“A 12 second video has emerged on the internet on the eve of the India-Pakistan semi final in the Cricket World Cup. The video shows three police officers (two of whom are turbaned) escorting a demonstrator towards a Police vehicle and presumably away from the stadium where he had been with fellow pharmacists making their voices heard about regularisation of the industry. He is being taken away quite tamely by Indian Police standards albeit in a tense atmosphere as can be expected in a high security zone and shows no signs of struggle or revocation. Which makes the actions of one police officer all the more bizarre: he grabs the turban from the back of the demonstrators head and abruptly removes it. The Sikh demonstrator walks on with the police officer towards the vehicle. The video requires a double-take. It is no secret that both Indian and Pakistani Police forces are known not for standing on ceremony. Notorious as they are, a video like this shocks our comfortable World-view in the west. We know that fake Police encounters have occured over the last 30 years; we know high profile human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra went missing; we know that Sikhs and countless other Indians and Pakistanis have faced appalling treatment at the hands of the authorities. But in just 12 seconds of footage, you see it happening before your very eyes in a way that words just can’t do justice. And this happening, shocking as it is, is just the tip of the iceberg. India face Pakistan in a cricket World Cup semi final and countless Punjabis and Sikhs will be supporting one nation or the other for contrasting reasons. I won’t support either. My beloved Amritsar remains in India, Nanakana Sahib in Pakistan;
Phagwara lies in the East, whilst Lahore sits in the West.
My nation has been ripped apart, whilst rivers of blood take the place of waters that soared through the once lush green fields. This was not a turban removed from the head of a Sikh protester.
It was my turban that was removed too.
And I will protest.
Write, publish and review.” -Naujawani Sardar
Here is the clip:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eVRHf1Uksw
Sikhs in all regions of the world have had a history of being targets of racial and ethnic discrimination of all levels. From discrimination prevalent in the United States of being targeted as Muslims after the 9/11 attacks to India and Pakistan where the pain of the 1984 massacre of Sikhs by the Indian Government is still prevalent as Sikhs in Punjab are kept in an impoverished state of existence. Why aren’t any of the Indian Student Organizations saying anything about this? Isn’t it time we stand up and do something?