South Asians came together to pay tributes to those who laid down their lives during a peaceful protest against the British occupation of India in 1919.
Vancouver, April 14: South Asians came together to pay tributes to those who laid down their lives during a peaceful protest against the British occupation of India in 1919, at the annual commemorative event held in Surrey in Canada.
Close to 1,000 people had died when the British troops opened fire on the demonstrators, who had gathered to oppose repressive laws at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar 103 years ago.
The ugly episode was recognised on its centenary by the BC government in 2019 following sustained campaign by the organisers of the vigil which has been attended in the past by the current Chief Minister of Punjab, Bhagwant Mann.
Nevertheless, the participants condemned Mann and other Indian politicians for not only failing to protect human rights of the people in post-British India, but also denounced those indulging in blatant abuse of the civil rights.
The event here was started with a moment of silence in memory of Ajit Singh Bains, a retired judge-turned human rights defender who passed away this year leaving behind a rich legacy of struggle for social justice.
The fliers drafted by a Gandhian activist Vipin Kumar Tripathi, a strong advocate for secularism and diversity, were distributed on the occasion.
Among those who spoke on the occasion included prominent Punjabi poet Amrit Diwana, an elderly Sikh activist Kesar Singh Baghi, well-known broadcaster Gurvinder Dhaliwal, anti-racism activists Imtiaz Popat and Annie Ohana, besides retired trade unionist Larry Johnston. Kamaljit Singh Thind and Gurpreet Singh from Mehak Punjab Di TV and Radical Desi, respectively, also spoke.