Considering he was left in jail on a bogus Interpol Red Notice for two months earlier this year, truck driver Paramjeet Singh’s obvious delight in submitting a “Letter of Appreciation” to Portuguese authorities this week was all the more impressive.
As the letter explained, the global sikh community that fought so hard to ensure Singh was not extradited to India – on charges clearly trumped-up from the outset – has been moved to observe “Thank You Portugal Day”.
The decision by Justice Minister Francisca Van Dunem last month (click here) was “landmark”, explained human rights lawyer for Sikhs for Justice Gurpatwant Pannun as it “did not only follow the letter and spirit of the law”, it reaffirmed Portugal’s “commitment to human rights and refugee protection”.
Addressing his letter to “Honorable Francisca Van Dunem”, Pannun said: “Your positive approach in denying India’s request to extradite Paramjeet Singh will go a long way in upholding the human rights of oppressed religious minorities around the globe”, while Singh himself said: “For the past 25 years my family has been continuously hounded by the Indian authorities due to our support for Sikhs’ right to self determination”.
Singh and his wife Pinky handed the letter over to Portugal’s consul general Carlos Sousa Amaro in Manchester on Monday, thanking him again for reuniting him with his family.
Meantime, Sikhs for Justice continues with its efforts, preparing “a lot more”, Pannun tells us, for the visit later this month to Brussels by India’s prime minister Narendra Modi who was denied a diplomatic visa to the United States in 2005 on the basis of “a comprehensive failure on the part of the state government to control the persistent violation of rights of life, liberty, equality and dignity of the people.”