INDIA’S MINORITY: Hunger strike lasting 277 days later and still no media coverage

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Bapu Surat Singh, 82 years old, who is a human rights activist is on a 277-day hunger strike in Punjab. Why? This is because Surat Singh is protesting for the release of Sikh and other minority prisoners who have served their sentences but still not been released.

Bapu Surat Singh on his hunger strike after nine months
Bapu Surat Singh on his hunger strike after nine months

An issue such as this doesn’t just appear out of the blue, there would have to be a triggering point to push a person to the point of having to starve themselves to try to be heard. What would be this big bang that set of these chain of events? OPERATION BLUE STAR.

Thirty years ago, in June 1984, Operation Blue Star changed the course of how Sikh’s would be affected in today’s India. Thus embedding the violence of this historic event into the heart of the Sikh religion.

Operation Blue Star was a massacre orchestrated by the Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. She ordered the army to storm, with tanks, the holiest shrine of the Sikhs, the Sri Harmandir Sahib complex (also known as the “Golden Temple” in the west) located in Amritsar, Punjab on one of the holiest days in Sikh calendar, knowing the site would contain more people than usual. Eyewitnesses stated that people were allowed in but no one was allowed out, indicating an intention to commit mass murder, an intention that was subsequently achieved with thousands killed, although the government figures put the number of deaths in the hundreds, which are questionable when the sheer scale of the operation is considered. To comprehend the nature of this attack, an example would be if the Roman Catholics were a minority and the Italian army stormed the Vatican on the day of Easter on the orders of the Prime Minister.

The government made it out to be the fault of the Sikhs, citing they did so to flush out alleged “separatists” and “terrorists” from the complex, notably Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who empowered the Punjabi population, actively spoke out against government oppression and the lack of rights in the state of Punjab. The complex is open 24 hours a day but not one peaceful attempt was made to enter and arrest the so-called militants. Even to this day, no one has been put on trial for this heinous crime against a minority population. This operation led to Indira Gandhi being assassinated, which subsequently led to the 1984 Sikh Genocide in Delhi and numerous other anti-sikh government operations.

Surat Singh’s starvation protest has been done in a passive manner, however the Indian police have handled this situation in a completely different way. The effects of his hunger strike have led to him being arrested and repeatedly force-fed. How can the police arrest someone when technically they haven’t committed any crime? Would that not be classed as an injustice or do they have the authority to do this because Sikh people are a minority in India. Surat Singh’s family have also been arrested, harassed and accused of crimes by the police.

That leads me to question if the person were Muslim would that change the way we viewed this story?

What I’m struggling to comprehend is how there has been very minimal or little media coverage on this topic from news organisations around the world, considering Mr. Singh’s hunger strike started on the 16th January 2015. The only press seems to be negative towards this movement and from newspapers such as Hindustan Times and Dailymail India who has labeled Sikhs as “hardliners” and described them as “terrorists” which is coincidental if you really think about it. To emphasise this point, inserted below is a video of the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, responding when asked if he had heard of Surat Singh and his hunger strike. The Mayor replies “I will Google it,” this was filmed on July 16th, why hadn’t he heard of an issue of this caliber? Especially considering the established ties through the trade routes between the UK and India, you would think the Mayor of London would know issues such as this, which could affect morale.

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8 thoughts on “INDIA’S MINORITY: Hunger strike lasting 277 days later and still no media coverage

    jaspal singh said:
    October 20, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    Due to humanity. Please do needful

    Gurmeet Singh Sodhi said:
    October 24, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    I believe that media in India is a FARCE….it’s a prostitute that only dances to the tunes of politicians who have power to bully and manipulate.
    Also, probably somewhere we may not be addressing the actual issues of Sikh prisoners and faulty policies around the globe more appropriately through gathering mass suppprt, rather resorting on Facebook….which at times look to me as an unserious media, a fad….just to gather more and more ‘likes’ and that’s it….

      reecechaplin responded:
      October 24, 2015 at 2:58 pm

      It would seem that India media is corrupt and the power is with the politicians and government.However I think for people to truly be able to spread their message, social media becomes a blessing.

        raina said:
        October 28, 2015 at 5:41 pm

        They can talk to Pakistan for getting back gita but not the soldiers who fought for their country of which they are loo
        ting the country

    Pawan dhillon said:
    October 28, 2015 at 3:23 am

    Wahe guru mehar kri

    raina said:
    October 28, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    media only responses to news that fetch them making money, they can only advertise dirt and filth to glamour their channels and news. Shame on so called media the fourth and deadliest pillar of Indian democracy.

    vinoda said:
    October 28, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    shame on india media

    Sat Pal Arora said:
    October 29, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    Wahe Guru Kirpa Kari

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