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

Baljinder Kaur Narang honoured by Surrey-Delta Gurdwara Featured

 

On the 25th anniversary of the martyrdom day of Jaswant Singh Khalra, Surrey-Delta Gurdwara officials honoured a former Burnaby School Trustee for being instrumental behind a proclamation recognizing the circumstances that led to his murder.  

A prominent human rights activist, Khalra was investigating the extrajudicial killings of Sikh political activists in Punjab when police kidnapped him on September 6, 1995. He was murdered in cold blood.  

That same year, Khalra visited Canada to educate Indian diaspora and Canadian politicians about the human rights abuse in Punjab during the Sikh insurgency for the right to self-determination. 

In response to this situation, the Indian state gave sweeping powers to police to suppress the militancy, which led to thousands of Sikhs being abducted and killed.  

Khalra had detected more than 2,500 such cases, and was continuing to work to find more when he was picked up from outside his home in Amritsar following his return to India.  

Although he was warned against going back and advised to stay in Canada and seek asylum, he did not allow himself to do that.  

Khalra preferred to go back to his country and face possible death rather than making Canada home. 

As a tribute to him, the City of Burnaby proclaimed September 6, 2020, as Jaswant Singh Khalra Day.   

On August 24, Coun. Sav Dhaliwal read out the historic proclamation recognizing how Khalra lost his life fighting for the dignity and human rights of Sikhs.  

Narang was the driving force behind the proclamation. Being a progressive Sikh, she is very vocal on social justice. In the past, she has also stood up for the rights of the LGBTQ community in Burnaby.  

On Sunday, she was honoured at the Surrey-Delta Gurdwara during a commemorative event held for Khalra. Themple President Hardeep Singh Nijjar presented her with a trophy amidst Sikh slogans of victory from the congregation. 

Narang, who briefly spoke on the occasion, presented the gurdwara with a copy of the proclamation.  

Burnaby was the first municipality in Greater Vancouver to proclaim Jaswant Singh Khalra Day, followed by New Westminster, Victoria and Surrey.  

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