The Punjab government has decided to release Sikh militant Hardeep Singh who is lodged in Amritsar Central Jail since 1993.
Hardeep’s name is in the list of Sikh prisoners that Bapu Surat Singh Sangharsh Committee has submitted to the state government seeking their immediate release.
A native of Chuslewar village in Tarn Taran district, Hardeep was convicted of a murder that took place in 1991. He was arrested in 1993 and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1997.
On Wednesday evening, he was sent on a 14-day parole; he had been out on parole earlieras well.
Amritsar Jail Superintendent R K Sharma confirmed about the orders for permanent release of Hardeep Singh and that he has been told to arrange the required documents.
Sharma said Hardeep’s conduct was good inside jail, which is why he would be released on parole.
Talking to The Indian Express, Hardeep said, “My parole was due on Wednesday. As I was ready to leave jail around 6 pm in evening, jail officials surprised me by congratulating me. They told me that the government has decided in favour of my permanent release.”
“I was out on bail in 2001 after we had filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against my life imprisonment. The High Court granted me bail. I, along with (another prisoner) Hardial Singh Chatra, came out on bail. But we lost the case and the court restored our sentence in 2006. I produced myself and resumed my punishment. Harjinder Singh didn’t produce himself immediately. He decided to produce himself only around one and half year back and hence his sentence is still due. My sentence ended in 2012,” added Hardeep.
“The government should free every prisoner who has completed his punishment. I am thankful to the Punjab government for my release. It is a good step. I was also aware about the hunger strikes of Gurbaksh Singh and Surat Singh Khalsa. Their efforts definitely proved helpful in my release. I thank them for their efforts.”
Hardeep got married after he was out on bail in 2001. He has two sons. He was 27 when he was arrested for the murder.
The Sangarsh committee, it is learnt, has claimed credit for Hardeep’s release.