Christian leader ponders “connection between his death and his family’s peaceful protests” in India
Sacramento, CA: August 17, 2015 — Fr. Joshua Lickter, who has repeatedly appealed on behalf of hunger-striker Surat Singh Khalsa, released a statement on Monday questioning the motive behind Monday’s Chicago-region murder of Khalsa’s son-in-law, Satwinder Singh Bhola.
Khalsa, an 83-year-old Sikh from Lathrop, CA, has been conducting a hunger-strike in India for the past seven months in demand for release of political prisoners. Fr. Lickter, who regularly leads his Roseville, CA congregation in prayers for Khalsa, praised him at a May 22 rally on the steps of the California State Capitol, saying, “He starves himself because he himself is starving for justice.” The Christian priest has spoken for Khalsa on several other occasions and even met privately about the matter with his representative, Congressman Tom McClintock, so he was swift to respond to news of Bhola’s savage murder.
Shortly after 12am on Monday morning, police in Peoria, Illinois discovered Bhola, a 53-year-old father of three, stabbed to death in the parking lot of his apartment building. With a large amount of cash left undisturbed in his pocket, the motive for his murder does not seem to be robbery.
In a statement reacting to the news, Fr. Lickter said:
“I just found out that Bapu Surat Singh Khalsa Ji’s son-in-law, Bhai Satwinder Singh Bhola, was murdered last night in Chicago. The details surrounding his murder strongly suggest a connection between his death and his family’s peaceful protests against the Indian government. I am both saddened and outraged by this senseless act of violence.
“I grieve for Bapuji’s daughter, Bhanji Sarvarinder Kaur, and the incredible pain she and her entire family must be feeling right now. I pray that she and her family would be comforted in their time of sorrow and that whomever is responsible for this horrific act would be apprehended and brought to justice.
“I also call on other leaders in the American Christian community to become more educated about Bapuji Surat Singh Khalsa’s plight and the plight of all who are currently experiencing persecution under Prime Minister Modi’s regime. I ask that we would pray regularly for those who are standing up for the rights of the oppressed and that we would pray for the oppressors’s hearts to be changed so they would see their fellow human beings the same way our Lord does.”
Fr. Joshua Lickter is the priest at Incarnation Anglican Church in Roseville, CA, which belongs to the Anglican Church in North America.