Dr Assa Singh
In November 2012 a TADA (Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act) court convicted 93 year old Dr Assa Singh and sentenced him to undergo 10 years of imprisonment. It is worth noting that TADA ceased to be operative in 1995 due to worldwide condemnation of its misuse. But even 17 years after TADA expired, Assa Singh along with 11 others, were all given harsh sentences in a decision that was widely considered to be political rather than judicial. Sikh Relief have provided support to those involved in this case, who have requested our help.
Few people will have heard of Baaz Singh, a man who has been robbed of his youth and left a ‘bag of bones’ by the hardships of prison life. In 1993, the police registered a number of false cases against Baaz Singh and sent him to Amritsar Central Jail. Within months, Ropar Police also took custody of Baaz Singh; trying to frame him in yet another case. Baaz Singh’s family were left distraught when Ropar Police sent an untrue message to them, saying he had escaped from their custody and died when he fell into a river.
42 year old Hardeep Singh, was arrested and imprisoned in 1993 under the controversial TADA Act. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1997 and has been in Amritsar Central jail ever since.
TADA was primarily brought about to lock up the Sikhs of Punjab, with trials held in secret courts, no witnesses required and confessions obtained by police through the use of torture were permissible. As a result of this, Hardeep Singh has been separated from his family for nearly 22 years and both his parents who are now frail, and his wife who has single-handedly raised their two young sons, wonder if he will ever be free to return home.
Bhai Major Singh who is believed to have been one of the longest serving Sikh political prisoners at the time of his release. He has served, in total twenty three years and one month in jail despite being totally innocent. SOPW have been supporting Bhai Major Singh since he first came to our attention in 2009. Our team spoke to Major Singh after he was released and true to his personality along with thanking the Sangat who have helped secure his release he appealed to the Sangat world-wide to please now focus on the other Sikhs that are still languishing in jails and ensure that they too are freed without any further delay.
Shaheed Bhai Tarlok Singh was taken from his home by Ludhiana police in June 1985. The twenty eight year old was then beaten, tortured and framed under six separate ‘Arms acts’ cases. Months passed, his family anxiously awaited Bhai Tarlok Singh’s return home and the police were denying any knowledge of his whereabouts. It wasn’t until September 1990 that the news finally broke. The family’s dreadful suspicions finally confirmed by the police, that Bhai Tarlok Singh had been killed in an ‘encounter’. The body was never returned to the family to allow for a proper cremation and for the family to pay their final respects.
Jaswinder Singh was born in a relatively poor Hindu Rajput family. His parents Prabhu Dyal and Maya Devi had been childless for years until a family member urged them to do ardaas at Dukhanawaran Gurdwara Sahib, Patiala. Hence, Jaswinder Singh was born and his parents started to learn more about Sikhi. Since childhood Jaswinder Singh maintained a great interest and love for Sikhi and decided to take amrit in 2007.
Gurjant Singh Jangpura
Gurjant Singh had a relatively good business and was happily supporting his elderly parents, wife and three children when Punjab Police surrounded his home in the early hours of the morning in the early hours of the morning in July, 2010.
Gursharan Singh Gamma
We are pleased to learn of the release of Bhai Gursharan Singh Gamma who had been imprisoned in Nabha Maximum Security Jail since 1996 for his alleged involvement in the famous 1987 Ludhiana Panjab National Bank robbery case. Of the ten men that were imprisoned at the time, SOPW are supporting five, the other five including Bhai Gursharan Singh were financially able to fund their own legal costs.
Each news of a Sikh political prisoner release is a small yet significant weight lifted from our conscience; let us continue to be blessed with the relentless determination to free them all.
Gurbaaz Singh was first arrested in 2005 and framed in a case related to Bhai Jagtar Singh Hawara. He suffered unbearable torture at the hands of the police and to further add to the pain of this Gursikh, there were not one, not two, but five cases registered against him. This is a common tactic used to ensure that an innocent person be caught up in the ‘system’ for the foreseeable future.
SOPW hired a lawyer to fight his case and after serving one year in the maximum security prison in Nahba, Bhai Gurbaaz Singh managed to get bail in 2006. Following on from this, in 2008 he was acquitted in 4 out of the 5 cases registered against him, but was still sentenced for five years in a case under the Arms Act.
In 2009 Sukhjinder Kaur was newly married to Balbir Singh and the happy couple were travelling back from Hazoor Sahib when they were involved in a police shootout at Ludhiana Railway station. Both of them were placed under arrest and charged under the Arms Act and the Unlawful Activities Act. It has taken five years to finally clear Sukhjinder Kaur's name. Yesterday, in the Ludhiana Sessions court of Judge Sarbjit Singh Dhaliwal, Sukhjinder Kaur was fully acquitted in the case and her husband, Balbir Singh 'Bhootna's sentence, was converted from life under the Unlawful Activities Act, to a normal life sentence.
