The Punjabi American Heritage Society of Yuba City and various Sikh temples in California will honour Vishwa Mitra Tandon, a journalist whose investigative reporting brought to light the killing of 11 Sikhs in fake encounters by UP Police in Pilibhit district in 1991.
Tandon will be honoured this weekend at multiple ceremonies in Yuba City which has a large population of the Punjabi community.
His relentless investigative reporting spanning more than two decades led to the indictment of 57 police officers in 1995, 47 of whom were convicted and sentenced in April this year.
The killing of Sikhs took place on July 12, 1991, when a bus carrying Sikh pilgrims was intercepted by the UP Police. Eleven Sikh youths were dragged out and killed in three fake encounters.
Tandon refused to believe the all too common police version that those killed were terrorists. He resisted immense political pressure and threats to his personal safety to bring the truth to light.
“He developed witness testimony confirming that the young innocent Sikhs had been murdered as part of a widespread programme of terror by the government at that time against Sikhs,” said a statement by the Punjabi American Heritage Society of Yuba City.
Tandon will be honoured at the Sacramento Sikh Temple (Gurdwara) on Saturday. He will be honoured again on Sunday when US Congressman John Garamendi and California Assembly member John Gallagher will present an award to Tandon at the Yuba City annual festival at Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds.
Tandon is the second winner of the heroism award by the Punjabi American Heritage society. Last year, US police officer Brian Murphy, who had been shot multiple times while saving Sikhs in a racist attack at Oak Creek Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, was honoured with the award.