Gurbaksh stir turns leaders fast into rights' protectors
As fast-unto-death by former militant Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa entered 40th day, it brought the hungry human rights supporter in radicals, ex-ultras, and politicians out at Gurdwara Amb Sahib in SAS Nagar on Monday.Updated: Dec 23, 2013 22:39 IST
As fast-unto-death by former militant Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa entered 40th day, it brought the hungry human rights supporter in radicals, ex-ultras, and politicians out at Gurdwara Amb Sahib in SAS Nagar on Monday.
Amid slogans of "Jo bole so nihal", every speaker on the dais competed to speak for the right of the former militants to walk out of jail since their life sentences were long complete. Reacting to an appeal by Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal to end the fast, Khalsa said on the occasion he would do it the minute all six on his list were free.
Doctors have diagnosed Khalsa with pneumonia and advised him to eat. Looking at cold weather, people have moved him to the gurdwara serai (inn) from the makeshift tent in the open. In the evening, a medical team from Fortis tried to take him to the hospital but he declined. As the team insisted, tension rose inside the gurdwara.
The militants he wants released were sentenced for the assassination of Beant Singh, Punjab chief minister in 1995. Lakhwinder Singh, Shamsher Singh and Gurmeet Singh are lodged in Chandigarh's Burail jail, while Waryam Singh is in Bareilly and Gurdeep Singh Khaira in Gulbarga. Lal Singh came out last week from the maximum security jail in Nabha.
Congress spokesman Sukhpal Singh Khaira, who also addressed the Monday gathering, said he backed Khalsa's cause and would discuss it with Punjab party president Partap Singh Bajwa, and if need be, with governor Shivraj Patil as well. "I am here for the cause of human rights. In case a criminal or a militant has completed sentence, why can't he be released," he added.
Former Akal Takht jathedar Jasbir Singh Rode, who is close to Damdami Taksal chief Harnam Singh Dhuma, said the government was making all effort to release the six on Khalsa's list and the end of the matter was near. Mokam Singh of Panthic Morcha asked the government to defuse the situation before it turns ugly. Sikh students' federation leader Karnail Singh Peer Mohammad asked the regime to act fast.
Doctors, who returned with police but still failed to take Khalsa along, said the protester was running out of time.
Three likely to be released today
Militants Lakhwinder Singh, Shamsher Singh and Gurmeet Singh are expected to come out of the Burail jail on parole on Tuesday. The case of Gurmeet Singh is okay from the district administration, while the two other two have not reached Patiala district, so far, for no objection. All three belong to Patiala and the local administration has to take a call if they should be free. The inspector general of prisons in Chandigarh said the UT administrator should clear the release, since it's a high-profile case and parole would be granted for the first time.
First Published: Dec 23, 2013 22:38 IST