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Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

Sikh organisations welcome release of prisoners

The government has decided to release eight Sikh prisoners, lodged in different jails in the country for committing crimes during the militancy period in Punjab.

india Updated: Oct 01, 2019 10:47 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
(Representative image)
         

Sikhs of America, a leading community organisation, has welcomed the government’s decision to release Sikh prisoners by the government in a move aimed at assuaging the sentiments of the community and block Pakistan’s effort to fuel the separatist movement for Punjab.

“When we met Prime Minister in Houston, he reminded us that one of our demands from 2014 memorandum will soon be answered,” Jesse Singh, chairman, Sikhs of America said, thanking PM Modi for the gesture. The only remaining demand from the 2014 meeting was release of Sikh prisoners from Indian prisons.

The government has decided to release eight Sikh prisoners, lodged in different jails in the country for committing crimes during the militancy period in Punjab.

The announcement, a humanitarian gesture came as part of Indian celebrations on 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in November as a humanitarian gesture.

Kanwaljit Singh Soni, president of Sikhs of America and Baljinder Singh thanked the Home Ministry for announcing that through a special remission, the death sentence of another Sikh prisoner has been commuted to life imprisonment.

Charan Kanwal Singh Sekhon, chairman SEVA Trust UK , who was at a 2015 meeting with PM Modi, also welcomed the government’s decisions. “These are very positive moves clearly indicating the sincere efforts by the government in a really important year when we are celebrating 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji who was a true messenger of peace, love and serving the humanity, Sekhon, who is also Councillor Sharnbrook Council, Bedford, said.

“Sikhs are a peace loving community and we would like to see India as a stable, prosper nation and a strong global player that respects all faiths and religions and I am confident these positive steps will help to establish and sustain a long term peace and progression in Punjab,” he said.

The Home Ministry has decided to commute the death sentence of Balwant Singh Rajoana, who was convicted for the assassination of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh, to life imprisonment. Beant Singh, credited for playing a key role in ending terrorism in Punjab, was assassinated on August 31, 1995.

Earlier this month, the government had effectively scrapped a 35-year-old “black list” that prevented 312 members of the Sikh community holding foreign passports from travelling to India due to their alleged role during the militant Khalistan movement in Punjab. Only two people have been banned entry into the country.

First Published: Sep 30, 2019 15:26 IST

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