Human rights activist Justice Phoolka charms Melbourne

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Melbourne: Human rights lawyer Harvinder Singh Phoolka, who has been fighting for justice to victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and who is also a leader of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), paid a five-day visit to Australia gaining new admirers and supporters in the process.

His visit on the invitation of the AAP, Australia chapter, started on March 24th  in Sydney where he met members of the Sikh Community and AAP volunteers. After spending two days in Sydney, he flew to Brisbane where he was chief guest of the 9th Annual Australian Sikh Games 2016, one of the largest games with teams competing from all across Australia along with New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia and other countries.

Phoolka who spent two days in Brisbane said he was impressed by such a large gathering of Sikhs on Australian soil and more by the equal participation of both men and women in the Games. His last stop was in Melbourne where he spent a day packed with activities.

In Melbourne, Justice Phoolka met the Melbourne Kabaddi team, winners of the Brisbane game and felicitated them. He also met members of the Craigieburn Gurudwara committee and later addressed a gathering of about 270 AAP supporters at the Victoria Trade Hall. He wrapped up his visit with a dinner hosted by him in which he addressed AAP volunteers. He sought their support and help.

“This was Justice Phoolka’s first official visit as an AAP leader. He was here to promote the party and garner support in the forthcoming Punjab state elections,” said Rakesh Prajapati, Country Convenor, AAP.

A respected member of the Sikh community, Justice Phoolka talked about his ongoing fight to bring justice to victims of the 1984 anit-Sikh riots. In a significant move last October, the Narendra Modi government announced compensation of Rs 5 lakh (about 10,000 AUD) each to be given to the kin of 3325 people killed during anti-Sikh riots in the national capital in 1984. Phoolka said there are currently a few hurdles but hopes to get justice eventually. (TIW)