Even as the Centre has indicated that no Sikh militancy convict would be released, a five-member team of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) will meet Uttar Pradesh governor Ram Naik in Lucknow on Friday for taking up the case of Waryam Singh, a TADA convict in Bareilly Jail. Waryam is on the list of seven prisoners whose release has been demanded by fasting ex-militant Gurbaksh Singh.
The team comprises SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar, executive member Karnail Singh Panjoli, secretaries Dalmegh Singh and Manjit Singh, and additional secretary Daljit Singh Bedi. “The UP Governor has given the SGPC team an appointment for Friday,” an SGPC release here on Thursday stated.
Waryam, a resident of Shahjanpur district of UP has been in jail serving a life term for the last 23 years. A written communication on his case was sent last week by Makkar to the UP governor as well as to chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.
Others on Gurbaksh’s list are Lakhwinder Singh, Gurmit Singh and Shamsher Singh, all three involved in the Beant Singh assassination case and lodged at Chandigarh's Burial jail since the last 19 years; Gurdeep Singh, who is lodged in Gulbarga jail, Karnataka for the last 24 years; and Lal Singh who is in Nabha jail for the past 22 years. The most prominent name on the list is that of Devinderpal Singh Bhullar, who was awarded the death penalty in a 1993 bomb blast case in New Delhi; his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment on medical grounds. He is in Tihar Jail since 1995.
The SGPC has written to the governors and CMs of Karnataka, Rajasthan and Gujarat, besides Punjab, too.
The SGPC in fact has a list of 119 Sikh prisoners whose release it is demanding. Makkar has also sought an appointment with Union home minister Rajnath Singh, but no reply has come.