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

BC Federation of Labour raises voice for Saibaba Featured

The largest labour group of British Columbia has raised its voice for the physically disabled Delhi University professor who has been incarcerated in the Indian jail since March this year.

On Dec. 10, International Human Rights Day, the BC Fed issued a statement calling upon Canadians to sign a petition seeking the release of wheelchair-bound Prof. G.N. Saibaba who was sentenced to life after being branded as a supporter of Maoist insurgents. 

The statement, which also encourages Canadians to stand up for Rohingya Muslims and the LGBTQ community, described Saibaba as an “indigenous rights activist” who has been raising awareness about the repression of tribal people, Dalits or the so-called untouchables and religious minorities in India.

BC Fed President Irene Lanzinger mentioned in the statement that there are many issues happening both locally and globally that the Federation would like to highlight. She acknowledged that the imprisonment of Saibaba has gained attention internationally. The statement provides a link to an online petition for Saibaba.

Saibaba was first arrested in 2014, but was released on bail following an outcry at the world level. In March he was given a life sentence and sent back to jail, where he continues to face inhuman conditions.

He has been instrumental in mobilizing political actions in Delhi against the eviction of tribal people from their traditional lands by the extraction industry with the backing of the Indian state. Due to police high handedness, many indigenous men and women have been forced to join Maoist insurgents who are active in the tribal belt of the country.  

The BC Fed is the first labour group in BC to come out in support of Saibaba.

Earlier, Federal New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh took to the social media to condemn the mistreatment of Saibaba by the Indian authorities.

In the meantime, Radical Desi held an emergency rally in Surrey for Saibaba on Saturday, Dec. 2, on the eve of International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Those who spoke on the occasion included Human Rights activist and a practicing lawyer Amandeep Singh. Singh had drafted a petition launched by Radical Desi asking for the intervention of the Canadian government into the matter. It has received more than 1,000 signatures. Dashmesh Darbar Gurdwara Spokesman Gian Singh Gill, who encouraged the temple congregation to sign the petition, also spoke on the occasion.

So far two Canadian MPs, Sukh Dhaliwal and Peter Julian have accepted the petition. Responding to Dhaliwal who has already submitted the petition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has only acknowledged that it is aware of the case and encourages India to protect human rights.  

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Last modified on Sunday, 10 December 2017 23:09
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