Sacramento Oct 28,2011-A Delegation of North American Punjabi Association (NAPA) Under the leadership of Its Chairman Mr Dalwinder Singh Dhoot had a hour long meeting with the Governor of California Mr Jerry Brown at his State Capitol office in Sacramento to discus the long pending issues and concerns of Punjabi Community living in different parts of California.Senior leaders of the Association including Association President Satnam Singh Chahal,Inder Dosanjh,Charanjit Singh Batth, Kulwant Singh Nijjer,Santokh Singh Judge,Inderjit Singh Birring,Sukhi Chahal,Sandeep Singh Chahal and Rama Singh of Fremont accompanied the Delegation.Detailed memorandum was presented to the Governor Jerry Brown. Important topics which were discussed with Governor like the hate crimes, shooting of two elderly Sikh men Surinder Singh and Gurmej Atwal in Elk Grove, California on Mar 6, 2011 and murder of two Kalsi brothers Ravinder and Paramjit Kalsi in Richmond, California on Dec. 27, 2007. Surjit Singh Samra( 69) left for his daily walk Sunday morning, but never returned to the family’s home in Ceres, which is just outside Modesto city. His family is convinced he was a victim of an anti-Sikh attack. He had a turban on,his body and was identified by his family members at the canal. A Gasoline bomb was thrown through the window of a Sikh family’s home in San Mateo hitting a 3-year-old on the head, but not exploding. Amarjit Singh Dadwal, a Sikh, described being shouted at and called an “Iraqi” by four or five white teens and adults in a van in Stockton . The day after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks another Sikh Dale Singh, Manager of a fast-food restaurant in Napa, found his car’s finish and windows scratched and scraped, Sikh temple in West Sacramento was vandalized. But uptill now there is no arrest in these attacks on members of Sikh Community. Therefore Sikh Community in California is living under the shadow of fear due to these kinds of attacks on Sikh Community and failure of Law enforcement agencies to arrest the culprits. NAPA leaders urge to Governor to issue orders to the law enforcement agencies to arrest the persons as soon as possible who are responsible for these murders and attacks.
Governor was also informed about a recent event at a cultural sporting event in Lodi City of California this month highlights the lack of understanding and patience that the current system has for minorities. A recent sporting event was held to celebrate the culture of Punjab at the Sikh temple in Lodi; the event was unfortunately shut down by the Sherriff’s Department due to lack of discussion and understanding of the situation by law enforcement. The Sherriff’s Department took no time to talk to the event organizers and the religious members present; rather took it upon themselves to shut down the event and subsequently cause financial harm to the Punjabi Sikh community. Thus, there needs to be an open dialogue between the community members and law enforcement. This event was a disgrace to the community and did not build trust in local law enforcement or government. All these unfortunate incidents are deplorable and are against the human rights and civil liberties guaranteed by the American Constitution and the root cause of these occurrences is a lack of public awareness and knowledge about practices and tenets of various religions. While the unfortunate events of the 9/11 tragedy brought great suffering for the American people, disturbed the normal life and changed direction of world history, the members of the Sikh community were negatively affected. A number of Sikhs became the victims of mistaken identity and lost their lives and their properties were damaged by some antisocial elements. The Sikh students in the colleges and school became the victims of hate crime because of their appearance. The Sikh travelers during the airport screening exercise were mistreated and were forced to take off their turbans which hurt the religious feeling of the Sikh community. In order to overcome this problem and remedy the situation, NAPA leaders suggest some measures to be adopted. Governor Jerry Brown spends enough time with the community leaders and promises them to looks into these Sikh issues. During the meeting both sides agreed that misconceptions about the Sikh religion, which leads to ignorant comments and reactions which should be avoided. In order to achieve the desired results, the public has to be educated. The North American Punjabi Association (NAPA) sincerely believes that if these constructive suggestions are implemented in letter and spirit, it will help eliminate mistaken identity hate crimes. NAPA and its members are willing to extend necessary assistance in this direction.
Establishment of Sister State relation between State of California and State of Punjab in India by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between two state governments for the prosperity and economic growth of two States was also discussed with Governor. NAPA leaders urge to Governor to set up a Sister State Commission who can advise the California Governor and will work to accomplish these tasks. This commission can work as a bridge between these two states to establish agricultural, educational, cultural relationships that will promote peace and prosperity between these States.After the meeting President of North American Association Mr Satnam Singh Chahal in a press release said that the Governor Mr Jerry Brown gave a very patience hearing and accepted all the demands of the delegation in Principal and assured the delegation members that in the future he will make it sure that Sikh Community will have no chance of complain for their security and threat to life.Mr Chahal that Governor also appreciated the role of Punjabi Community in the economic growth of California State.He also advised the Napa Chairman Mr Dalwinder Singh Dhoot to remain in touch with him over the phone uptill all the issues and concerns of Punjabi Community are solved