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HindustanTimes Wed,20 Aug 2014

Paash’s relative seeks clemency for Bhullar

Vancouver Desi  Vancouver, April 18, 2013
First Published: 09:42 IST(18/4/2013) | Last Updated: 20:21 IST(18/4/2013)

Despite personal loss caused by the pro Khalistan Sikh militants, Dhido Gill is seeking clemency for a Khalistani militant Devinderpal Singh Bhullar.

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Gill is a brother-in-law and an ideological friend of Paash, a revolutionary Punjabi poet who was assassinated by the supporters of Khalistan Commando Force in 1988. Gill has also supported a Facebook petition seeking amnesty for Bhullar, who is facing death sentence for the 1993 car bombing that left 9 people dead.

Both Paash and Gill vehemently opposed religious fundamentalism and theocracy. They together launched, "Anti 47 Front" - a platform that denounced repetition of 1947 like partition of India on religious lines. India and Pakistan were separated on sectarian lines in 1947.

Being supporters of the ultra leftist Naxalite movement both were highly critical of fanaticism. Although Paash was also critical of Hindu fundamentalism and had written a poem critical of anti Sikh pogrom that was engineered by the Congress party following the assassination of the Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi by her Sikh body guards in 1984, the Khalistan Commando Force (KCF) murdered him and claimed responsibility for the crime. Years later, the KCF leader Labh Singh regretted Paash’s murder in his diary the excerpts of which were published in Indo Canadian Times in 1995.

Setting aside personal grudges and ideological differences, Gill told this reporter over the phone from California that the state has no authority to take away human life. "I am principally opposed to capital punishment."

According to Gill, Bhullar also deserves pardon due to his poor mental health situation. "Had Paash been alive he too would have opposed it," he noted while reminding that Paash was a humanist writer.

He also criticized political parties which were trying to take mileage out of this issue. "All regional and communal considerations should be set aside to get capital punishment abolished instead of being selective.". He argued if so many countries can abolish capital punishment why can’t India?

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