Beant Singh's kin want his assassins released

With a section of the Punjab Congress, including the family of slain chief minister Beant Singh, joining the chorus for the release of former militants, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday raised the issue with his counterparts in Gujarat (Narendra Modi) and Uttar Pradesh (Akhilesh Yadav).
HT Image
HT Image
Updated on Dec 20, 2013 06:34 PM IST
Copy Link
Hindustan Times | By, Chandigarh

With a section of the Punjab Congress, including the family of slain chief minister Beant Singh, joining the chorus for the release of former militants, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday raised the issue with his counterparts in Gujarat (Narendra Modi) and Uttar Pradesh (Akhilesh Yadav).

Badal reportedly asked the two CMs to look into the cases of former militants Lal Singh and Waryam Singh, who were convicted by Gujarat and UP courts, respectively, even as the hunger strike by ex-militant Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa, seeking the release of Sikh prisoners, entered the 35th day in Mohali on Thursday.

Beant Singh's family said it had no objection to the release of ex-militants Lakhwinder Singh, Sham
sher Singh and Gurmeet Singh, who are in the Burail jail here for their involvement in the ex-CM's 1995 assassination. They have been in jail for the past 18 years, serving life imprisonment.

Khalsa, who is on a fast-unto-death, is demanding the release of six former militants languishing in jails despite having completed their sentences, namely Lakhwinder, Shamsher and Gurmeet, besides Lal Singh, Waryam Singh and Gurdeep Singh Khaira (the latter is behind bars in Karnataka). Lal Singh is lodged in the Nabha jail after being shifted from the Ahmedabad jail, while Waryam Singh is in UP's Bareilly jail.

Beant Singh's family also offered to accompany the Punjab government to take up with the Centre the issue of release of former militants who have completed their jail sentence but are still behind bars.

"When the Khalistan movement is no longer existent and peace has returned to Punjab, why are we trying to keep it alive by making former militants stay in jails despite the end of their jail terms?" said Beant Singh's grandson Ravneet Singh Bittu, Congress MP from Anandpur Sahib.

He added that he had also spoken to senior Congress leaders and they, too, were not opposed to the release of such ex-militants.

"There are a number of them (former militants) who have completed their sentence. As per the Constitution, they should be released. Many of them have exceeded their jail terms," pointed Bittu demanding that they be allowed to be part of the mainstream.

"Top leaders of the Khalistan movement, such as Sohan Singh and Jagjit Singh Chauhan, returned to India and lived a normal life for years. Why can't a large number of militants be released and allowed to be part of society," asked Bittu.

Beant Singh's son Tej Parkash Singh said in case the court and the government had no objection, the family of the slain CM would not object.

"My father laid down his life for peace and law and order in Punjab. Our family is unanimous that all militants who have completed their jail terms be released. But peace in the state should not be harmed," he said.

Tej Parkash's son and Congress MLA Gurkirat Singh Kotli said the cause for which his grandfather sacrificed his life had been fulfilled and peace had returned to Punjab. "So, all those who were involved in the Khalistan movement should be allowed to return to the mainstream. We appeal to the government to make efforts for the release of those militants who have completed their sentence," said Kotli.

"In a number of cases, second and third generations of families of former militants are awaiting their return, so their sufferings should be put to an end," demanded Bittu.


Exploring options

The Punjab government is reportedly exploring legal, political and administrative options to tackle the issue.

Khalsa's close aides, who have formed a morcha, on Thursday met the Punjab CM and told him that the release of these six ex-militants was possible as there had been a number of instances when former militants were released after the completion of their jail terms.

Giving the example of Bhai Ranjit Singh, who later became the Akal Takht jathedar, and Kuki Gill, son of former Punjab Agricultural University vice-chancellor Khem Singh Gill, morcha member and Sikhs for Human Rights chairman Harpal Singh Cheema said Badal was informed about the legal way out.

"I am sure the Punjab government would take the matter to its logical conclusion," said Cheema.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Gurpreet Singh Nibber is a special correspondent with the Punjab bureau. He covers agriculture, power sector, Sikh religious affairs and the Punjabi diaspora.

Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Readers believe the skeletal framework needed to tackle the growing stray dog menace is already in place and that the administration only needs to work on its execution by fixing tardy sterilisation drives and ensuring proper functioning of dog centres. (Illustration: Biswajit Debnath/HT)

    Readers’ Take: Who let the dogs out in the tricity?

    Avoid feeding the problem While the Chandigarh municipal corporation has failed to deal with the stray dog menace, dog lovers who feed these dogs with an almost karmic zeal should share some of the blame. Such people take no responsibility if the dogs they feed chase or bite others. Packs of strays lurk in public parks or street corners, chase vehicles and howl at night disturbing the neighbourhood. There should be designated feeding areas instead.

  • Appoint nodal officer to ensure proper use of funds: Punjab DGP Bhawra to police officials (HT File)

    Appoint nodal officer to ensure proper use of funds: Punjab DGP Bhawra to police officials

    With the funds allotted to the police department by the government for investigation of cases remaining underutilised, Director General of Police VK Bhawra has written to the senior officials to appoint a nodal officer to ensure that the money is used properly and conduct random checks as to where the investigation officers are arranging money from.

  • The two accused were smuggling in the poppy husk and banned pills in a truck from Rajasthan.They were caught at a check point in Ferozepur. (Representative Image/HT File)

    2 held with 140kg poppy husk, 50,000 pills in Ferozepur

    Ferozepur Two men were arrested with 140kg poppy husk and 50,000 banned pills in Ferozepur on Friday. The accused are Kulwant Singh of Nizamwala village and Gurkirtan Singh of Joge Wala village. SSP, Ferozepur, Charanjit Singh Sohal, said, “We setup a checkpoint in the grain market in Lakho Ke Behram village on the Ferozepur-Fazilka Road and recovered 140 kg poppy husk and 50,000 intoxicant tablets and two smartphones from a truck.”

  • Dalit boy stripped, thrashed: NCSC directs Punjab officials to file action taken report

    Dalit boy stripped, thrashed: NCSC directs Punjab officials to file action taken report

    Taking suo moto cognizance, the National Commission for Schedule Castes on Friday issued a notice to Punjab government officials asking them to submit an action taken report till May 26 in an incident wherein a 12-year-old dalit teenager boy was allegedly stripped and thrashed in Muktsar district.

  • Dilbagh admitted to receiving the IED used in the December 23, 2021 Ludhiana court blast from a drone sent from Pakistan and supplying it to the perpetrators of the blast. (Sameer Sehgal /HT)

    Ludhiana court blast: IED supplier among four arrested for cross-border smuggling

    The supplier of the improvised explosive device (IED) used in the Ludhiana court blast was among four persons arrested for their alleged involvement in cross-border smuggling of drugs, explosives arms and ammunition through drones, police said on Friday. The arrested accused are Sawinder Singh, Harpreet Singh and a minor of Dhanoia Khurd village, and Dilbagh Singh of Chak Allah Bakash village in Amritsar. One Surmukh Singh of Panjukalal village, Amritsar is also in police custody.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, May 21, 2022