SOURCE: United Sikhs

United Sikhs

December 08, 2016 08:39 ET

Human Rights Group takes Religious Freedom Fight to the White House

Sikhs Petition to Bring Unlawfully Imprisoned Father Home for Holidays

NEW YORK, NEW YORK--(Marketwired - December 08, 2016) -

Sign the Petition: https://wh.gov/iehtX

"Shackled, abused and robbed of sleep." That's how Amritpal Kaur has described her father's current condition to international human rights groups. Bhai Resham Singh, a Sikh man from Bakersfield, California, was unlawfully arrested by India's immigration authorities on November 4th, after arriving in New Delhi to attend a religious event.

"Sarbat Khalsa is a well-known, 300 year-old peaceful event celebrated by the Sikh community in India. It is incomprehensible that simply being Sikh could be considered a crime of sedition," Wanda Sanchez Day, Esq, National Legal Director for the UNITED SIKHS explained. "Upon hearing of Singh's deplorable treatment, we felt the need to take immediate steps in the fight for his release."

The fight has now gone to the White House. Sanchez Day, and other members of the UNITED SIKHS (an international NGO that provides legal and humanitarian aid to Sikhs worldwide) is ramping up support for a recently filed petition which calls for President Obama's support for Sikh religious rights.

According to Sanchez Day, the arrest is in violation of both Indian law and international treaties which guarantee freedom of speech, religion and assembly in addition to freedom from torture and due process.

"In Indian law, arrests for sedition are prohibited unless the court finds evidence of seditious acts or inciting violence, none of which there is evidence of in Singh's case. Furthermore, Americans abroad are protected by international laws and cannot be arrested and held unless they violate the laws of the host country," Sanchez Day further explained. "Singh was targeted on political grounds simply because he is Sikh."

According to the U.S. Embassy website, Indian authorities must file a First Incident Report with the appropriate court describing the charges within 24 hours of an arrest. According to human rights organization, Voices For Freedom (VFF), the authorities did not do so until November 12th -- eight days after Singh's arrest. When Singh's attorney in India asked about the arrest, the Indian authorities reportedly replied by saying, "various anti-national and anti-social speeches were made during the function."

As Singh's daughter recently shared, her father has been robbed of far more than just religious and legal rights. Singh, who serves as the Senior Vice President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (USA), has been treated cruelly; denied medication, deprived of sleep, and was forced to sit continuously for more than 60 hours before seeing a judge. Indian authorities have refused to grant him bail.

"Media outlets have reported that hundreds of Sikhs were unlawfully arrested and charged with sedition in 2015 and 2016. This issue should concern us all. We at UNITED SIKHS, stand in solidarity with Bhai Resham Singh and other Americans being threatened with the same fate. We ask that the United States government offer Singh the assistance every U.S. citizen abroad is entitled to. Procure his prompt release and let him return to his family," Sanchez Day concluded.

Sign the Petition:

https://wh.gov/iehtX

Issued by: UNITED SIKHS

ABOUT UNITED SIKHS: UNITED SIKHS is a United Nations affiliated, international non-profit, non-governmental, humanitarian relief, human development and advocacy organization, whose mission is to empower those in need, especially disadvantaged and minority communities around the world.

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Contact Information

  • For more information about UNITED SIKHS or to schedule an interview, please contact
    Wanda Sanchez Day, Esq.
    Acting National Legal Director
    International Civil & Human Rights Advocacy (ICHRA)
    UNITED SIKHS
    wsd.unitedsikhs@gmail.com
    www.unitedsikhs.org
    M: 646-479-9517