Sikhs to protest at Indian embassy in Berlin on June 20 | world | Hindustan Times
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Sikhs to protest at Indian embassy in Berlin on June 20

world Updated: Jun 13, 2011 19:40 IST
Jasdeep Singh Malhotra
Jasdeep Singh Malhotra
Hindustan Times
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The activists of Sikh social, religious and political outfits from across the European Union (EU) are likely to participate in a protest planned outside Indian Embassy here on June 20 to demand condoning death sentence of Davinderpal Singh Bhullar into life imprisonment.

Speaking to Hindustan Times in Berlin, based professor Bhullar Defence Committee member Jathedar Resham Singh Babbar said that two hours protest outside Indian Embassy, Berlin on Monday would be held in a peaceful and democratic manner from 2pm to 4pm.

"The Sikhs from Holland and are likely to participate in protest. There is widespread resentment amongst Sikhs across the world on Indian government’s decision to reject Bhullar’s mercy petition, since the community is basically against the capital punishment, he said.

"Though has taken certain corrective measures to give good signals to Sikhs in the past, but mercy petition rejection has come as a rude shock for us and rather created confusion on the intention of the government back home. Though several persons on death row were granted life imprisonment, but minority communities are being discriminated on this count," Babbar questioned.

"The German foreign ministry in a written communiqué has assured us to raise the issue at appropriate levels with Indian government. A memorandum is also being sent to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, seeking his intervention to save Bhullar’s life since he had already spent more than 15 years in jail,” he said.

The issue has assumed significance amongst Sikhs worldwide while radicals would get a chance to label as anti-minorities. While Punjab Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh and Congress leader Sukhpal Khaira has taken a clear stand to demand mercy for Bhullar, the Congress high command was yet to make their stand public.

The Akali Dal (Badal) too has urged the President to re-consider converting death sentence into life term, but it has been facing piquant situation amongst Sikh voters since its coalition partner BJP has supported death for Bhullar.

Berlin Gurdwara committee president Sucha Singh said that all Gurdwara committees across EU have been urged to ensure maximum participation in the protest. "The German government is also being apprised about fallout of their decision to deport Bhullar to India in 1995 since he was not carrying certain documents to prove his identity. Had granted political asylum to Bhullar, he would have been a free person," he added.

Babbar said that they would submit a memorandum to the Indian ambassador after the protest while a separate memorandum would be submitted to German foreign minister to ensure Bhullar’s capital punishment be converted in life term.

"During the history of long rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, not a single person was hanged till death since Sikhs are basically against capital punishment. We are hopeful will accept the demand of Sikh community and release Bhullar soon," Babbar added.

The German link to Bhullar, a mechanical engineer, dates back to 1995, when he was deported from Frankfurt after his application seeking political asylum was rejected by the authorities. The decision to deport him was declared illegal by a Frankfurt court two years later.

German law prohibits deportation or extradition of individuals to countries where they could be given a death sentence and tortured in custody.