17 December 2007

Truthful Living - Update on Laibar Singh Ji

Just a reminder:

ਸਚਹੁ ਓਰੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਉਪਰਿ ਸਚੁ ਆਚਾਰੁ

Truth is higher than everything; but higher still is truthful living. Guru Nanak Dev

I got up this morning and, as usual, checked my e-mail, looking especially for blog comments. There were two for the sometimes - 2 blog. The first was a rather nasty comment from an Anonymous reader:

If you are a Punjabi you should be living in the Punjab. Get out of MY country.

If you want to live in Canada be a Canadian.

Laibar Singh is a
criminal, a thief and a liar. The people who rioted to prevent his being
deported are criminals. They should have been arrested and deported. The next
time there may be some Canadians there to teach the Punjabies a lesson.

Not very nice, but not unexpected.

The second, however, from frank, threw me completely:

Looks like the support for the
unfortunate Singh is levelling off,
according to this morning's SUN.
The mighty emotional outburst at
the demo has faded and Singh is being shuffled from temple to
Kudos to the volunteers
spending 24 hours with him.
But inter temple
politics seems
to have intervened, and some of the original backers of the
have stopped supporting Singh already. I am wondering, why
change of heart?


I thought there must be some mistake, so I went to the Sun and found the following article, with the byline of our community's dear friend, Kim Bolan *rolls eyes*,

Monday » December 17 » 2007

fail to support disabled refugee claimant

president disappointed at lack of funds for paralysed man

Kim Bolan
Vancouver Sun

Monday, December 17, 2007

Ian Smith
Vancouver Sun / Quadriplegic Laibar Singh (centre) is now being
taken care of at the Guru Nanak temple.

Just last week, supporters of a
paralysed refugee claimant vowed to care for him forever, as they prevented his
deportation at Vancouver International Airport.

But on the weekend,
Laibar Singh was moved for a third time in six days after those same supporters
decided they couldn't care for the severely disabled man any more.

is now at Surrey's Guru Nanak Sikh temple, its president Balwant Singh Gill
confirmed Sunday.

Gill said the New Westminster temple where Singh had
been taken last Monday didn't want him there any more.

deportation to India was halted by the Canada Border Services Agency a week ago
after a massive airport protest, at which several leaders pledged to cover
Singh's medical expenses for as long as he remains here.

Yet Gill, who
was not at the protest, said no one has offered his temple any of the funds
raised to care for the wheelchair-bound man.

"I am disappointed that all
the guys who went to the airport to make big speeches have completely backed
off," Gill said. "They didn't give any money to us to help him."

said his temple is doing what it can to care for the 48-year-old, who arrived in
Canada on a false passport in 2003 and last year suffered an aneurism that left
him a quadriplegic.

Singh was ordered deported in June, but Gill said
the temple wants to make another legal challenge in an attempt to get permission
to keep Singh in Canada.

"We are just trying to help him. We won't break
any laws."

Gill planned to contact the CBSA to let officials know Singh
is now at the Surrey temple and that his congregants have no plans to hold the
kind of blockade that occurred last Monday, tying up airport traffic for hours.

A volunteer has stayed with Singh 24 hours a day since last July, when
he was whisked away from a Vancouver long-term care facility from which he was
about to be deported.

Gill said the volunteer stays in the same room
with Singh and tends to all his needs.

Up until Dec. 10, Singh had been
at Abbotsford's Kalgidhar Darbar temple, but he was taken to the New Westminster
temple after the airport protest.

"If we take him back, we're afraid
CBSA will come in the night and say 'let's grab that guy when nobody is
looking,'" Kalgidhar temple president Swarn Singh explained at the rally.

In fact, Singh was moved to Guru Nanak temple about 1:30 a.m. Saturday,
Gill confirmed.

He said his temple decided to assume care for Singh
"because we heard rumours that the New Westminster temple was refusing to keep
him there."

One of those who backed away from the Singh campaign is
Harpal Singh Nagra, president of the South Asian Human Rights Group.

Nagra had travelled to Ottawa in October with others in his group to
meet with MPs about Singh's case.

Nagra is a controversial figure who
founded the International Sikh Youth Federation, a terrorist group banned in
Canada in June 2003.

Nagra won his own refugee case 10 years ago after
the Immigration and Refugee Board accepted his claim that he left the ISYF in
May 1986 after some of its members were arrested in the brutal beating of Ujjal
Dosanjh as well as in a political assassination plot.

The immigration
department fought against allowing Nagra to stay, but lost its case in the
Federal Court in 1999.


© The Vancouver
Sun 2007

And you can be sure that those who already resent us are talking. Check this out. And this. What hurts in this discussion is that there seems to be some truth in what they are saying. I have no words to express how painful it is to write that.

What is going on here? Our community is quite wealthy. As a group, we can well afford to pay financially for our brother's medical care. Does anyone out there care what is at stake here?

One week ago today, we were in a well-earned state of euphoria, having, for the moment, at least saved Bhai Laibar Singh Ji. At that time a promise was made, that we would care for him, pick up the tab for his medical care. We are his community, we love him and will see to it that he gets whatever he needs. That was wonderful.

But now that promise needs to be fulfilled. Has Bhai Laibar Singh Ji become 'that sick guy that we're tired of.' That is one issue.

There is another. This involves the honour of the Saadh Sangat. Need I translate those words? We all know what they mean, but it seems some need to be reminded: One easy definition is the company of the holy ones, or the company of the saints. I am not sure what exactly 'holy ones' or 'saints' are, but I am sure they aren't LIARS.
Please, let us put whatever differences we have aside and care for this man, not only because he is a dear brother, which, of course, he is, but also because our honour as Sikhs of the Guru demands it!!

Truthful living demands it!

If I am coming across as self-righteous, I apologise. I am certainly nowhere near what I should be as a Khalsa. I just don't know any other way to get this message across. I believe it must be heard and heeded and quickly, if this man, our brother, is to remain in our care and under our protection.

And on a lighter note, would someone please bring him a blanket or comforter in cheerful colours? He must be awfully tired of that black and white blanket.