December 19, 2019 6:44:18 pm
A day after the Supreme Court ordered status quo and stayed the proposed remission of life sentence of 1993 bomb blast convict Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar, Jag Aasra Guru Ott (Jathedar Santokh Singh) president Manjit Singh GK on Wednesday said his party would move the apex court seeking Bhullar’s release if his family gave a nod.
In a written statement, GK said, “Punjab government, Shiromani Akali Dal, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and DSGMC are responsible for the status quo in the case.”
GK said that when he was president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee president, the committee had played an important role in saving Bhullar and former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh’s assassin Beant Singh Rajoana from going to the gallows. “This time both SAD and Delhi committee faltered,” he added.
In the Rajoana issue, GK said, “Instead of getting Rajoana released, the Akali Dal remained busy in taking credit for it. Due to this some persons including Beant Singh’s grandson (Lok Sabha MP) Ravneet Singh Bittu got an opportunity to oppose the Centre’s decision and Union Home Minister Amit Shah had to say in Lok Sabha that the Centre had not taken any decision for the premature release of Rajoana.”
The Ministry of Home Affairs had on September 27 written to the chief secretaries of Punjab, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnatka, NCT of Delhi and advisor to Chandigarh administrator that on the occasion of commemoration of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the Government of India had decided that 8 Sikh prisoners may be granted special remission and death sentence of one Sikh prisoner may be commuted to life imprisonment.
As per the list annexed with the letter, the case of sentence of Rajoana, who is on death row, was recommended for commutation to life imprisonment. Bhullar, who is serving life imprisonment, was among the eight prisoners whose cases were recommended for premature release.
While one among the eight prisoners mentioned in the list was acquitted by the Supreme Court in January 2017 itself, two others walked out of Patiala jail after the concerned State/UT gave its procedural nod. The cases of all which were recommended for remission. According to a Punjab government official, functionaries were sent to respective States/UT and National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi where they faced cases, but barring the go-ahead for the two who were released, there has been no response in remaining cases.
The Supreme Court stayed the proposed remission for Bhullar on Tuesday and issued notice to the Centre for a response following a petition by former Youth Congress leader M S Bitta in which he opposed the proposed remission to Bhullar. The 1993 blast was carried out to target Bitta, who survived the attack but got injured.
Bhullar’s wife Navneet Kaur said her husband had already served more than two decades in jail and was suffering from a mental illness. Reacting to the Supreme Court order, she said, “We may have to move the Supreme Court to seek relief.”
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