Wassan Singh Zaffarwal, a United Akali Dal activist and a former Khalistan Commando Force (KCF) chief, and Giani Kewal Singh, a former jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib, were among those who arrived at the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) on Thursday to meet fasting Sikh hardline activist Surat Singh Khalsa but were turned back by the police.
Zaffarwal, who left after a brief conversation with Khalsa’s son and daughter, said, “The police and district administration are doing wrong by forcibly bringing him to the hospital and preventing people from meeting him.” He said most members of the Sangharsh Committee, which is behind Khalsa’s fast, are in jail. “We will chalk out new plan after the members are bailed out,” he added.
Giani Kewal Singh urged Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh to take up Khalsa’s cause and pursue the matter with the Parkash Singh Badal government.
Speaking to Hindustan Times at DMCH hours after Khalsa, 80, was shifted from the Ludhiana civil hospital after being administered intravenous (IV) fluid as his condition deteriorated, Kewal Singh said, “The Akal Takht jathedar must intervene now.”
Khalsa’s daughter Sarvinder Kaur claimed that her father was forcibly administered the drip when he refused to relent and take water ever since he was brought to the civil hospital. She claimed that his condition had been deteriorating.
*The Punjab government’s decision to launch the crackdown indicates the failure of talks between police and the Sangharsh Committee behind the fast by Khalsa. His hunger strike had forced the government to fast-track the shifting of Sikh prisoners, including Devinderpal Singh Bhullar and Gurdeep Singh Khera, from other states to Punjab. The committee has been demanding other Sikh prisoners sentenced to life must be released prematurely. It has submitted a list of 82 such prisoners.
*According to the government, of the 82, five have already been acquitted, five are on bail, 15 are under trial, identities of six is yet to be established in the absence of details not provided by the committee, 26 are convicts in Punjab jails, while 25 are in prisons of other states for offences committed there. Government sources said of the 26 convicts in Punjab jails, one was sentenced to death, eight are life convicts and 17 are short-term convicts.