Several Sikh organisations held Friday rallies in North America and Europe in protest against India’s attempt to get Khalistani terrorist Paramjit Singh “Pamma” extradited from Portugal.
Pamma is in the Beja jail near the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, where his parents, Amrik Singh and Rattan Kaur, were among the 200-odd protestors outside the Portuguese Parliament, seeking that he be sent him back to the United Kingdom, where he has been given indefinite asylum since 2000. A Portuguese court last month extended Pamma’s detention till February 15. The Portuguese minister for justice now has less than 10 days to decide whether to deny India’s request or to proceed with the judicial process of extradition.
In the memorandum to the Portuguese government, the Sikh delegation requested it to recognise the refugee status that Britain has given to Pamma and any request for his extradition. Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal adviser to US-based human rights group Sikhs For Justice that is fighting Pamma’s case in Portugal, said: “We reminded the Portuguese government that as a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TEFU), it was duty-bound to recognise Pamma’s refugee status and repatriate him to UK, where he has a valid refugee status. I am sure that they will take action in our favour.”
Besides Lisbon, rallies were held in London in the UK; New York and Washington in the US; and Toronto in Canada, where similar representations were submitted to the Portuguese embassies. The Federation of Sikh Organisations (FSO), Sikh Council and Kesari Lehar from the UK, Mar-Movement from Switzerland; and US-based SFJ were behind these rallies.
Punjab Police, whose team returned from Lisbon recently after applying for Pamma’s extradition, is confident the request would be accepted in spite of strong resistance from Sikh associations. A senior police official on that team said: “We have tabled enough evidence to prove that Pamma was wanted in terror and criminal cases in Punjab. Moreover, both countries are bound by an extradition treaty.”