New Delhi: As many as 250 volunteers of a non-profit organisation, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal (SBS), on the occasion of International Human Rights Day on Monday marched towards the High Commission of Pakistan here and handed over a memorandum demanding justice, freedom and protection of human rights of Sikhs and other minorities in Pakistan.
Following the protest, a five-member delegation of SBS led by its founder Sardar Jitender Singh Shunty, president Hanuman Lakhotia, president of women’s wing Manjeet Kaur Shunty and two others met the Pakistan High Commission officials and handed over a memorandum addressed to the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan along with a supporting docket of the incidents of atrocities on the Sikhs and other minorities residing in Pakistan and demanded an immediate end to it, according to SBS press release.
The protesters carried placards, flash cards and banners, with stern and moving messages such as ‘Save Human Rights’, ‘Stop Forced Conversion’, ‘Save Sikh Girls’, ‘Stop Harassing Sikhs in Pakistan’, ‘Don’t Grab Gurudwara Land’, ‘Stop Distorting Sikh History’, etc.
The NGO also cited atrocities over minorities in the country over the years due to their religious affiliation.
The minorities in Pakistan have been raising serious concerns and voicing against forced conversions, targeted attacks, heinous crimes like kidnapping for ransom, murders of prominent people of their communities and religions, reported abductions and rapes of the girl child, etc.
“One such example being of Sardar Charanjeet Singh, a prominent Sikh in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa who was killed in daylight in May 2018. It was perhaps the tenth such killing of the Sikhs since 2014, which has created a strong fear among the Sikhs living in Pakistan,” read the press release.
Several other incidents were brought to notice including that of one Gulab Singh, who was a Sikh Police Officer in Pakistan, and was targeted and forcefully evicted from his house along with his family for fighting to protect Gurdwara land. His turban was also removed and his articles of faith were intentionally disrespected in the incident in July 2018. The NGO raised the voice against violence against women, citing the October 2018 incident in which a 15-year-old mentally challenged Sikh girl was reportedly sexually molested and raped in Nankana Sahib of Pakistan.
The NGO also raised concerns about non-representation of Sikhs and other minorities in national and provincial Assembly since the creation of Pakistan, leading to suppression and human rights violations against them.
“On the one hand, Pakistan opens up the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor. On the other hand, it continues brutalities on minority communities, especially Sikhs. What is more surprising is their least-concerned attitude on the seriousness of the crimes. Guru Nanak Dev Ji was one Prophet who himself believed in equality and human rights. Pakistan must consider itself lucky to have been blessed by the presence of Guru Nanak Dev Ji on its land and must let its people, who believe in the teachings of Guru Nanak, follow the path he showed. Instead, what it is doing is inhumane. The Sikhs are being treated barbarically and so are other minorities, just because they are a few in numbers as compared to the Muslims, who live in majority in Pakistan,” read the press release.
“So, on this International Human Rights Day, we have come here to appeal to the Government of Pakistan and their Prime Minister to stop the discrimination and treat all the citizens of Pakistan, including minorities, equally and stop the Hate Crimes against them. We have also approached the United Nations in this regard and the President and the Prime Minister of India, and hope that humanity will prevail in the end,” said Sardar Jitender Singh Shunty in the release.