Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Australia - Sikhs take execution protest to Canberra

Sikhs take execution protest to Canberra
March 28, 2012 12:42PM
HUNDREDS of Sikhs have gathered in front of Parliament House in Canberra to oppose the planned execution of Balwant Singh Rajoana.

Rajoana was sentenced to death for his involvement in a 1995 bombing in the Indian state of Punjab, which killed chief Minister Beant Singh and several others.
He is scheduled to be hanged at Patiala Central Jail on Saturday at 9am local time. It will be the first execution in India in nearly eight years.

Wearing orange turbans, hundreds of mostly men rallied outside Parliament House this morning after presenting Prime Minister Julia Gillard's office with a letter opposing the execution.

The protesters came from other capital cities including Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.

Ranjit Singh, president of the Brisbane Sikh Temple, said Mr Rajoana was revered among followers of Sikhism for his role in the murder of Beant Singh.

He said the chief minister had betrayed the Sikh community in the early 1990s by givin police sweeping powers.
"There was systematic torture and killing of so many thousands of male Sikhs," Ranjit Singh told AAP, adding that after the assassination the killings stopped for some time.

The protesters also took their cause to the nearby Indian High Commission.

Other rallies have been held around the world.