At the Battle of Chamkaur Sahib, 40 Sikhs fought the army of the Emperor Aurangzeb said to number about 100,000 soldiers. Aurangzeb was a notorious fanatic who carried on a lifelong policy of forced conversions. The picture shows Sahibzadah Ajit Singh, aged 17 years, engaging the enemy. In this battle, Sahibzadah Fateh Singh aged 14 also laid down his life in battle. This battle ranks as the absolute apex of Sikh heroism.
Archive for the ‘Sikhs’ Category
Posted by jagoindia on May 9, 2010
Posted by jagoindia on February 24, 2010
Rs 10m ransom demand for Hindu man abducted in Pak
PTI, Feb 24, 2010
PESHAWAR: Days after beheading of two abducted Sikhs by Taliban in the restive tribal belt, a Pakistani Hindu man has been reportedly kidnapped from here and his abductors have demanded Rs 10 million for his release.
Robin Singh, a computer engineer, was kidnapped by unknown persons from a market on University Road last Friday, a local politician said on Tuesday. He was kidnapped while going to Nowshera for some work.
The kidnappers have demanded Rs 10 million from Singh’s relatives, said Sahib Singh, a member of the district assembly in Peshawar.
Robin Singh’s brother Rajan Singh has registered a case at West Cantonment police station, Sahib Singh said. However, officials at the police station said they were not aware of the registration of a First Information Report in this regard. They said Robin Singh might not have been abducted from their jurisdiction.
In a statement issued on Monday, President Asif Ali Zardari condemned the kidnapping of Robin Singh. The President directed authorities to take steps for the recovery of Singh.
The incident comes to light days after the recovery of the beheaded bodies of two abducted Sikhs — Mahal Singh and Jaspal Singh — in Pakistan’s tribal belt.
Another two to four Sikhs are still being held by the Taliban. The kidnapping and killing of the Sikhs has been condemned by leaders of Pakistan’s minority Sikh community.
Rajinder Singh, first Sikh to join British right wing party BNP: Only party he feels would take on Islamic fundamentalism
Posted by jagoindia on February 22, 2010
Rajinder Singh: ‘Why I’m proud to join the BNP’
Monday 15th February 2010
A 78-year-old Sikh, soon to be the first non-white member of the BNP, told today why he supports the far-right party.
Rajinder Singh (pictured) spoke a day after the BNP voted to change its constitution to allow black and Asian people to join.
The party made the decision at an extraordinary general meeting in Essex yesterday after it was told by Central London County Court to amend its constitution to comply with race relations laws or face legal action by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Yesterday, leader Nick Griffin said he expected to welcome Mr Singh soon as the BNP’s first non-white member.
Today, Mr Singh said he would gladly join the party, although being a member or not would not change his support of its policies.
“If they say ‘join’, I can’t chicken out now,” he said.
“I will support them to the hilt, for their policies.
“I’m just pleased for them, not pleased for myself, because it doesn’t change anything in me.
“It doesn’t change my attitude to them, my loyalty to them. That doesn’t change whether I am a member or not. I am still loyal to them.”
Speaking at his home in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, Mr Singh praised Mr Griffin for “taking on the whole storm of lefties” who, he said, wanted to encourage multiculturalism.
Mr Singh, who was born in West Punjab, India, said he left the country in 1967 after seeing years of violence caused by the partition of the country, which also saw the death of his father.
Today he said the BNP was the only party he felt would take on the spread of Islamic fundamentalism, and “save” Britain – preventing any repetition of what he had seen in India.
He said: “Britain is changing, it’s not the Britain I came to when I came in. The British people are worried, and the BNP is the expression of their worry.
“BNP are home-grown sons of this soil, not home-grown terrorists – there’s a big distinction.
“They want to save this country and, when they save it for themselves, it will be good for me too.”
He said he felt the BNP was currently “put in the corner” but added: “Opening up the doors to Asians will make them legal, make them diluted. It’s all positive, positive, positive.”
The retired schoolteacher, who provided a character reference for Mr Griffin at his trial in 2006, said he adhered to the idea of “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” and had adopted the “British way of life”.
“Some Sikhs say ‘You are not a Sikh’, but I have core Sikh values,” he added.
Responding to suggestions that he may be being used by the party, Mr Singh said: “I don’t say that he used me. My point of view is that I helped them out.
“From my side, I am being helpful and that’s a positive thing. From his side, there’s a little bit of joy that I am here and making the face of the party acceptable.”
But he said it would take time before more non-white members joined the party, especially after incidents such as its membership list being published, and the backlash some members received.
“The Labour Party pronounces judgment on the BNP as if they are wolves, and at the same time overlook the real wolves who say ‘We will Islamise Britain, we will enforce Sharia law’,” he said.
