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Maajha Kaur is the mother of Sikh political prisoner Balbir Singh Bira. Now in her 80s, Maajha Kaur has lived most of her life in a small impoverished village raising her six children alone as she lost her husband over thirty years ago. Unfortunately due to a lack of medical aid and extreme poverty, over the years four of her sons have died from various diseases and injuries in childhood. Her only remaining son is Balbir Singh Bira who is currently imprisoned in Nabha Maximum Security Jail and his wife is Sukhjinder Kaur, who was only acquitted in August 2014, after spending 5 years locked in Nabha Jail.

The authorities always kept a close eye on Balbir Singh as they viewed him to be a sympathizer of the Sikh movement. This close scrutiny only increased when he was released from prison in 2004 after spending 14 years in jail, including Jammu Jail, which is so far from Punjab that at the time, Maajha Kaur was not even sure if her son was still alive. Upon his release, Balbir Singh returned to a normal life with his mother and also a new wife. However, this blissful period was not to last. The newlyweds were arrested from Ludhiana train station in 2009, as they returned from a trip to the historical gurdwara of Hazoor Sahib in the south of India. Since their arrest, they have been implicated in a number of cases, meaning that Balbir Singh remains behind bars trying to clear his name.

Maajha Kaur’s tiny dwelling can barely be called a home. There is no toilet and no kitchen. Continuous power cuts mean she has no way to stay cool in the relentless summers. The walls are barely standing and the only means of water is by a hand pump. You can watch her full interview on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqNPFh8HsU0

Together with our legal team, Sikh Relief worked very hard to secure Sukhjinder Kaur’s release, who was the last remaining female Sikh political prisoner. Now we are pleased to announce, that with the support of the Sangat, we have been able to start building a new family home for Maajha Kaur and Sukhjinder Kaur. Our team member, Parminder Singh, went to visit them as well as to inspect the ongoing construction work. If you wish to contribute to this worthy cause, please visit: http://www.prisonerwelfare.org/donations

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