London: Sikhs across the UK are being mobilised to donate blood over this week to express their support for a 82-year-old activist’s hunger-strike in India to protest alleged mistreatment of Sikh political prisoners. An internet campaign titled ‘UK Blood Donation Week’ has been launched as a symbolic support for Surat Singh Khalsa, who has been sitting on a fast-unto-death seeking the release of Sikh political prisoners who have already completed their jail-terms.
The #SikhBlood drive on social media is encouraging British Sikhs to post their photographs after donating blood. “This is regarded as a small sacrifice compared with Bapu Surat Singh’s hunger strike to highlight issues in India. I would urge all Sikhs to donate blood and play their part in this campaign,” said one Sikh who donated blood in the city of Bristol.
“We have a strong community of Sikhs in Bristol, so it’s important they all get involved,” he told ‘Bristol Post’ newspaper. Chaz Singh, the spokesperson for the campaign in south-west England added: “I would urge that Sikhs carry out this small task in order to reflect the Sikh values of giving.
“Sikhs across the UK have been brought together around the Sikh Lives Matter campaign.” Last week, 20 Sikh protesters were arrested and at least one police officer was injured as a protest organised by the group turned violent outside the Indian High Commission in central London. Hundreds of demonstrators had gathered for a sit in protest in solidarity with Sikhs in Punjab but the initially peaceful demonstration turned violent forcing police to cordon off the area known as Aldwych around the Indian mission.
A number of Sikh groups have also announced plans to organise a protest outside Wembley Stadium in London on November 13 during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK.