Among the list of Sikh prisoners whose release is being demanded are at least 20 of them booked under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1985, commonly known as TADA. TADA was the first anti-terrorism act in force in the country between 1985 and 1995.
The list of 13 detainees sent by Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal to union home minister Rajnath Singh includes six prisoners convicted under TADA and another facing trial under the Act.
On this list is 50 year-old Devinderpal Singh Bhullar, who was tried under TADA and awarded the death sentence by a Delhi court in March 2014. His death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by the Supreme Court. He is lodged in Tihar jail, New Delhi, since 1995. He had in September 1993 attacked Maninderjit Singh Bitta in a car bomb attack killing nine people and injuring 29 others, including Bitta. He was arrested trying to escape to Germany in December 1994.
Gurdeep Singh Khaira (54) is booked in three separate cases, one of which is under TADA registered in Bidar, Karnataka. He is serving life sentence in two of these cases and is lodged in Gulbarga jail, Karnataka, for the past 24 years. Lal Singh (54) lodged in Nabha jail for over 22 years is also serving life sentence under TADA for a case registered in Ahmedabad.
Waryam Singh (70) of Shahjahanpur in UP has been in central jail, Bareilly, for 23 years serving life sentence in a TADA case registered in Pilibhit, UP. Initially, he was lodged in the Pilibhit jail but was shifted to Bareilly in 1994.
These four are also on Gurbaksh Singh’s list of seven people for whose release he has been on an indefinite fast for the past 56 days.
The others on the CM’s list include Bhullar’s associate Daya Singh Lahoria, lodged in Tihar jail for over 19 years, who is also a TADA convict. Paramjeet Singh Bheora (48) and Jagtar Singh Hawara (44) both lodged in jail for over 19 years, were involved in the assassination of former chief minister Beant Singh. Hawara, though convicted on other charges, is still under trial in two cases registered under TADA in Rupnagar.
Baaz Singh (47), a resident of Lopoke, Amritsar, has been lodged for over 25 years in central jail, Amritsar. He had three cases registered against him. He was acquitted in the case under TADA registered in Malout in 1990. However, he is serving life sentence in another case registered in 1990. Hardeep Singh (52), a resident of Patti, Tarn Taran, is in central jail, Amritsar, for over 25 years for a case registered under TADA in 1991.
Dilbag Singh (52) has been lodged in the maximum security jail, Nabha, for almost 13 years. He was a close associate of Jarnail Singh Shutiana, area chief of the KCF. He was convicted for life in two separate cases registered against him. He was on bail in another case when he was re-arrested in February 2007. Swaran Singh (54), a resident of Malanwala, Ferozepur, is lodged in maximum security jail, Nabha, for over 16 years for a case registered in 1990 under TADA.
A group of convicts, wanted in a case of August 1987, were awarded a sentence of 10 years each under TADA in November 2012 are also lodged in modern jail, Kapurthala, Central Jail, Ludhiana, and maximum security jail, Nabha. They have completed two years of sentence.
These include Mann Singh (70), a resident of Mudian Kalan; Gurjant Singh, a resident of Jagraon; Harjinder Singh, a resident of Lalton Khurd, Ludhiana; Harbhajan Singh (84) of Daffar Patti village, Jalandhar; Balwinder Singh (59) of Tahi village, Jalandhar; Mohan Singh (76) of Maqsudan village, Jalandhar; Sarup Singh (64) of Vishrampur village, Jalandhar; Avtar Singh (74) of Lambran, Jalandhar; and Sewa Singh (73) of Chakra Raju village, Hoshiarpur. Most of these prisoners were practicing agriculture when they were jailed two years ago in the 27-year-old case.
The others booked under TADA include Kulwant Singh (48), who was in Nabha jail for two years and was released on bail on December 4; Harnek Singh who is in Jaipur jail for over four years and Bakshish Singh of Samana in Patiala, who has been in Nabha jail for four years.