Satnam Singh from the village of Raiya in Bathinda, was reunited with his family and is now at home spending time away from the confines of prison. This has only been possible with the support of the Sangat which enabled SOPW to fund Satnam Singh's legal case and provide welfare to him during his imprisonment. For over four years, Satnam Singh has been harassed by being continuously arrested and imprisoned. As far back as May 2010 he was arrested by Deyalpura Police and charged under the Indian Penal Code for conspiracy, breech of the peace and making a hate speech, also possession of weapons under the Arms Act. He managed to clear his name in February 2011.
42 years old Bhai Ranjeet Singh has been released from Tihar Prison,New Delhi . Bhai Ranjeet Singh was lodged in the same prison as Jagtar Singh Hawara for the last 4 and a half years. SOPW had been taking care of Bhai Ranjeet Singh's welfare and lawyers fee. Huge thanks to the sangat for making this possible.
This is a picture of Malkit Singh and his parents Baljinder Kaur and Harjinder Singh. Malkit Singh has recently been released after six long years of being incarcerated in Jammu Prison, hundreds of kilometres away from his loved ones. They are a poor family from Barnala district who simply have a great love for Sikhi. In June 2008, Bhai Malkit Singh along with his two companions Bhai Harbans Singh and Bhai Surjit Singh travelled to Jammu to attend a dharmic (religious) function. Bhai Malkit Singh told his parents that he would be back in two days but his parents were unaware that they would not be able to meet their son freely again.
It is with great pleasure that SOPW announces the release of Kulwant Singh from Ropar Jail on 10th July 2014. Kulwant Singh although a farmer by trade, worked as a taxi driver before he was unlawfully picked up by Patiala police in 2010. He was charged in 3 cases under the Unlawful Activities Act and sent to Ropar jail. Left alone and with no other income source, his wife Balbir Kaur continued to support the family by working in a printing and stationary shop, earning a mere £20 a month which barely covered the family’s living costs. Since SOPW became aware of the case we have supported Kulwant Singh and his family in every way.
Kulvir Singh Barapind
Today, the Jalandhar Sessions Court of Judge Mandip Singh Dhillon has acquitted Akali Dal Panch Pardhani (ADPP) president, Kulvir Singh Barapind, in a false case dating back to September 2012. It is widely believed that Kulvir Singh was framed in the case for political reasons by the Punjab Government.
Jasvir Singh Jassa
This is the family of Bhai Jasbir Singh Jassa Manki. For the last few years this family has been subjected to much anguish and despair. However, Bhai sahib’s tragic story started in the 1990s during the peak of the Sikh Genocide. Like many of the political prisoners, bhai sahib had been repeatedly tormented by authorities prior to his arrest in 2010. Bhai sahib was arrested alongside many other activists and innocent civilians in 1990 and had to spend two years in prison before he was released. In 1997 Bhai sahib married Bibi Karamjit Kaur and it was the start of a new life. But this was not meant to be and the police arrested bhai sahib a few years into the marriage while his two daughters were just babies. Once again bhai sahib was forced to leave his work behind that he had worked hard to create for his family and he was confined to prison once again. From the late 90s till he was granted bail in 2007, bhai sahib once again endured the harsh and dirty conditions of prison life.
Sikh Relief is happy to announce that Harjant Singh who was incarcerated in Nabha Jail has now been released. On 14th February 2010, groups of police officers in civiulian clothing surrounded the family home in the early hours of the morning in Gurdaspur. Dressing in civilian clothing means that detainees and their loved ones are unable to identify police officers.
Thirty four year old Harbans Singh has not only been separated from his family for almost seven years, but he was imprisoned so far away in Jammu, that it was difficult for his family to visit regularly. In June 2008, Harbans Singh’s wife Sharanjit Kaur, was left to fend for herself with a newborn baby when her husband was picked up by Police from his village in Punjab and falsely charged under the Arms and Explosives Act. The case chosen by the Police in which to frame Harbans Singh, fell under the jurisdiction of Jammu and so he was sent to prison there.
Dharam Singh was arrested from his home by the Berowal (Tarn Taran) Police in March 2013. Upon arrest, he was harrassed and tortured before being charged under the Arms Act and framed for providing food and shelter to Bhai Narain Singh Chaura, a respected and learned human rights activist who was wanted by the Indian authorities.
Baljeet Singh Bhau
SOPW are delighted to announce the bail release of Bhai Baljeet Singh Bhau. Bhai Baljeet Singh has been incarcerated in Tihar Jail New Delhi since 2008 accused of the attempted murder of the fake Sirsa Wala Baba - Ram Rahim.
The bail application was initially submitted by our lawyer Adv Manjinder Singh over six months ago but in light of the continued needless delays during the proceedings and at times the attitude of the presiding judges we were beginning to lose hope that the application would at all be accepted. During one of the court hearings the presiding judge went as far as to say that Bhai Bhau “should remain in jail forever because should he be released it is likely he will step into politics”.