The Sikhs For Justice’s legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun released a video in which he reaffirmed his organization’s support for the Kashmiris’ self-determination struggle and called on all Sikhs in the Indian Army to refuse any orders they may be given to kill innocent Muslims in the same coldblooded way as their own people were killed during India’s 1984 “Operation Blue Star”.
The Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) are standing up for the Kashmiris after India unilaterally rescinded the occupied majority-Muslim region’s relative “autonomy” and imposed a draconian curfew enforced by a heightened military presence. Their legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun released a video reaffirming his organization’s support for this oppressed minority’s self-determination struggle and called on all Sikhs in the Indian Army to refuse any orders they may be given to kill innocent Muslims in the same coldblooded way as their own people were killed during India’s 1984 “Operation Blue Star“. Earlier this year, Lt. Gen. Kanwal Jeet Singh Dhillon declared that “anyone who has picked up a gun in Kashmir will be eliminated unless they surrender”, which in Indian political parlance insinuates that more civilians might be slaughtered in extrajudicial executions on the supposed pretext that they were engaged in so-called “encounters” with the armed forces.
This euphemism refers to India’s notorious practice of waging campaigns of terror against ethnic, religious, and political minorities on the basis that it was the victims who attacked the state first, even though paramilitary, police, and military forces routinely kill unarmed civilians and then plant evidence purporting to prove that this was allegedly done in “self-defense”. The region of Punjab that the SFJ’s Referendum 2020 campaign is peacefully seeking independence for suffered from these so-called “encounters” for decades already, which is why its people sympathize with their fellow Kashmiri victims. Both areas deserve the right to democratically decide their own political futures in accordance with the UN Charter after the countless abuses committed by the Indian government against them over the years severed the trust between society and the state, but thus far, only the Kashmiris have received UN support for a plebiscite shortly after their conflict first began.
India has hitherto refused to abide by international law in holding the mandated vote on the region’s political future, and its unilateral revocation of its relative “autonomy” leaves no doubt to the fact that its military is now officially occupying the disputed region. It also dismantles the narrative that it’s possible to obtain and maintain “autonomy” in India since the central government will eventually abrogate whatever agreements it previously reached with whichever region it may be in order to strengthen its top-down control of minority-majority areas. The anti-democratic model being forced on Kashmir right now might eventually be exported elsewhere if India’s use of the so-called “Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act” (UAPA, and its recently proposed amendments to empower the government to label anyone a “terrorist” without due process) against the Sikh community is a prelude to the imposition of the infamous “Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act” in part or all of Punjab.
India will do all that it can to prevent the planned plebiscite from taking place next year because it fears that it would prove to the rest of the world that the majority of people there want to be part of the independent country of Khalistan, which could in turn internationalize this separatist cause if the Western-based Sikh diaspora communities successfully pressure their new influential homelands to support this issue at the UN. As such, it can be expected that India might ramp up its brutality against the Sikhs just like it’s currently doing against the Kashmiris, meaning that they too might find themselves under curfew and a heightened military occupation the closer that Punjab gets to next year’s referendum. It’s because of their shared struggle for self-determination that the SFJ urge their supporters to stand together with the Kashmiris during this dark time, knowing that their partners will do the same for them if something similar happens in the worst-case scenario.
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