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Akal Takht directs SGPC, DSGMC to fight legal battle for Bhullar’s release

Hindustan Times, Amritsar | By HT Correspondent
PUBLISHED ON DEC 19, 2019 11:07 PM IST

Akal Takht jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh on Thursday directed the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) to fight legal battle for the release of 1993 bomb blast convict Devinderpal Singh Bhullar.

His directive comes two days after the Supreme Court ordered status quo in the matter and stayed the Centre’s proposed remission of life sentence to Bhullar.

The jathedar was addressing the media after a meeting of the Sikh clergy to discuss the issues related to the protection of Mangu Mutt, associated with Guru Nanak, in Odisha.

“The SGPC and DSGMC have been directed to fight legal battle for Devinderpal Singh Bhullar,” he said while replying to a query.

Meanwhile, the SGPC executive committee held at Fatehgarh Sahib on Thursday decided to move the Supreme Court in the matter. “We have decided to move the apex court for Bhullar’s release. All legal expenses will be borne by the SGPC,” said SGPC chief Gobind Singh Longowal.

The committee also decided to urge the Centre to commute the death sentence of Balwant Singh Rajona, convicted for the assassination of then Punjab chief minister Beant Singh in 1995.

The Union home ministry had on September 27 written to the chief secretary of Punjab and adviser to the Chandigarh administrator that on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the Centre had decided that eight Sikh prisoners, including Bhullar, may be granted special remission from life imprisonment.

Replying to another query on Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the jathedar said, “With this Act, many Sikhs living in Delhi have been benefitted. It would have been better if Muslims were also included in the Act.”

Regarding discussions in the meeting, the jathedar said, “All parties related to Mangu Mutt and Gurdwara Dongmar Sahib in Sikkim were called in the meeting. We have formed a joint committee that will be responsible for the protection of Mangu Mutt and resolving the issue of Gurdwara Dongmar Sahib. The committee has also been directed to take legal action if necessary in this regard.”

The Odisha government has begun the process of demolishing the centuries-old Mangu Mutt in Puri. The Puri district administration has, however, said its sanctum sanctorum will be kept intact and only the portion used for commercial activities will be demolished.

Similarly, the Sikh community has been demanding possession of Gurdwara Dongmar Sahib in North Sikkim, which was got evicted by the local residents.

On Thursday, Lok Insaaf Party leader Balwinder Singh Bains also met the jathedar. “I have requested the jathedar to intervene for protection of the Mangu Mutt and other historic places in Odisha,” he said.

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