NEW YORK - While welcoming the US President’s reminder to India about the importance of religious freedom, Sikh For Justice (SFJ), which recently campaigned asking Obama to raise the issue of Article 25 (b), commended his stance on chances of India being splintering on religious lines, if they continue to deny religious freedom to the minorities.
Obama’s advise to India to protect religious minorities comes at a time when controversy regarding Article 25(b) of the constitution which labels Sikhs as Hindus is already reignited and RSS-BJP run government is being criticized for launching “Home Coming” to forcibly convert Muslims and Christians to Hindus.
Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal advisor to SFJ stated that “we respect the invaluable lesson on religious freedom to India by President Obama and commend him for being the voice of American Sikhs who had urged him through online petition to raise the issue of labeling of Sikhs as Hindus under Article 25(b)”.
“Paying heed to President Obama’s hard hitting lesson on religious freedom, India must ensure that Sikhs of Punjab are granted the opportunity to exercise right to self determination through referendum”. “As a distinct religious minority, exercising the right to self determination is vital for Sikhs to freely profess, practice and propagate their religion” added Pannun.
An online petition filed by SFJ urging Obama to question PM Modi 'Why Indian constitution labels 'Sikhs' as Hindus?' and raise the issues of 'Sikh Genocide' and 'Sikhs' Right to Self-determination", has gained more than 125,000 signatures and is awaiting White House response.