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On 16 January 2015, Surat Singh Khalsa began a hunger strike which is still ongoing. He has refused food for more than 6 months to seek the release of Sikh political prisoners who have completed their court sentences. Where he is seeking release of Sikh political prisoners, he has also called for unconditional release of prisoners of all religions who have completed their terms.

On 11 February 2015, Surat Singh Khalsa wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi explaining the motive of his hunger strike. In his letter, Surat Singh Khalsa summed up his demands in two points:
 

1.Treat all Sikh prisoners –under trials and those sentenced in cases relating to the Sikh struggle- as political prisoners and

2.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.
 

A number of Sikh Political Prisoners are languishing in jails despite having completed their sentences. Many of these prisoners are released on parole on yearly basis. These prisoners can be granted permanent parole or be released on bail, as there are no pending charges against them. In addition, Surat Singh Khalsa is seeking release of senior citizens based on humanitarian grounds. There are at least 8 such prisoners who have been sentenced under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act for their involvement in a bank robbery case that took place in Ludhiana. This law has already lapsed and has been deemed as controversial by human rights organizations, as well as the United Nations.

This is not however the end of unjust laws to make trapping innocents Sikhs in the legal justice system. The Unlawful Activities and Prevention Act has now replaced the TADA Act. It is also worthy noting that three Sikh political prisoners were one of the first prisoners to be tried and sentenced under this act. They are Pal Singh (France), Makhan Singh and Gurmukh Singh.

The Sikh Relief Prisoner project – SOPW is looking after all 15 life serving convicts at the heart of this hunger strike alongside 50 other Sikh political prisoners. To dat we are please to announce that over 180 prisoners have been released. You can find more information on each of these prisoners under our projects section of the website

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