SGPC writes to states for release of Sikh detainees

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Amritsar
  • Updated: Jan 03, 2015 23:19 IST

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has written to the governors and chief ministers of various states for the freedom of the Sikhs who are in jail beyond normal life terms.

The SGPC has also formed a five-member committee led by its president, Avtar Singh Makkar, to pursue the case. SGPC executive member Karnail Singh Panjoli; secretaries Dalmegh Singh and Manjit Singh; and additional secretary Daljit Singh Bedi are also on the committee.

Bedi told the media here on Saturday that the committee would meet the governors and the CMs of the states where these Sikhs were held. The first meeting comes up on January 9 with Uttar Pradesh governor Ram Naik and CM Akhilesh Yadav. In the letters, the SGPC has told the governors and the CMs that they would be to blame if anything happened to former militant Gurbaksh Singh, who was on fast-unto-death in Ambala for the past 50 days for the release of the Sikhs.

"His deteriorating condition has become a cause of worry for the SGPC and Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh on whose assurance he had ended his previous hunger strike in December 2013," said the SGPC additional secretary. The governors/CMs contacted are of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, and Jammu and Kashmir. The SGPC has a list of 119 militants it want freed.

On the list are the likes of Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar, who is sentenced to death for killing security personnel in a 1993 bomb blast outside the Youth Congress headquarters in New Delhi. Bhullar is in Delhi's Tihar jail and the Supreme Court had commuted his death penalty to life imprisonment on medical grounds.

Balwant Singh Rajoana (Patiala central jail), on death row for assassinating the-then chief minister, Beant Singh, in 1995; co-convicts Jagtar Singh Hawara and Paramjit Singh Bheora (from Tihar); Lakhwinder Singh, Gurmit Singh and Shamsher Singh (Burail, Chandigarh); ad former Khalistan Liberation Force (KFL) militant Daya Singh Lahoria (Tihar) are also on the list.

The SGPC has also sought the freedom of the militants behind bars in Punjab. These include Lal Singh (in Nabha jail), Baaz Singh (Amritsar), Assa Singh (Hoshiarpur).

SGPC additional secretary Bedi said Waryam Singh, Sikh prisoner in Pilibhit, UP, had crossed 90 and even lost his eyesight partially. "It is a violation of human rights that no one is bothered to consider his case for release," said Bedi.

"Gurdip Singh at Gulbargha in Karnataka; and Gurmit Singh Fauji at Bikaner in Rajasthan are behind bars for the past 20 years," he said. In the last couple of days, Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh has sent a delegation to Union home minister Rajnath Singh with a list of 80 detainees.

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