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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

Reconsider execution, SGPC urges President

HT Correspondent  Amritsar, April 20, 2013
First Published: 19:24 IST(20/4/2013) | Last Updated: 19:26 IST(20/4/2013)

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has appealed to President Pranab Mukherjee to give another thought to the decision to hang Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) terrorist Devinderpal Singh Bhullar, whose mercy plea was rejected by the Supreme Court last week.

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On the directions of its president Avtar Singh Makkar, an SGPC delegation led by its junior vice-president Kewal Singh Badal submitted a petition at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi on Saturday, appealing for clemency to Bhullar. The petition addressed to the President was received by an official of Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Besides Kewal Singh Badal, other members of the delegation included executive committee members of the religious body, including Rajinder Singh Mehta, Nirmal Singh Jaula and Surjit Singh Garhi. Others who accompanied them were SGPC secretary Dalmegh Singh and Kuldip Singh Bhogal, the organising secretary of the Delhi unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

Similar to the petition submitted by the SAD two days back, the SGPC plea for saving Bhullar from the gallows pleaded for clemency while citing Bhullar's mental and health condition. The petition pointed out that Bhullar had been behind bars for the past 18 years and this fact should not be overlooked.

The petition also pointed out that one of the three judges of the apex court had expressed diverse opinion while upholding the death penalty awarded to Bhullar by a lower court.

Moreover, the sentence was pronounced merely on Bhullar's self-confession given to the police under duress and not on the basis of statements of witnesses, the SGPC pointed out.

The petition also cited the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and said that even after 28 years, no justice had been done to the victims. On the contrary, the death sentence of Kishori Lal, who butchered a number of Sikhs in Delhi, has been commuted, the petition pointed out.

Much like the SAD, the SGPC too felt that for the sake of "peace and communal harmony", Bhullar should be pardoned.

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