Ottawa (December 6, 2013): The World Sikh Organization of Canada expresses concern over the detention of Bhai Gurbaksh Singh. Gurbaksh Singh had been on hunger strike in Mohali Punjab since November 14 to press for the release of detained Sikh prisoners. He was arrested at midnight by a squad of the Punjab Police dressed in plain clothes, posing as supporters of the protest. Members of the police party were allegedly inebriated and manhandled and assaulted Gurbaksh Singh and supporters who were in attendance at the time.
According to reports, Gurbaksh Singh was first taken to Mohali’s Phase VI Civil Hospital and then to Ropar Jail where he is currently being held.
WSO senior policy advisor Gian Singh Sandhu said, “it is unfortunate that the Punjab Police and state authorities have acted in such an unreasonable manner when dealing with Bhai Gurbaksh Singh. Whether it was the blocking of solidarity marches across Punjab or Bhai Gurbaksh Singh’s abduction in such questionable circumstances, it is clear that the authorities in Punjab are not willing to engage in a reasonable or measured way.”
WSO President Prem Singh Vinning said, “it is alarming that a man exercising his democratic right to peacefully protest can be abducted and detained in this manner. Bhai Gurbaksh Singh’s demand that Sikh prisoners who have served their sentences be released is reasonable and one the entire Sikh community stands behind. The Punjab Police have once again shown their lack of respect for basic human rights and dignity by acting in such an offensive manner. We urge better sense to prevail so that Bhai Gurbaksh Singh can be released and his demands be given the appropriate consideration.”
The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of Canadian Sikhs as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status.