12 February 2013
The Sikh Federation (UK) has written to UK Prime Minister, David Cameron ahead of his planned visit to India next week.
The letter and other communications by the Sikh Federation (UK) with Ministers at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have urged David Cameron to raise UK and EU opposition to the death penalty in India.
The opposition to the death penalty has also been raised with French President, Francois Hollande who will be visiting Delhi on February 14-15. This visit will be followed by David Cameron who is also expected to pay his respects at the Harmander Sahib Complex in Amritsar.
Bhai Amrik Singh, Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said: ‘The UK and France are two of the five Permanent Members of the United Nations Security Council opposed to the death penalty. They are expected to voice their concerns in person with the Indian authorities about the worrying and backward trend of the reintroduction of hangings with two in the last three months.’
The letter from Bhai Amrik Singh, Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK), to David Cameron states: ‘The British Sikh community along with many others were alarmed to learn about the latest hanging in India on Saturday. That makes it two hangings in three months and there are worrying signs India has permanently moved backwards as regards the abolition of the death penalty.’
‘The latest hanging is highly provocative and suggests India is signalling a challenge to over 110 nations, including all EU countries, which have rightly turned their back on the barbaric use of the death penalty.’
‘The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has had much correspondence from MPs representing the Sikh community about the plight of Balwant Singh Rajoana and Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar in recent years and we fear the politics in India at the present time will mean they could easily go to the gallows in the next few weeks.’
‘We understand you will be in India next week and are also likely to visit the Harmander Sahib (Golden Temple) Complex and sincerely hope you will not shy away from publicly condemning India for carrying out two hangings in the last three months and urge them to immediately reinstate the moratorium against the death penalty.’
In addition, the Sikh Federation (UK) has written to Baroness Stern as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Abolition of the Death Penalty and communicated with Fabian Hamilton MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for UK Sikhs urging them to also write to David Cameron.
Khalsa Human Rights, the human rights wing of the Sikh Federation (UK) has also issued a letter that can be sent to MPs and MEPs to try and stop the imminent hanging of Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar and Balwant Singh Rajoana. Gurdwaras have been urged to get Sangat to sign these letters in large numbers as soon as possible and send to MPs.
The Sikh Federation (UK) has also set in motion activities at the European Parliament in Brussels and at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.