The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), on Wednesday, made an appeal to the NDA presidential candidate Draupadi Murmu to take personal interest in securing the release of all Sikh detainees languishing in various prisons even after serving their life sentences.
The SAD also urged Murmu to consider clemency appeal of Balwant Singh Rajoana, who was convicted in former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh’s assassination case, once she is elected to the high office. His mercy petition is long pending with the office of the President.
The appeal was made following a decision in this regard at a meeting of the party’s core committee headed by president Sukhbir Singh Badal.
In a letter to the presidential candidate, the SAD expressed confidence that Murmu, “who represented the cause of the minorities, exploited and backward classes, would help in resolving the pending issues of the Sikh community, particularly the release of Sikh detainees”.
The letter said continued incarceration of Sikh detenues even after completion of their life sentences was a cause of grave concern to Sikhs worldwide and they were hopeful she would resolve this issue to the satisfaction of the community.
Giving details, the letter said the foremost was the case of Rajoana who was languishing in jail for the last 28 years. Arguably Bhai Rajoana’s death sentence was commuted to life by the Union government in 2019 on the occasion of 550th birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji. It said besides this a clemency petition with regard to Rajoana was also pending with the office of the President since 2012.
It said the Union government had also decided to release eight other Sikh detenues serving life sentences on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Sahib but this was also pending.
The communication said those due for release included Devinderpal Singh Bhullar, a convict in 1993 Delhi bomb blast case that left nine people dead and injured 31, whose file for release, the SAD said, was pending with the Delhi government since the last eight months awaiting the signature of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
It said other detenues awaiting release included Jagtar Singh Hawara, Paramjit Singh Bheora, Jagtar Singh Tara, Lakhwinder Singh Lakha, Gurmeet Singh and Shamsher Singh, all of whom are languishing in prison since 1995. Another detenue Gurdeep Singh Khaira is incarcerated in the Amritsar Central Jail since 1990, the SAD said.