An organization promoting Sikh rights has submitted a petition to the White House, urging President Barack Obama to bring Sikh status issues to light during his trip to visit India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this month.
The petition garnered support from prominent Sikhs, including Akal Takht Jathedar, who made a point of urging Sikhs to add their support as the petition gained traction both online and off. Pakistani Sikh groups such as the Sikh Research and Study Center and the Young Sikh Panthers have thrown their support behind the campaign, initially launched by US-based Sikhs for Justice.
President Obama has been invited to be the chief guest at the event celebrating Republic Day, taking place on January 26, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The petition, entitled “Sikhs are not Hindus,” according to information from a Sikhs for Justice press release, urges the American President to bring up the issue of a separate status for Sikhs in India and has garnered more than 120,000 signatures. The number of signatures is important; it represents the threshold a petition must pass to receive presidential recognition and action. The petition requests that President Obama speak with the Indian Prime Minister about issues such as the Sikh Genocide, which occurred in 1984, and the right of Sikhs to enjoy self-determination.
The Sikh Genocide occurred over a three-day period in November of 1984 and resulted in the murder of 3,000 or more Sikhs during that time. Though there were some commissions, which found that various police and officials in the Congress Party prompted the attacks, those who were primarily responsible for orchestrating them have not been brought to justice. Obama is being urged to address this issue and others regarding Sikhs during his upcoming visit to India.