SGPC delegation meets Punjab Guv, demands release of 9 Sikh prisoners

SGPC delegation meets Punjab Guv, demands release of 9 Sikh prisoners

Chandigarh, Nov 16 (PTI) A delegation of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee met Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit here on Thursday over the release of nine Sikh prisoners.

The apex gurudwara body claimed that nine Sikh prisoners were lodged in different prisons despite having completed their jail sentences.

The delegation led by SGPC chief Harjinder Singh Dhami also submitted to the Governor a detail of 26 lakh proforma filled by the people under a signature campaign for the release of 'bandhi singhs'.

The SGPC has been seeking the release of Sikh prisoners, including Balwant Singh Rajoana -- a convict in former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh's assassination case -- and Devinderpal Singh Bhullar -- a 1993 Delhi bomb blast convict.

Besides Rajoana and Bhullar, the SGPC is also demanding the release of Gurdeep Singh Khera, Jagtar Singh Hawara, Lakhwinder Singh Lakha, Gurmeet Singh, Shamsher Singh, Paramjeet Singh Bheora and Jagtar Singh Tara.

Khera has been serving a life sentence for more than 30 years in a case registered under several sections, including 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and the TADA Act. He was shifted from a jail in Karnataka to the Amritsar jail in 2015.

Hawara is serving a life term in Beant Singh's assassination case while Lakha, Gurmeet and Shamsher are also serving life terms in the same case.

A memorandum seeking the Sikh prisoners' release was submitted to the Governor with the SGPC chief stating that he gave a patient hearing to the delegation.

Through another memorandum in the name of the President of India, an appeal was made to resolve the issue of Rajoana's commutation of death sentence to life term.

Dhami alleged the 'discrimination' against the Sikh prisoners is a violation of human rights.

The SGPC has been requesting the governments repeatedly to take a decision on this serious matter, but it is sad that no decisive action has been taken yet, he said.

The SGPC had on the Akal Takht Sahib's order completed a signature campaign under which 26 lakh people raised their voices in favour of the Sikh prisoners' release.

The Governor was approached to convey these feelings to the President of India, Dhami said.

He added that the issue of the Sikh prisoners' release is extremely important as of now for the concerned community, which will leave no stone unturned to pursue it.

Commenting on Rajoana, the SGPC chief said no decision is being taken on the former's case.

Dhami said the Government of India had issued a notification in 2019 regarding commutation of Rajoana's death sentence to life imprisonment and later the Supreme Court had also ordered the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to take a decision on it.

He added that 'not giving justice despite this is painful'.

The delegation also raised the issue of the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2023, which was passed by the state assembly earlier in June.

Dhami alleged that the Bhagwant Mann government acted beyond its authority by interfering in the Sikh Gurdwaras Act.

The Punjab Assembly had on June 20 passed the Bill aimed at ensuring free telecast of gurbani from the Golden Temple.

The SGPC has been opposing the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2023, claiming that the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925, can only be amended by the Parliament. PTI CHS VSD AS CK

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated feed.

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