An 83-year-old civil rights and political activist, Surat Singh Khalsa also known as “Bapu Surat Singh Khalsa” from Hassanpur is fasting since 16th January 2015 seeking release of Sikh political prisoners who have completed their court sentences and are legitimately due for release. It has been 253 days till now and for this he did not get any favour besides a forced punishment at a hospital in Ludhiana where he is being force-fed and subjected to dubious medical procedures a conduct that is being called cruel by many. Yesterday, again Panjab police arrived in large numbers to his house and the ambulance was outside till early night hours and might forcibly move to the hospital again. Here is the demand of Surat Singh Khalsa and why these are ignored by the government.
Letter to PM Narendra Modi: He wrote an open letter to Prime Minister on 11th February 2015.In an open letter, he explained the motive of his hunger strike. In this Surat Singh Khalsa summed up his demands in two points
- Treat all Sikh prisoners –under trials and those sentenced in cases relating to the Sikh struggle- as political prisoners and
- Release all prisoners who have completed their full jail terms and are legitimately due for release, exactly in the same manner, as other prisoners are so released in various other parts of the country.
Demand of Surat Singh Khalsa:
He said that there are at least 43 Sikh political prisoners across the country in various prisons who have completed their jail terms and still held in the jail at their old age. Surat Singh Khalsa wants them to release immediately.
Jaspal Singh Manjhpur, the lawyer assisting Surat Singh, said that “the list discussed by the DGP contained 200 names, of which an estimated 70 to 75 prisoners have indeed served over 15 to 20 years of their jail term”. Arjun Sheoran, a lawyer associated with People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), said that “the Punjab government’s claim that the state was unable to act because of a Supreme Court stay on release of life prisoners in 2014 was inaccurate and that an interim application could be filed”.
Singh Refused Medical Treatment:
Bapu Surat Singh Khalsa yesterday refused any medical checks when the Punjab SSP Ravicharan Brar came to Hassanpur with a team of doctors. Despite multiple attempts by the SSP to collect vitals, Bapu Ji refused to be seen by the doctors. He asked the SSP to leave him alone.
Previously on 8th February 2015 he was placed under preventive arrest and forced to feed him food pipes have been stitched on the activist’s forehead in an unhygienic and unscientific manner, which resulted in an infection.
Moreover Surat Singh Khalsa son Ravinder Jeet Singh, a US citizen, were arrested in Ludhiana, Punjab (India) under “preventive charges” on 26th February 2015. At the time of his arrest, Surat Singh Khalsa was peacefully protesting for the release of Sikh political prisoners who have completed their terms. His son, Ravinder Jeet was merely accompanying his father at a hospital in Ludhiana (Punjab, India) when they were both arrested. In addition, Surinder Singh of Talking Punjab and others were also detained for brief periods. After the intervention of the President of India and alleged pressure by various US Congressman, Surat Singh Khalsa, and Ravinder Jeet Singh were released. After his release on April 27, Ravinder says he was tortured multiple times and that his life was in danger. He has alleged that the police blackmailed him to manipulate Surat into stopping his protest.