“I will not become Islamised, I would rather die.”
But when asked about some of the BNP’s other policies, Mr Singh maintained that its efforts to combat Muslim extremism were the most important.
He said: “Imagine a ship, huge inside, with chandeliers and dining tables.
“But there is a pinprick-sized hole in the hull. Nothing else matters.
“Nick Griffin is plugging that gap. And when the gap is plugged, we can get on with eating the meal. You think of the security of the ship first and then have champagne and a candlelit dinner.
“The British way of life is only ensured if that hole is plugged. But Tony Blair himself took an axe to it, by opening up the gates.”
He said he had seen the “potential of Islam” in India and did not want to see it repeated in Britain.
“Islam is global, it has zero loyalty to Britain.
“The BNP are sons of soil and they are standing up for their soil.
“I wish we had a counterpart of the BNP in India in 1946.”
But today the Unison union called for racism to be kicked out of politics.
General secretary Dave Prentis said: “Without the efforts of workers from abroad, the NHS would crumble, our schools couldn’t function and our elderly and vulnerable would be without the care they need.
“It is time that this massive contribution to our country was recognised.
“The BNP’s commitment not to be a ‘whites only’ party should not fool anyone.
“It is a ploy to make sure they can take part in the next election.
“They were forced to make a change to their constitution after legal action was taken against them. The party are already backtracking by promising not to become ‘multiracial’.
“However much they try to deny it, racism is at the heart of the BNP.
“And racism should have no part in 21st century Britain. It is time to kick racism out of politics.”
Posted by jagoindia on February 22, 2010
Taliban kill 2 Sikhs, send heads to Pak gurdwara
Omer Farooq Khan, TNN, Feb 22, 2010
PESHAWAR/NEW DELHI: The Taliban has reportedly beheaded two Sikhs in Pakistan’s lawless tribal region bordering Afghanistan and sent the heads to a gurdwara.
Jaspal Singh and Mahan Singh, both businessmen, were kidnapped from Tira Valley, in Khyber agency, and Darra Adamkheil, in Orakzai agency, on January 19 and held for ransom. Sources in the area told TOI on Sunday that they were killed because they were paying `protection’ money to a rival faction.
However, according to security sources in New Delhi, Jaspal and Mahan were reportedly told to convert to Islam or face death. When they refused, their heads were chopped off and sent to the Bhai Joga Singh gurdwara in Peshawar.
The Indian government has taken serious note of this and is in touch with the high commission in Islamabad. “This incident is shocking. We are looking into it,” a source said.
The miniscule Sikh community in NWFP and Afghanistan has been under pressure from the Taliban to embrace Islam, official sources said. The Taliban, during their reign in Afghanistan, had imposed jiziya — a religious tax — on all minorities, mostly Hindus and Sikhs. They were made to wear a piece of yellow cloth on their breast pocket to identify themselves.
Pakistani Taliban behead 2 Sikhs
Peshawar/Islamabad, February 21, 2010
Two Sikhs who were kidnapped over a month back have been beheaded by the Pakistani Taliban in the country’s restive tribal belt in a brutal act by the militants.
Some more members of the minority community are still in the custody of the rebels.
The body of Jaspal Singh was found in the Khyber tribal region, located a short distance from the provincial capital of Peshawar, while the body of Mahal Singh was found in the Aurakzai Agency, sources said on Sunday night
There was confusion about the total number of Sikhs who were kidnapped for ransom from the Bara area of Khyber Agency by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. A source said four Sikhs were abducted while another report said the total number of kidnapped persons was six.
The Sikhs were kidnapped 34 days ago and the Taliban had demanded Rs 30 million as ransom for their release. Two of the kidnapped Sikhs were beheaded after the expiry of the deadline for the payment of the ransom, sources said.
Gurvinder Singh and Gurjit Singh are still in the custody of the militants, sources said.
The kidnapping occurred in an area where there the government has virtually no control and the militants are in a dominant position, sources said.
A sizeable number of Sikhs lived in the tribal belt, particularly Aurakzai Agency, till the Taliban imposed ‘jiziya’ or religious tax on them last year. Most members of the community then fled to cities across Pakistan.
Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (DSGPC) condemned the incident and said that Pakistan government should take strong action against Taliban.
Posted by jagoindia on June 6, 2009
Jun 05, 2009 , Srinagar:
A predominantly Sikh neighbourhood on the outskirts of the city was targeted by a mob as fresh protests and a strike triggered by the alleged rape and murder of two women in Shopian continued to cripple life in large parts of the Valley for the fourth consecutive day.
