February 14, 2014, has named ISYF, HM, Babbar Khalsa and Khalistan Zindabad as organizations that require total financial sanctions.
Three Sikh extremists, Mandeep Singh Sandhu, Dilbag Singh, and Harjit Kaur were convicted in the UK of carrying out the life-threatening attack on Lieutenant General (retired) Kuldip Singh Brar on September 30, 2012. Another suspect, Barjinder Singh Sangha, has already pleaded guilty. The Crown Prosecution Service in a statement said the three "were convicted at Southwark Crown Court for grievous bodily harm on retired Indian Army officer, LG Kuldeep Singh Brar, aged 78. The attack took place whilst he was on holiday in London with his wife on September 30, 2012."
The trial of two Sikh men and a woman accused of stabbing Lieutenant General (retired) K. S. Brar opened in London (UK). Mandeep Singh Sandhu, Dilbagh Singh, and Harjit Kaur pleaded not guilty to the charge of "unlawful wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm" to the attack, which took place on September 30, 2012, and are up for trial at Southwark Crown Court. The fourth key accused, 33-year-old Barjinder Singh Sangha, had pleaded guilty to the charge of "unlawful wounding" and will be sentenced at the end of the trial.
Dilbag Singh, who was arrested in London, has been charged in connection with an assassination attempt on Lieutenant General (retired) Kuldip Singh Brar.
Scotland Yard released nine persons on bail in London who were arrested in connection with the attack on Lieutenant General (retired) Kuldeep Singh Brar. Three men will remain in custody. An extensive fundraising campaign is being undertaken by secessionist Sikh groups in Europe and North America at the instance of Pakistan's ISI to revive terrorism in Punjab. Sources in security agencies have informed about the movement of banned BKI, KCF, ISYF terror groups in western countries to radicalize Sikh youth by showing them doctored footage of Operation Blue Star and other propaganda materials. NIA sources confirmed that BKI still has a large network of sleeper cells across Punjab.
Lt General (Retired) KS Brar, who led the Operation Blue Star in 1984, was attacked and injured in London. He was stabbed by four men outside a hotel. He received minor injuries and was taken to hospital.
The BKI has dissolved its UK wing following the ban imposed by the British Government on 21 different terrorist organizations, including the ISYF. It was dissolved by Avtar Singh Sanghera, vice-president, BKI. He, however, said the outfit had submitted a memorandum to Jack Straw, British Home Secretary, for lifting the ban. He alleged the ban was imposed at the behest of the Indian Government as both the organizations had wings all over the world.