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HindustanTimes Tue,02 Sep 2014

Makkar questions hanging of minorities

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  Amritsar, February 11, 2013
First Published: 19:11 IST(11/2/2013) | Last Updated: 19:33 IST(11/2/2013)

In the aftermath of the hanging of Afzal Guru, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief Avtar Singh Makkar has sought to know whether the minorities in the country were governed by separate laws.

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Pointing to the oft-repeated statement that the laws of the country are same for all citizens, Makkar wondered why a person like Kishori Lal, who was involved and also convicted of the killing of Sikhs during the November 1984 riots, was not given the punishment that he should have been given.

"On the one hand, we have a government that talks about pardoning a person like Kishori Lal, who brutally massacred 34 people, on the other, we have persons belonging to the minority communities being hanged," the SGPC chief said here on Monday when asked about his reaction to the hanging of Guru, who was responsible for the attack on Parliament.

In an informal chat with the media, he also questioned the death sentence awarded to Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) terrorist Devinderpal Singh Bhullar for his involvement in the attack on the All India Youth Congress (AIYC) headquarters in Delhi which left several dead. He claimed that Bhullar was awarded the death penalty on the basis of his statement made before investigating agencies and not on the basis of any solid evidence against him.
"I feel Bhullar should be released from the Tihar jail as he has already spent over 20 years behind bars or his punishment should be commuted to life sentence," he added.

Makkar also took the opportunity to point to the slow progress being made in the investigations in the Hond Chillar massacre in Haryana in which a number of Sikhs were killed following the assassination of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1984. He said the SGPC was assisting those coming forward to depose before the Garg Commission, appointed by the Haryana government to inquire into the incident.

Pak shrines
Makkar welcomed the recent verdict of the Pakistan Supreme Court directing the government of that country to ensure the safety and proper management of properties of minority communities which were attached to gurdwaras and other shrines.
He said he would go to Pakistan next month and would discuss the issue related to the proper management of Sikh shrines there. He would also take up issues related to properties attached to historic gurdwaras there as reports of certain properties being encroached upon had come to his notice, he added.

Makkar said it had recently been brought to his notice that the Matti Bhai Ke gurdwara in Pakistan, a historic shrine, was not being looked after well and the structure needed immediate repairs. He said that in a day or two he would write to the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi on the issue.

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