"if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen
the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu.

Radical Desi honours veteran Sikh leader for human rights work Featured


Harbhajan Singh Atwal was presented with a Human Rights Defender certificate on Sunday, February 12,  at Gurdwara Sukh Sagar Sahib, New Westminster, BC for his continued advocacy for the release of political prisoners. 

The certificate was given to Atwal by Gurpreet Singh, the cofounder of Radical Desi, an online magazine that covers alternative politics.

While addressing the congregation, Singh raised the ongoing issue of Sikh political prisoners in India, and lauded Atwal for his tireless campaign in Metro Vancouver for their release. Protests have been going on both in India and in other countries, including Canada, for the Sikh political prisoners, especially those who are either incarcerated under trumped up charges, or continue to be jailed even after the completion of their sentence. A fierce clash was reported recently when the police tried to stop supporters of the jailed Sikh activists from marching to Chandigarh, the provincial capital of Punjab. A rally for the Sikh political prisoners was also held in Vancouver outside the Indian consulate on January 26, which is the republic day of the world’s so called largest democracy. 

Atwal was among the organizers, who included the officials of Gurdwara Sukh Sagar Sahib. Notably, Atwal has not only been in the forefront of the global campaign for Sikh political prisoners, but also supported initiatives for the release of non-Sikh political detainees, such as physically challenged scholar Prof GN Saibaba. He had helped in getting signatures for the petition started by Radical Desi for the release of Saibaba, who was given a life sentence for merely questioning the power. Saibaba, who is disabled below the waist, was a lecturer at the Delhi University. He is currently suffering with multiple ailments, and was denied temporary relief to visit his mother on her deathbed. Even though international bodies have been asking for his release on compassionate grounds, the Indian government remains adamant. 

Sikh slogans of victory were raised by those in attendance when Atwal received the certificate. 

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Gurpreet Singh

Cofounder and Director of Radical Desi


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