Bapu Surat Singh removes his feeding tube, fast to enter 550 days on 18 July

On 18 July, 2016 Bapu Surat Singh Khalsa’s hunger strike to free Sikh political prisoners in India will reach 550 days. Bapu Surat Singh served his longest detention since 10 December, 2016 at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) before being released on 29 May, 2016, 172 days later.

Soon after his release on Day 500 of his struggle on 29 May, 2016, Punjab Government and police began to gather in Hassanpur, Punjab and forcefully entered Bapu Surat Singh’s residence on 10 June, 2016. The outside gate lock was destroyed and Bapu Surat Singh’s bedroom door was smashed in to gain entry while family members and supporters were kept detained in another room. He was forcefully taken to DMCH again.

Two weeks later, Bapu Surat Singh’s condition worsened and he was taken into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at DMCH. He suffered respiratory complications and required constant monitoring by hospital personnel.

At present, Bapu Surat Singh’s condition has improved and on 13 July, 2016 he removed his feeding tube forcefully inserted by DMCH staff. He remains resolute and adamant in his demand for the permanent release of the political prisoners.

Supporters worldwide continue to show their admiration and raise awareness through community events and social media. A rally was organized by supporters at DMCH on 12 July, 2016 where Bapu Surat Singh continues to be forcefully detained and force-fed.

In England, supporters are currently organizing an art exhibition inspired by Bapu Surat Singh Khalsa’s struggle. The exhibition will take place at the Menier Gallery in London 1 August – 6 August, 2016. It will showcase artwork from artists and supporters worldwide. For more information, please contact: [email protected]

A Twitter event has also been organized to mark 550 days of struggle on Sunday 17 July, 2016, 8pm (UK time), hashtag #550DaysofHunger.