Socialist Worker

Sikhs unite against planned hanging of resistance fighter

by Chaz Singh
Issue No. 2297

Across the world Sikhs have been angered by the first hanging planned by the Indian judiciary since 2004.

The man due to be killed is Balwant Singh Rajoana. He readily admits his role in the 1990s armed resistance against the repression of Sikhs by the Indian state.

He has already served 17 years in jail for his part in the killing of the chief minister of Punjab in 1995 and is refusing to seek clemency or mercy for the act.

However, the Sikh community internationally has united in an unprecedented way to demand his release. Thousands have marched against the planned killing.

There are two motives bringing people to the demonstrations—one is anger at the Indian state-sponsored violence that began in the late 1970s and continued for almost two decades. Thousands of young Sikhs were tortured, killed and cremated in what the police termed “encounters”.

For many these wounds never healed and justice must still be had. Balwant Singh's proposed execution has caused the anger to surface once more.

But over the last 15 years police officers responsible for these acts have risen to higher positions of power and those claiming to represent Sikhs have done nothing to demand change.

The other reason is the rise of resistance across India in the last few months—from huge rallies and campaigns against corruption to the largest general strike ever seen.

The struggles against tyranny across the world, from Egypt to Greece has given inspiration and raised the prospect of people power. This has fed anger amongst Sikhs and they have taken to the streets in a way that has not happened for many years.

The question of real justice for all the oppressed and exploited is essential for everyone who fights for a better world.

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Tue 3 Apr 2012, 18:39 BST
Issue No. 2297
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