Former militant Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa, who is seeking the release of Sikh political prisoners languishing in jail despite the completion of their terms, has himself served only about four years of the 10-year jail term awarded by the court, it is learnt.
Gurbaksh has been on a ‘fast-unto-death’ at Gurdwara Lakhnaur Sahib, near Ambala, since November 14, 2014.
Back in 1999, he had been arrested in connection with the Chandigarh bomb blast, in which four persons were injured in Sector 34 on June 30 that year. Gurbaksh remained in jail from August 2, 1999, to February 4, 2003, as per Burail jail records. He was convicted and sentenced to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment (RI) by the sessions court in 2002.
Sources said he filed an appeal in the Punjab and Haryana high court, challenging the lower court’s decision, and managed to get bail. Subsequently, he was released.
Later, when the high court upheld the decision of the lower court, Gurbaksh was sent back to jail on December 10, 2010.
Sources added that he then filed an appeal in the Supreme Court and got bail. He was released from jail on January 10, 2011. Since then, he has been out on bail as the decision on his appeal is pending in the apex court.
If the Supreme Court upholds the decision of the lower courts, Gurbaksh would have to serve the remaining period (about six years) of his jail term.
When contacted, Chandigarh deputy inspector general (DIG) AS Cheema, who is holding the charge of inspector general (IG), Burail jail, said he would check the records related to the case to verify the facts.
Meanwhile, Jujhar Singh, Gurbaksh’s representative, told HT on the phone that he was not aware of any appeal pending in the apex court, even as he claimed that Khalsa had completed his jail term.
Gurbaksh, a resident of Thaska Ali village in Haryana’s Kurukshetra district, had earlier sat on a hunger strike in November-December 2013 at Gurdwara Amb Sahib, SAS Nagar, demanding the release of Sikh prisoners. He had ended his fast when four prisoners were released on parole.