With the differences emerging between the BJP and its mother organisation the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) over release of hardliner Sikh prisoner in different jails across the country, the RSS Sikh wing, has asked the BJP to show “big heart” and support release of the militants.
A delegation of Sikh Sangat, a wing of the RSS, that focus its functioning among the Sikh community, met union home minister Rajnath Singh on June 15 demanding release of the 72 Sikh prisoners, including few hardcore militants, have not gone down well with the Punjab BJP, as the party leaders think that their stand on the issue has been diluted.
The delegation led by Sikh Sangat president, Gurcharan Singh Gill, in a memorandum submitted to the home minister, demanded release of the 72 prisoners, including three convicts- Lakhwinder Singh, Gurmeet Singh and Shamsher Singh, involved in assassination of former chief minister Beant Singh, lodged at the Burail Central Jail.
Though, the demand raised by the RSS Sikh wing is considered to be an effort to bring the Sikh community closer in the “national interest”, but the Punjab BJP leaders, who were opposing such move ever since the issue erupted, are unable to find ways over how to react over the development that they consider as the “sudden shift of stand”.
“The demand raised by the Sikh Sangat has landed us in embarrassing position. Our stand was not to pay any relaxation for those who are involved in big terrorist activities. The BJP cannot demand release of those who are involved in killing of a chief minister,” pointed out a senior BJP leader.
State BJP chief Kamal Sharma, when contacted for his comments said the party’s stand over the issue is the same that was expressed earlier.
“The BJP doesn’t have problem with the release of prisoners who can be given relaxation as per law of the land. I don’t want to comment what the Sikh Sangat has demanded from the home minister as it is an independent organisation and was free to comment what they desire,” said Sharma.
Meanwhile, Sikh Sangat general secretary, Dr Avtar Singh Shastri, said the time has come to handle the issue with an open mind.
“I am not sure what the Punjab BJP leaders have to say over the issue. But the Sikh Sangat is of the view that the BJP should show “big heart’ and support the demand of release of prisoners in national interest. The Sikh community is quite close to the Hindu community and we should made efforts to bridge the gap,” said Shastri.
In the memorandum submitted to Rajnath Singh, the Sikh Sangat has admitted that due to various “issues” till few years back, the voice of discontent has increased among the Sikh community.