11 October 2007

A Sikh Burmese Protest Leader!

For those who still insist that the Burma uprising is not a Sikh issue, I offer this, from an Australian newspaper, The Age.

I do not know if this gentleman, Surinder Karkar Singh Ji, is a Khalsa, but he looks like one and he acts like one. Until I have information to the contrary, that is enough for me.

We dream of the day when our Khalsa army will be able to ride to the assistance of the oppressed. It seems that at least one individual is not content to just dream, but has taken what action he can.

Can you imagine? He led 100,000 people through the streets of Rangoon protecting at least 5000 monks. It appears the Khalsa spirit is alive and active, after all. We can take great pride in the courageous action of our brother! The least we can do is to sign the petition supporting the monks and the people of Burma. We are posting the link once again in this post.

Burma protest leader blasts UN

Connie Levett
October 11, 2007Protest leader U Pancha is now in exile.

Protest leader U Pancha is now in exile.

An organiser of the protest movement in Rangoon has blasted UN special envoy
Ibrahim Gambari for bowing to the Burmese regime and achieving nothing in his
visit to Burma.

Surinder Karkar Singh, also known as Ayea Myint and U Pancha (the Punjabi),
helped organise the civilian protection circles that ringed the monks as they
marched through the streets of Rangoon for eight days.

"Nothing was achieved. I am fed up," the Sikh Burmese man said.

"He (Mr Gambari) plans to come again in November. Whatever the regime told
him, he did. While he was there, we were being shot, we were being detained.
After he left, there was more rounding up of people.

"He saw Aung San Suu Kyi (the detained pro-democracy leader) but gave no
press conference. He should announce what she said. This regime is full of lies.
Gambari reports to the UN what the regime says, not what Aung San Suu Kyi says."

U Pancha is now in Mae Sot, Thailand, where many Burmese opposition groups in
exile are based. He gave a rare insight into the first days of the protest and
how the organisers responded as the movement grew.

"I participated in 1988, then I retired. I took up the protest again because
prices were rising and people were starving around me," he said. "I was not at
all frightened. I participated in the forefront. I was prepared to die."

He met monks and a few civilians at the Shwedagon pagoda, the most important
Buddhist temple in Rangoon, on September 17 to plan protests.

"The idea was to bring down petrol prices, to get dialogue and an apology for
the way the monks were beaten at Pakokku," U Pancha said.

"There were only about 100 to start with. We let the monks lead. I was in
charge of surrounding the monks for protection.

"On the 18th, we were very anxious, we were worried whether people would
follow us, but from the beginning they joined in. We were very encouraged. That
night we had a hurried meeting because of the support and made three streams of
people to go to different points in the city. On the 19th the groups exceeded

That night, they got word the military had issued a shoot-to-kill edict.
After a heated meeting they elected to proceed.

"In the midst of our marching, Battalion 77 refused to take the order to
shoot to kill," he said.

From September 21 to 25, the protests were peaceful and the crowds increased.
On the night of 25th, the military command changed from 77th battalion to 66th
battalion, he said.

He remembers the 26th and 27th as the most bloody days, with bloodshed on the

"When three monks went to beg them not to use violence, they started beating
the monks and shooting," U Pancha said.

"On the 26th, I led 100,000, with 5000 to 6000 monks. People were not scared.
I thought we were winning. In the midst of flying bullets we were able to march.
We had people in side streets with stones and rocks ready to give protection to
the protesters."

On the 27th, the monks were gone, and the crowd dwindled to 2000 to 3000.

"Many people were scared on 27th," he said. "When the Japanese (photographer)
was shot, they (knew) the Government would shoot even foreigners."

By the 28th, the movement had all but disintegrated.

U Pancha waited in Rangoon, in hiding, until October 4 to see the outcome of
the UN mission. Bitterly disappointed, he fled to Thailand.

He is determined to fight on. "I am still a leader, we have leaders inside
and outside," he said. "We are only pausing, not