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Indians Abroad for Pluralist India (IAPI), in partnership with Radical Desi and People’s Voice, released a calendar dedicated to 100 years of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, on Sunday, December 16 in Delta, BC.

Scores of people were killed on April 13, 1919, when troops opened fire in British India on peaceful demonstrators who had assembled at Jallianwala Public Park in Amritsar to protest against repressive laws. The killings galvanized the freedom movement that culminated into official independence in 1947.

Despite heavy rain and rough weather, BC Minister for Labour Harry Bains, MLA Rachna, Singh and prominent story writer Harpreet Sekha were among those who attended the event.

The 2019 calendar, unveiled by former BC Federation of Labour president Irene Lanzinger, People’s Voice Editor Kimball Cariou and IAPI members Parshotam Dosanjh, Navtej Johal and Rakesh Kumar, isn’t just a tribute to the victims of Jallianwala Bagh massacre, but an attempt to connect the past with the present. It marks many important days that witnessed brutal state repression in post- British India. The calendar takes into account the army invasion of the Golden Temple complex, the holiest shrine of the Sikhs in 1984. Incidentally, the place is located next to Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar. Likewise, it also gives information about the repression of landless tillers in Naxalbari that sparked communist revolution all across India during the late 1960s, and ongoing state brutality on people of Kashmir and Manipur fighting for the right to self-determination.

The calendar also bears important dates when marginalized sections, such as Adivasis (indigenous peoples) and Dalits or so-called Untouchables were subjected to state violence. Running into 12 pages, the calendar goes on to cover similar episodes happening in other parts of the world, such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Palestine and even Canada where indigenous peoples continue to fight against neo-colonialism.

Earlier, Lanzinger was presented with Radical Desi’s medal of courage for raising her voice for disabled Delhi University Professor G.N. Saibaba who is being incarcerated by the Indian state for standing up for the poor and marginalized. Apart from Saibaba, some other social justice activists who continue to fight against repression in different parts of the world or have laid down their lives have been recognized in the calendar.

Those who spoke on the occasion included Minister Bains, MLA Rachna Singh, Irene Lanzinger, Kimball Cariou, Sikh activist Barjinder Singh and Muslim activist Sayed Wajaht, and independent human rights activist Shabnam Joshi. The IAPI members Rakesh Kumar and Gurpreet Singh also spoke at the event. The speakers unanimously condemned the repression that still goes on in India and anywhere in the world and emphasized continuing struggle for a just society.

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