Obama asked to raise issues of Sikhs during India visit

  • None, Washington
  • Updated: Dec 27, 2014 22:03 IST

An online White House petition asking US President Barack Obama to raise the issues of the Sikh community during his India visit next month has attracted more than 1 lakh signatures.

Launched on December 1 by New-York-based organistaion Sikhs for Justice, the online petition “urges Obama to question why the Indian Constitution labels Sikhs as Hindus, and raise the issues of Sikh genocide and their right to self-determination”. By Friday, the online petition on the White House website had attracted more than 1.14 lakh signatures. Any online petition with more than 1 lakh signatures in less than a month attracts a response usually from the White House.

Before Prime Minister Narendra Modi was to visit the US, Sikhs for Justice had launched a similar online campaign but after “standard fraud check”, the White House had removed more than 85,000 signatures from the petition that had asked Obama to cancel his planned meeting with Modi.

Sikhs in the US have also tapped the services of top political strategists of President Barack Obama and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton to launch a media campaign to raise awareness about the community in the country. Pollster Geoff Garin, chief strategic adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, completed a comprehensive study of Sikhs in America recently on behalf of National Sikh Campaign (NSC).

The study report will be released in Washington next month to pave the way for the NSC to begin larger advertisement and media collaborations with political consulting firm AKPD that David Axelrod, one of
President Obama’s main campaign strategists, had founded, a press release has stated here. The statement adds that the report discusses how different Americans perceive Sikhism today and also educates them about the religion through facts, images and stories.

“We now know what we need to be communicating and with whom we need to be communicating to build awareness for a brighter, violence-free future in America,” said Gurwin Singh Ahuja, co-founder and executive director of the NSC, adding: “This future hinges on our ability to tell our fellow citizens that Sikh values are American values,” he said.

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