Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Friday said he is yet to see the letter written by Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal seeking release of 13 jailed terrorists, a day after state government approached the Centre demanding to set free all prisoners "who have served their jail terms."
"As of now I have not seen the letter, have not read its contents. I can comment only after reading the letter," Singh said on the sidelines of the 13th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas event here.
Singh, however, said the decision on Badal's recommendation will be taken after holding talks with him.
"But, I would like to tell you that Parkash Singh Badal is one of the senior most leaders and whatever he will do will be after careful deliberations. The decision on it will be taken only after talking to him," he said.
Badal has recently written to his counterparts in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Gujarat seeking premature release of 13 terrorists convicted in various cases, including the assassination of former chief minister of Punjab Beant Singh.
Badal, who was also present to address Indian diaspora, said that he wanted the release of only those who could be set free under the law.
"We have requested (for the release of the terrorists) only as per the provisions in the law. No one, neither me nor any other chief minister, can do anything without provisions in the law," Badal said.
On criticism that he had a soft corner for militants, Badal said, "We have suffered due to militancy. Our 24 MLA candidates were murdered."
Punjab's Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had yesterday met Rajnath Singh and demanded release of all prisoners of the state "who have served their jail terms".
The Deputy CM had requested Singh to "direct the various state governments holding Sikh detainees who have completed their required sentence and are eligible for release under the 'premature release policy' to free them forthwith".
Senior Home Ministry officials had later indicated that legal opinion could be taken in select cases like old people and those having completed 20 years in prison but ruled out releasing those convicted of serious offences like the murder of Beant Singh.
Asked about government formation in Jammu and Kashmir, the Home Minister said it would take some time.