A group of people ransacked 20 houses at Rangreth, breaking window panes and damaging other property on Wednesday evening. Paramjit Kaur, whose house was among those targeted, said: “It happened around 7.45 pm on Wednesday when a group of people first started hurling stones. They broke our gate and destroyed everything that came their way. I along with my children hid in the attic to save ourselves from the frenzied mob.”
“This had never happened in the past 20 years,” said Jaspal Singh, an engineer whose house, too, was ransacked. A few cars were also damaged by the mob.
Locals said trouble began when a group of protesters enforcing the strike stopped a car being driven by a Sikh. They damaged the car following which there was a scuffle, in which one of the protesters was injured. This was followed by the violence at Rangreth.
The authorities reached the area to control the situation. “We held a meeting with the Muslim and Sikh residents and later a peace march was taken out by both of the communities,” said Budgam Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Rafi. On Thursday, hundreds of Muslim women and men from nearby areas thronged Rangreth and assured the Sikhs of their safety.
Meanwhile, fresh clashes between protesters and the police broke out in Srinagar and Shopian districts after news spread about the death of a protester. Nisar Ahmad, 25, who was injured during protests on Monday, died at a hospital on Thursday morning. At least 42 people were injured in the fresh clashes.
Posted by jagoindia on May 11, 2009
11 May, 2009, Asian Age, Correspondent, CHANDIGARH
May 10: Scores of Sikh and Hindu families who have been rendered homeless by the Taliban in Pakistan’s Swat territory want Indian visas to seek shelter with relatives living in Amritsar.
Essentially tradesmen, Sikh and Hindu families in Amritsar, Pakistan’s frontier provinces and further westwards in Afghanistan, have sustained mutual links despite being divided by political boundaries. The age-old trading in dry and fresh fruits, woollens and green tea has also helped keep these relations strong.
“We moved here from Peshawar during the tabaadla (exchange) of 1956. But many of our people stayed back in Pakistan and they have now landed in great trouble,” said Mr Anant Ram, a Sehajdhari Sikh who works at the local gurdwara at the Peshauri Mohalla in Amritsar.
The old Peshawar families of Amritsar say they are appalled at the persecution of their brethren, many of them blood relatives, in Pakistan. “I have many relatives who are suffering over there. The Pakistan government is doing nothing to help and they have been calling every day saying they fear even more persecution. My people have lost everything but the clothes they are wearing. There is simply no sense of security even though they have moved out of Swat,” said Mahant Lal Pishauri.
“These people are desperate to move out of Pakistan. Their homes were razed to the ground by Taliban and they can expect nothing from the government there. They are ready to come to Amritsar but say Indian visas are not easy to come by under the present circumstances,” said Mr Anant Ram who, like the others, is looking forward to host his Swat relatives.
Posted by jagoindia on May 1, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009, Islamabad, PTI:
The militants acted after a deadline set by them for payment of ‘jiziya’ by the Sikhs expired yesterday. The Sikhs held a meeting at Merozai yesterday to discuss the possibility of leaving the area…
Taliban militants have demolished 11 homes of members of the minority Sikh community in Pakistan’s troubled Aurakzai tribal region after they failed to pay ‘jiziya’ or a tax levied on non-Muslims.
The houses were destroyed on the orders of Taliban commander Hakeemullah Mehsud, the head of the militants in Aurakzai Agency and a deputy of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Baitullah Mehsud.
The militants acted after a deadline set by them for payment of ‘jiziya’ by the Sikhs expired yesterday. The Sikhs held a meeting at Merozai yesterday to discuss the possibility of leaving the area but were unable to reach a decision, media reports said.
Though the Sikhs have been living in Aurakzai Agency for centuries, the Taliban asked them earlier this month to pay Rs 50 million a year as jiziya. The militants claimed this was being done as Shariah or Islamic law had been enforced in the area and all non-Muslims had to pay “protection money”.
There are about 35 Sikh families living in Ferozkhel near Merozai in Aurakzai Agency. The Taliban occupied two shops and three homes of Sikhs in Ferozkhel on Tuesday to pressure the community into paying jiziya.
Several tribal families belonging to a religious sect have also migrated from Aurakzai Agency to nearby Kohat and Hangu districts of North West Frontier Province due to fear of attacks by the Taliban.
Though the Sikhs were initially provided protection in keeping with Pashtun traditions by the Manikhel tribe, the tribesmen are fearful of taking on the Taliban.
In October last year, over 100 people were killed in a suicide attack on a tribal jirga in Aurakzai Agency that had gathered to discuss ways to evict the Taliban from the area.
