Gurpreet Singh: Letter to Santa Claus on behalf of minority communities in India

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      Dear Santa,

      I have heard that you are a kind soul who listens to the people and tries to make their dreams come true by sending them out gifts on every Christmas.

      I am writing you for the very first time and I hope you won’t disappoint me.

      Fortunately, I am not going to ask for material gifts, which makes your job bit easier and you don’t have to worry about buying anything for me. All I would request you to write a letter to Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and c.c. it to our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on my behalf and request him to show some compassion for the people of Kashmir who continue to face a lockdown ever since August 5, 2019.

      Alternatively, you can just copy and paste the content of my letter and forward it to him to save your time, as you must be busy responding to thousands of letters being mailed to you around this time of the year.

      Kashmir is a disputed region where people have been fighting for right to self-determination. Indian forces continue to suppress their struggle with heavy deployment of troops.

      But ever since August 5, Indian-occupied Kashmir has been turned into an open jail. More than 5,000 people are under arrest while civil liberties have been suspended. In the name of national security, the Indian state has scrapped the special status given to Kashmir and disintegrated the state into two territories without any consultation with local leadership.

      This was done to humiliate the minority Muslim community in India as Kashmir is the only Muslim-majority region in this predominantly Hindu country. This reflects very poorly on a country that claims to be the world’s largest democracy.

      Even otherwise, attacks on religious minorities, including Christians, have grown in India ever since Modi became the prime minister in 2014. He is the leader of a right wing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party that is bent upon turning India into a Hindu theocracy, where the rights of all minorities will be reduced.

      On the auspicious occasion of Christmas, it is important to remind that Christians are finding it difficult to practice their faith under these circumstances. They are target of constant attacks in different parts of India at the hands of Hindu extremists.

      So just write to Modi and tell him to be compassionate and lift the blockade of Kashmir and restore back all the rights that have been suspended without further delay during the holiday season and urge him to give up hate and start taking into everyone into his embrace.

      I am sure that a bigot like him won’t listen to you, but if you choose to write a letter to him it will give moral support to the people of Kashmir and other minorities in India. And please don’t forget to c.c. it to Trudeau, who has failed to address this issue despite many protests across Canada.

      Please remind Trudeau that since Canada claims to be human rights leader in the world, it has an obligation to raise voice against injustice anywhere on the globe.

      Maybe you can also remind him that this year marks the birth centenary of his father and the late prime minister who had courage to stand up for Cuba and look into the eyes of  the U.S. Trudeau should follow into his father's footsteps if he really cares for his legacy and tell Modi to do the right thing.

      Looking forward to your reply,

      Gurpreet Singh

      Delta, B.C.