A day after chief minister Parkash Singh Badal sought the release of 13 Sikh militants who have been under detention in jails across the country since the era of militancy in Punjab, activists of 'International Sikh Organisation' (ISO), went on a day's hunger strike to support the cause.
ISO members, led by their president Kawarbir Singh, sat on hunger strike at Satkatri Bagh near Gurdwara Shaheeda here on Thursday.
However, they made it clear that their hunger strike was not in support of the chief minister's demand, but in support of Gurbaksh Singh, a former militant who is on a fast-unto-death in Ambala, seeking release of Sikh detainees who have been behind bars for long or have completed their detention period.
Gurbaksh Singh's fast-onto-death at gurdwara Lakhnoor Sahib near Ambala entered the 42nd day of on Thursday. "Our protest was in support of Gurbaksh Singh's demand," said Kawarbir Singh while pointing out that the former militant had given a call to all Sikhs to hold a day's fast to show support for his demand.
Badal has written letters to the chief ministers of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and West Bengal, as well as the Lt Governor of Delhi and the administrator of the union territory of Chandigarh to release Sikh militants jailed in their respective states on humanitarian grounds as they have completed their jail terms. He has even forwarded the names of the militants and the time they have spent behind bars till date.
The Akal Takht too has asked the central government to release those Sikh detainees who have completed the jail sentences awarded to them. He has set January 2 as the deadline for their release.
If the militants are not released by that time, the Sikh clergy will take up this issue in their meeting slated for January 2. The Akal Takht is under pressure from several radical Sikh groups to take up this issue with the central government.