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Dalit group in New York protests burning of Indian Constitution by SFJ adviser

Ashok Mahi, president of Shri Guru Ravi Dass Sabha of New York, said they were offended by SFJ activist Gurpatwant Singh Pannu’s move and had reached out to his organisation also to underscore their “strong feelings” associated with the Constitution and Dr BR Ambedkar, the architect of the Constitution.

nri Updated: Jan 27, 2020 11:38 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Members of Dalit Group Shri Guru Ravi Dass Sabha of New York held a protest against the SFJ activist Gurpatwant Singh Pannu.
Members of Dalit Group Shri Guru Ravi Dass Sabha of New York held a protest against the SFJ activist Gurpatwant Singh Pannu. (Sourced)

A prominent Dalit group in the United States on Sunday organised a protest against Gurpatwant Singh Pannu, a key activist of the Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) that was last year banned in India for supporting the cause of Khalistan. The Dalit group, Shri Guru Ravi Dass Sabha of New York, is angry that Pannu went ahead with his much-publicised plan to attempt to burn a copy of the Indian Constitution.

Ashok Mahi, president of Shri Guru Ravi Dass Sabha of New York, told local media that they were offended by Pannu’s move and had reached out to his organisation also to underscore their “strong feelings” associated with the Constitution and Dr BR Ambedkar, the architect of the Constitution.

But the Sikhs for Justice went ahead with its attempted burning of the Indian Constitution, which has hurt the feelings of the community, Mahi told website India America Today.

“The demand for Khalistan is going on for years but we never opposed or expressed our opinions on that, but now we don’t understand what they got by hurting our feelings,” Mahi told the news site.

Pannun has been playing a lead role build support for Referendum 2020, which he has been propagating for getting Punjab declared as a separate state of Khalistan.

SFJ, which was formed in 2007, has been active for the last five years. It has also been pushing for Referendum 2020 for the self determination of Sikhs as part of its separatist agenda.

It was declared as an “unlawful association” under India’s anti-terror law in July last year after intelligence reports that it was in “close touch with the militant outfits and activists and is supporting violent form of extremism and militancy in Punjab and elsewhere to carve out Khalistan out of territory of India.

The National Investigation Agency, Punjab Police and Uttrakhand Police have registered as many 12 cases against activists of SFJ in India. Thirty nine people have been arrested in these 12 cases.