Hatfield anti-death penalty campaigner speaks in Brussels

PUBLISHED: 09:11 02 July 2013 | UPDATED: 09:38 02 July 2013

Jas Singh and Richard Howitt MEP

Jas Singh and Richard Howitt MEP

Archant

A HATFIELD campaigner has been at the heart of the European Union to lobby against the death penalty and discrimination in India.

Jas Singh, of Poppy Walk, went to the European Parliament in Brussels as a Sikh Federation delegate to campaign for human rights.

He was welcomed by East of England MEP Richard Howitt as he called for the European Union to put pressure on India to abolish the death penalty.

The father-of-two told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “It is our right to speak up for our brothers and sisters who cannot.

“They are oppressed and their voices are squashed.”

The trip to Brussels, which took place last Tuesday, was the first conference organised in the European Union by the Sikh Federation.

Mr Singh first got involved with the Federation when campaigning for rights in the UK, after Sikhs were asked to remove their turbans at airports.

The 35-year-old said: “Many Sikhs died wearing their turbans in the First and Second World Wars.

“We are bringing these things to light.”

He believes Sikhs have felt a backlash since the 9/11 terror attacks in New York and 7/7 in London.

But wants to show how much Sikhs contribute to the country.

Labour’s Richard Howitt MEP who is also a spokesperson for the Human Rights Committee in the European Parliament said: “About one-third of a million Sikhs live in Britain and I am fully behind Jas and the Hertfordshire Sikh community in raising concern about alleged false arrests, convictions and now even the death penalty against followers of their religion in India.

“After an eight year moratorium on executions, seven have been ordered in the last seven months and it is absolutely proper for Europe to say to a major trading partner and a great country like India that we want them to stop.”

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