Posted by jagoindia on April 16, 2009
Sikhs in Pakistan pay Rs.20 mn to Taliban
Thu, Apr 16
Islamabad, April 16 (IANS) Pakistan’s Sikh community has been forced to pay Rs.20 million as ‘jizia’ (tax) to the Taliban so as to return to their homes and resume business, a newspaper said Thursday.
The minority Sikh community Wednesday met the Taliban demand in return for ‘protection’ in Orakzai Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, the Daily Times reported.
The Taliban then released Sikh leader Sardar Saiwang Singh and vacated the community’s houses. The militia announced that the Sikhs were now free to live anywhere in the area.
‘They also announced protection for the Sikh community, saying no one would harm them after they paid jizia. Sikhs who had left the agency would now return to their houses and resume business,’ an official said.
Posted by jagoindia on November 14, 2008
Chandigarh, Nov.12 : The Punjabi Durbar programme of Pakistan radio seems to have run out of ideas and is harking back at blaming Hindus in India for hurting Sikhs and Muslims.
The objectives of the programmes is to create divisions in the society in Punjab and cause rift in Punjabi society by attacking the communal harmony and brotherhood existing here for time immemorial.
The allegations contained in the Pakistan Radio’s broadcasts have angered local leaders.
Vijay Singh, President of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in Punjab, said: “The Punjabi Durbar programme is trying to create conflicts between Hindus and Sikhs by alleging that they are not living in harmony.”
He said: “India is the only nation in the world where Hindus are in majority but minorities have occupied important positions in the country. They have risen to occupy most dignified positions like that of the President, Prime Minister, Defence Minister and Chief Minister.”
“Hindus are very tolerant and they believe in providing equal opportunity to all, irrespective of caste or creed,” he added.
In fact, Hindus and Sikhs in Punjab always participate in each other’s festive occasions like Baisakhi, Guru Purab, Diwali, Holi with full enthusiasm. Hindus visit Gurudwaras to pay their obeisance to the holy Guru Granth Sahib just like their Sikh brethrens.
One has to visit the Golden Temple any day to convince oneself how the Hindus revere the Granth Sahib and the Golden Temple. Similarly, the Sikhs frequent the Hindu temples in Amritsar and elsewhere in Punjab.
Now that many pilgrims from Pakistan are visiting India, Pakistan Radio must ask them as to what is the reality.
Radio Pakistan must remember that people in Punjab lead their lives as per Punjabi culture, no matter if one belongs to a Hindu or Sikh family here.
Posted by jagoindia on November 12, 2008
Also read: Ancient Hindu history of Afghanistan
Afghanistan’s hated Sikhs yearn for India
Wednesday, November 22, 2006 21:12 IST
Forced to wear yellow patches in the days of the Taliban, the homesick Sikhs of Afghanistan still hide in back alleys and yearn for India.
In the Taliban’s birthplace, the southern city of Kandahar, their children cannot go to school and locals stone or spit on the men in the streets, who mostly try to hide in the narrow alleys of the mud-brick older quarter of the city.
“We don’t want to stay in Afghanistan,” says 40-year-old Balwant Singh. “The locals tell us “’you are not from Afghanistan, go back to India.” Sometimes, they throw stones at us, the children. We feel we have to hide. I am even afraid to go to parts of the city.”
Their temple, or gurdwara, in Kandahar is a simple traditional yellow pole capped by the orange Nishan Sahib flag. It sits outside a stark prayer room in an obscure courtyard reachable only after knocking on two sets of unmarked heavy timber doors down a cramped mud-brick tunnel-way.
The pole does not rise above roof level, unlike the splendid gurdwaras across India where they tower above the temples and the countryside, visible for kilometres.
There are about 10 Sikh families in Kandahar — fewer than 50 people. Another 22 lonely men, all their families back in India, live as traders in the neighbouring province of Uruzgan, another Taliban stronghold. Similar numbers are scattered across Afghanistan
Most Sikhs, along with the country’s handful of Hindus, came with the British from the Indian empire in the 19th century. But after the mujahideen civil war and the 1994 rise of the Taliban, most had fled by 1998. In 2001, the Taliban ordered Sikhs, Hindus and other religious minorities to wear yellow patches, ostensibly so they would not be arrested by the religious police for breaking Taliban laws on the length of beards and other issues.
The Sikhs who have returned since, like those of Kandahar and Uruzgan, are mainly small-time traders who complain of the pittance they make here, but say it is more than India offers. “We don’t want to stay in Afghanistan. But we have no choice,” says Santok Singh. Almost all have no papers or visas and are at the mercy of authorities in a country where corruption is rife.
Most are general traders or pharmacists. Forced to sell their goods cheaper than their Afghan competition to win business, they are too ashamed to tell their families what life is really like. Hem Singh says, “We don’t tell our families how bad our life here really is.”