Ever since Amritpal Singh Sandhu took over a head of ‘Waris Punjab De’ after the death of its founder head named Deep Sidhu, state machinery started harassing him by cancelling arms licences of his guards and detaining his friends. On 18 March 2023, prior to launching crackdown, section-144 was imposed and mobile phone service was suspended in Sri Muktsar Sahib and Fazilka districts.Police arrested a large number of Sikhs including members of ‘Waris Punjab De’ and its head Amritpal Singh. Sikh diaspora has expressed serious concerns over this crackdown Sikh population in Indian Punjab and elsewhere in India. Following have expressed serious concern over crackdown against Sikh in India;
Randeep Sarai, Member of Parliament in Canada said on Twitter:
Deeply concerned about news reports coming out of Punjab, India. The suspension of internet services and restricted gatherings of more than 4 people in some areas.
Gagmeet Singh, Party leader of the New Democratic Party in Canada, said:
I am deeply concerned by reports that India has suspended civil liberties and imposed an internet blackout throughout the state of Punjab. These draconian measure are unsettling for many given their historical use to execute extrajudicial killing and enforced disappearances during the 1984 Sikh Genocide. I am calling on Justin Trudeau and Liberal government to immediately contact their Indian counterparts to express concern regarding the suspension of civil liberties and the safety of Canadian abroad.
Tim S. Uppal Canadian Conservative Party deputy leader tweeted:
Very concerned about reports coming out of Punjab, India. The government has suspended internet services and restricted gatherings of more than 4 people in some areas. We are closely following the situation.
Gurratan Singh, former Member of Provincial Parliament also tweeted:
What’s happening in Punjab right now: – mass of Sikh activists – shut down of internet and text – crackdown on public gathering – mass censorship of human rights media. Let the Indian Government know that we condemn this repression. The whole world is watching.
Author and poet Rupi Kaur, shared a post by the world Sikhs Organization of Canada (WSO) which stated:
Mass arrests of Sikh activists are taking place in Punjab. At least 78 people have been arrested. Internet and SMS have been shut down in areas along with crackdowns on gatherings. Sikh media outlet and pages have been blocked.
Ravi Singh, Khalsa Aid chief said:
Targeting of Sikh youth in Punjab is once again causing huge concern in Sikh community across the world. Our memories of the 1980s are still very raw. Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann is urged to stop deployment of army or paramilitary services.
World Sikh Organization said
The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) condemns the security operations in Punjab to arrest Sikhs leader, Bhai Amritpal Singh. Indian authorities have announced the mass suspension of internet services across Punjab citing a threat to “public order by incitement to violence”. State-wide cordon and search operation are currently underway across Punjab. We are also deeply concerned that the confusion around Bhai Amritpal Singh’s detention may be used to orchestrate a false encounter and facilitate his extrajudicial murder. This tactic was commonly used by the Punjab police through the 80’s and 90s to eliminate Sikh activists. We call on the Canadian Government to demand accountability from India and call for the immediate resolution of civil rights and internet services in Punjab. Share widely to spread the message (Press Released enclosed).
Sikh Diaspora in UK Reacts
Sikh diaspora took to streets in London and gathered at Indian High Commission in London to deliver the note of protest to Indian envoy. The latter didn’t turn up to receive. Thus one of the enraged Sikh pulled down Indian flag and tried to replace it with that of Khalistan. Indian govt served a note of protest to UK High Commission in New Delhi.