‘Pardon Bhullar for sake of communal harmony’

A delegation of Shiromani Akali Dal leaders led by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday met President Pranab Mukherjee to seek pardon for death row convict Devinderpal Singh Bhullar,whose mercy plea was rejected by the President last week.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: April 16, 2014 12:03 pm

A delegation of Shiromani Akali Dal leaders led by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday met President Pranab Mukherjee to seek pardon for death row convict Devinderpal Singh Bhullar,whose mercy plea was rejected by the President last week.

Speaking to reporters after meeting Mukherjee,Badal said the SAD delegation requested the President to pardon Bhullar for the sake of “hard-earned communal harmony and peace in Punjab and the rest of India”.

The petition submitted by SAD said that Bhullar was not in a fit state of mind an even the Ministry of External Affairs had suggested commutation of his death sentence. Bhullar has been in custody for the last 17 years.

The SAD leaders are learnt to have told the President that Bhullar’s case didn’t fall in the category of “rarest of the rare” cases and,therefore,the Supreme Court’s verdict upholding the death sentence awarded by the Designated TADA Court to Bhullar be “reviewed” and that he be “acquitted in the interest of justice”.

“There are other technical points as well. There is a law that when somebody is very,very sick,he should not be hanged. For the last two-and-a-half years,he has been very sick. But our main stress is on communal harmony,” Badal said.

The Akalis were of the view that since the apex court gave a 2:1 verdict confirming the death sentence,he should not be hanged in view of the dissenting view of one of the judge. The punishment in such instances is a life sentence,the party said.

The delegation that met the President included Deputy Punjab Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and party MPs Harsimrat Kaur,Naresh Gujral and Rattan Singh Ajnala.

On April 15,the Badals had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde in connection with Bhullar’s case.

The President had rejected the mercy petition of Bhullar,who was convicted by the TADA court in 2001 for his role in 1993 Delhi blast that killed nine people at the Youth Congress office here. The target was M S Bitta,who was then the Youth Congress President.

Seeking clemency,Sikh bodies march to Delhi

Fatehgarh Sahib: Various Sikh organisations Thursday started a march from Gurdwara Jyoti Swarup to Delhi seeking clemency for Khalistani terrorist Devinderpal Singh Bhullar. Representatives of the Sikh organisations claimed that more than 75 lakh signatures have already been collected on a letter seeking clemency for Bhullar,which will be handed over to President Pranab Mukherjee on April 19. They appealed the Chief Minister to convene a special session of state Assembly and pass a resolution favouring clemency for Bhullar.

After slamming Akalis,Cong hints support to Bhullar mercy

While slamming the SAD for “shedding crocodile tears” over the fate of death convict Devinderpal Singh Bhullar,the Punjab Congress on Thursday said the Khalistan terrorist had every right to seek judicial and administrative relief if permitted by law.

A press note issued by state party president Partap Singh Bajwa,said: “The Congress respects the human rights of every individual person,including death convicts,and in this case,Devinderpal Singh Bhullar has every right to seek judicial and administrative relief if permitted by law.”

Bajwa’s statement follows former Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh seeking clemency for Bhullar in a meeting party chief Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday.

Meanwhile,while accusing Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal of “shedding crocodile’s tears” over rejection of Bhullar’s mercy petition,Bajwa said Badal was pretending to be a well-wisher of the Sikh community to achieve his narrow political gains.

In a statement here,Bajwa said:”SAD and BJP are locked in an unholy political alliance and they stand exposed on the issue of granting clemency to Bhullar by taking contrary stand. Both parties are compromising democratic values and national interests to remain in power… BJP national secretary Laxmi Kanta Chawla and Punjab BJP president Kamal Sharma are on record opposing clemency to Bhullar.”

Asking Badal to publicly clarify on his alleged double standards on the issue,Bajwa said that while on one hand,Badal had demanded clemency for Bhullar,on the other,he had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court in 2009 terming him to be a terrorist.

“Badal had in 2009 refused to accept a request for shifting of Bhullar to a jail in Punjab,citing security reasons. A petition was filed by his lawyer to shift Bhullar to Punjab jail as he was suffering from depression and hypertension. At that time,Badal had refused to show any mercy on Bhullar who was dying a slow death in cell for condemned prisoners at Tihar Jail in Delhi,” he said.

“Badal should also explain to the Sikhs the viewpoint of the BJP,while supporting the death penalty to Bhullar. Is this alliance not a marriage of convenience merely for votes? Badal also did a U-turn on passing a resolution in the Vidhan Sabha in 2011,seeking clemency for Bhullar on the dictates of the BJP,” added Bajwa.

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