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Amritsar Express

April 15, 2009

The “Sikhs For Justice”- a US based human rights organization participated in the Baisakhi Function held at Los Angeles Convention Center.

Los Angeles: The function was organized by the Sikh Dharma of Southern California. It is pertinent to mention here that more than 15,000 Sikhs from Southern California celebrated the 310th Anniversary of Baisakhi at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Sunday, April 12th. The program included Kirtan (spiritual music) from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with performances from Kirtan groups from many southern California Sikh Gurdwaras (temples), as well as various children's Kirtan groups. A colorful parade (Nagar Kirtan) from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. through the heart of downtown Los Angeles concluded the day's events. The main key witness against Jagdish Tytler, Jasbir Singh was also present to explain how the Sikhs are being denied Justice. A documentary “Guru Granth Sahib Reduced to Ashes”-during November 1984 Sikh massacres was also displayed. At this time Mr.Gurjit Singh Jhampur, co-coordinator Sikhs For Justice told the press that this is the unfortunate for the Sikhs that after 25 years of the 84 Sikh genocide the justice is being denied. He appealed to the Sikh masses to come on one platform to raise the Sikhs issues. He also thank to the media who always supported the Sikhs issues. He also thanked the Amnesty International for publishing “Sikhs Massacres” report and demanded strict action against the countries who are violating human rights of the their own citizens. These festivities have been celebrated annually in Southern California for over 25 years. The Nagar Kirtan (parade) has been coordinated by the Southern California Gurdwaras for the last eleven years. The Sikh path began with a Teacher named Guru Nanak in the late 1400's. Guru Nanak was born at a time, in India, when there was fighting between people in the name of religion. He spent his life traveling, teaching the Oneness of God and the common brotherhood and sisterhood of all humanity. Guru Nanak taught that the same Divine Creator was at the heart of every religion and that people could live together in love no matter what their faith or cultural background. He brought people together through songs and prayers. Some of the principals Sikhs live by include the recognition of the equality of all people and the right of all people to worship freely. They work honestly and share what they have with others and believe that the effect of prayer and meditation has the power to bring peace to the home and to the world. The Baisakhi celebration commemorates the day in 1699 when Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th of the Sikh Guru's blessed Sikhs with the forms and features of their lifestyle. It was this event that bestowed the unique form, appearance, and discipline associated with the Sikh way of life. Baisakhi also commemorates the first Spring Harvest, which coincides closely with the Sikh New Year. Officials from all levels of government, city, state and nationwide, were expected to attend this year's Baisakhi Celebration, including: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; California State Board of Equalization Chair Judy Chu; California State Senator Mark Ridley-Thomas, California State Assembly Member Mike Eng and U.S. Congressman Brad Sherman. One of the featured Kirtan musicians this year was Bhai Nirmal Singh Ji Khalsa, distinguished recipient of the Padma Shri Award (one of the highest civilian honors granted by the Government of India to musicians). He played at approximately 1:30 to 2:00 p.m. during the program. In the Nagar Kirtan (parade) this year there were floats from many gurdwaras. Special designs have been created in collaboration with Joginder Singh Siddu in which the floats highlight special Sikh themes, lifestyles and values. The parade bagan at 3:00 p.m. and concluded around 5:00 p.m. This year's parade route started from the Los Angeles Convention Center - North on Figueroa, East on 11th, North on Grand Avenue, West on 7th Street, South on Flower, West on 11th Street, South on Figueroa - and ended back at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Refreshments and treats will be served all along the parade route. In addition to the Kirtan Program and Parade, there were other activities for attendees. Delicious vegetarian Langar (free food) was served all day long. There was bustling Baisakhi Bazaar offering goods and services. Activities for children were available all day long.