"if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen
the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu.

Virtual rally for Saibaba held in Canada Featured

Social justice activists came together on Saturday, April 11 to raise their voices for a physically challenged Delhi University Professor incarcerated in an Indian jail.

Wheelchair-bound G.N. Saibaba, who is ninety percent disabled below the waist, is serving a life sentence under inhuman conditions. His health continues to deteriorate because of 19 ailments and he remains vulnerable following the worldwide outbreak of coronavirus.

On Saturday, Indians Abroad for Pluralist India (IAPI) held a Zoom rally (because of a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people and strict guidelines for physical distancing), to press for the immediate release of Saibaba and all political prisoners under these difficult circumstances

Demand for the release of prisoners continues to grow across the globe due to the threat posed by the pandemic. Since Indian jails are overcrowded, a petition has been launched asking for the amnesty to Saibaba and others on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. However, the Indian government remains adamant and refuses to set him free.

Those who attended the rally included anti-racism educator Annie Ohana and peace activist and retired teacher Susan Ruzic. They both expressed their solidarity with Saibaba as strong advocates for human rights.

Ohana, who had organized teach-in for Saibaba at LA Matheson school in Surrey last month, is going to write a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on behalf of her students asking for his intervention into this matter. She warned that the current crisis is being used by big powers to silence the voices of resistance.

A Sikh activist, Barjinder Singh, also spoke on the occasion and said that the mistreatment of Saibaba has once again exposed the brutal face of the Indian state which has already been revealed by its poor human rights record. He pointed out that the Indian establishment continues to be repressive against minorities and political dissidents under the garb of secularism and democracy.

IAPI President Parshotam Dosanjh and members, Rakseh Kumar, Tejinder Sharma, Amrit Diwana and Gurpreet Singh also addressed the rally, besides Surrey-based independent activist PJ Lilley.

The participants held signs reading “Free Saibaba” and raised slogans.

The meeting was started with a moment of silence for more than 100,000 people, including doctors and health workers, who have died because of COVID 19.

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