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Mohinder Singh comes from the village of Asandh in Haryana. He ran a successful trucking business and also made a living working on his farmland.

On 2nd February 2008, there was an explosion among the cavalcade of cars carrying Gurmit Ram Rahim – the leader of a cult called ‘Dera Sach Sauda’ based in Sirsa. This notorious cult leader had earlier imitated the Sikhs tenth Guru, Gobind Singh, when he held a fake ‘Amrit Sanchar’ (baptism ceremony) where he posed as Guru Gobind Singh. Gurmit Ram Rahim is embroiled in scandal and allegations of two murders. The Dera Sacha Sauda cult has also been investigated for rape and sexual exploitation of over 50 women.

The Sikhs are a martial race, committed to their religion and the resistance of tyranny and oppression. This makes them a fierce opponent for the Indian State, who wishes to neutralise and diminish the Sikh Nation. There are many weapons in it’s arsenal that the State and its agencies use to dilute, confuse and divide a minority community. Therefore, by releasing into the community and then promoting dangerous cults like ‘Dera Sacha Sauda’ the usually poorer and illiterate villagers are led down a path which takes them away from the truth of Sikhi and ensures that the strength of Sikh unity is destroyed.

Mohinder Singh Asandh was one of a group of Sikhs who were arrested for allegedly masterminding and carrying out the attack on Gurmit Ram Rahim’s convoy, in which two vehicles were destroyed but no-one was seriously hurt. Upon arrest, along with the others, Mohinder Singh was subjected to the worst kind of treatment in police remand. The trial in the case lasted over four painstaking years, during which time seventy three witnesses were examined. One lady, Parveen Kaur, had also been arrested and implicated in storing the explosives before the attack. We all know of the torture and humiliation that Sikh men have to endure whilst in custody, but the degrading and dishonourable way in which women are treated makes it difficult to describe here in words. 

Mohinder Singh was sentenced to ten years of rigorous imprisonment and sent to Karnal Prison in Haryana. Two others including Bakshish Singh, the main accused in the case, were also given ten years imprisonment and Bakshish Singh has also been buried under numerous other false cases including murder, kidnap, ransom and possession of explosives all around Punjab. This is a familiar tactic used by the State to ensure that a person remains behind bars for the considerable future whilst fighting these trumped up charges. The remaining four accused were given sentences of five to seven years each.

Since February 2008, Mohinder Singh and his family have passed through the most difficult of times. It is hard to tolerate your loved one suffering torture and humiliation at the hands of the Police, but along with this, to bear the burden of the only breadwinner in the family being removed. But even this is not enough for the corrupt authorities. Both of Mohinder Singh’s trucks were confiscated and never returned and the nine acres of land that he owned were seized by the Police who also took away the family’s assets and possessions. This culminated in the ruin of his family home, which is another tool used to supress the spirit and voice of Sikhs within India. This is why the work of SOPW is so crucial. We step in and stand shoulder to shoulder with these families and support them in every way we can, which is a threat to the authorities who wish to see our Sikh prisoners families, fall to rack and ruin.

One of the first things SOPW did, was to lodge an appeal against Mohinder Singh’s harsh sentence and as a result, we are pleased to announce that he has been granted parole release and has returned home to his family.

However, the stress of the past six years has been too much to bear for Mohinder Singh’s wife and as a result her health has deteriorated. She had difficulty in swallowing and pain when breathing, yet she continued to suffer in silence as she did not want to add to the troubles of the family. However, when our SOPW team found out the condition she was in, we immediately arranged for medical attention and the doctors are very concerned that the problem could be serious. She is currently undergoing tests and checks for throat cancer.

Upon Mohinder Singh’s release, our team visited him at his home and together we drew up a plan for his rehabilitation package. It is always our aim at SOPW to end the cycle of dependency and make our families self-sufficient. Our volunteers were touched by Mohinder Singh’s gentle and humble nature and were inspired by his inner strength.

With the Sangat’s help and support, SOPW have purchased a big Carrier Truck for Mohinder Singh, who has been able to return to the only business he knows – haulage. This has been a costly project that has only been possible thanks to the hard work of our SOPW team in India, who spend day and night working to bring these projects to fruition. We would also like to emphasise that YOU, the Sangat, have helped this deserving family to regain a sense of dignity and given Mohinder Singh a future where he can provide and protect his family. Our work does not stop here, SOPW will ensure that Mohinder Singh’s wife receives the treatment she needs to rid her of the disease she has carried quietly for all the years that her husband was locked behind bars.

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