Sikhs continue to be violated by the Indian state by Harman Singh
According to Amnesty International, the Indian state has sought to stifle the basic human rights of the Sikhs by creating a culture of impunity where large-scale extra-judicial killings, torture, custodial rape, use of draconian laws by state agencies are natural occurrences that go unpunished.
While mass media reports claim that “normalcy” has returned to Punjab, impartial observers like Amnesty International assert that the basic human rights of the Sikhs continue to be violated by the Indian state.
From recent events, it appears that a demand for Khalistan persists in sections of the Sikh community. On April 14, 2004, Daljit Singh Bittu founded a new political party, the Shiromani Khalsa Dal, with “establishment of a free, sovereign, and separate Khalsa state” as its primary objective. Second, on April 29, 2004, the Dal Khalsa, a Sikh nationalist organization, began a week long “Khalsa Freedom March” from the Akal Takht in Amritsar with an objective of gaining support for the idea of Khalistan by peaceful means. A large number of gurdw?ras (the Sikh houses of worship), across Punjab and in the diaspora continue to celebrate the “martyrdom” anniveraries of Sikhs who died fighting in the Khalistan freedom struggle. While fear of human rights abuses keeps sloganing in Punjab to the minimum, the Sikh organizations in the diaspora (primarily Europe, North America and Australia) continue to lobby for the secession of Khalistan from the Indian union.
Creation of the Punjab Rights Forum
In June/July 2005 following the arrests of dozens of alleged Babbar Khalsa (International) militants and sympathizers in Punjab and Delhi, a number of Punjab based pro-Khalistan political parties and organizations joined forces with a dozen odd Human Rights, Religious and Kisan groups to form a loose coalition known as the Punjab Rights Forum.