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Sikh News Foreign & Commonwealth Office Should Do More To Help Free British Sikh

Jul 10, 2006
Foreign & Commonwealth Office should do more to Help Free British Sikh
Wednesday 7th of February 2007

Gurjeet Singh, National Press Secretary, Sikh Federation (UK)

London, UK - Since the arrest of grandfather Paramjeet Singh by Punjab Police on 23 December, a campaign has been led by human rights activists and people across the UK have contacted their MPs regarding his arrest and subsequent mistreatment. The community is disappointed that the Foreign & Commonwealth Office could be doing much more for a British citizen that has been subjected to mistreatment, having faced bogus charges in the past.

Many of these MPs have in turn contacted the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Margaret Beckett regarding this case. Clearly, there is a need for the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to meet with the family of Paramjeet Singh.
Back in India, Police did not turn up at court and so Paramjeet Singh's hearing was adjourned to 20 February 2007. A retired foundry worker and now a folk singer, he has been in the Nabha jail in Punjab since December.
He was arrested with two Indian men after police claimed they found explosives and firearms on Mr Singh's land which they believe were going to be used to disrupt this month's Punjab elections.

The father-of-four has been in India furnishing his new family home since October, with his wife and grand-daughter aged three. His daughter stated her dad was beaten up by police and made to stand naked all night to force a confession. The Sikh Federation UK supports her campaign.
She stated: "During the first 36 hours he was tortured. I spoke to my mum [after first court appearance] and she couldn't string a sentence
together because she was crying so much.

"The hardest part is we're here [in Wolverhampton] and he's in this dingy, downtrodden place." The case sparked controversy as police initially claimed the explosives were found in the car Mr Singh was travelling in.
Later, cops said they were on land near his holiday home - with Indian newspapers reporting the police did not visit the area until after Mr Singh's arrest.

His daughter, a solicitor in Birmingham, said: "Firstly, The farm land is rented out to other people. Also, they said the explosives were found under a stash of hay - there is no hay on my Dad's land.

"He's a simple family man, not a terrorist. We've had no contact with him and it's worrying because the system in India is not like the system here. "My dad's friends have travelled to support him. Hundreds of people from villages have rallied outside the court.

"I urge people to support the Sikh Federation. Also, write to their MPs and seek assurance it won't happen to them when they travel."

She believes her dad's arrest was politically motivated as he was travelling with Bhai Jasbir Singh, a religious candidate in this month's Punjab elections.

"It's a typical example of the bogey of terrorism being raised for political motivation and past problems being used to defame innocent people,".

Bhai Amrik Singh, chair of the Sikh Federation (UK), said: "Meetings are being arranged with ministers in the Foreign Office and we also have plans to organise the first World Sikh Lobby and take this case to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in late March if the three Sikhs have not been released."

Source: Panthic Weekly: Foreign & Commonwealth Office should do more to Help Free British Sikh





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