Human rights organisation Amnesty International India on Tuesday urged the Punjab government to respect fasting Sikh hardline activist Surat Singh Khalsa’s freedom of expression and right to protest.
In a release, Amnesty termed the hunger strike by Khalsa, 82, in Ludhiana since January 16, 2015, in support of his demand for the release of political prisoners, a “peaceful form of protest”.
On July 21, Punjab Police detained Khalsa at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital in Ludhiana, where he has since been force-fed. His lawyer told Amnesty that he had not been allowed to meet Khalsa, who has been similarly detained on previous occasions and subsequently released.
“Amnesty International India urges the Punjab government to respect his (Khalsa’s ) freedom of expression, and ensure that he is treated humanely and with dignity at all times. He should have access to his family, lawyers and medical professionals. He must not be subjected to denial of such access, or any other punitive measures, on account of his hunger strike,” the release said.