– Central government should implement its notification to commute Bhai Rajoana’s death sentence to life imprisonment – Advocate Dhami
– Matter raised for release of 9 Sikh prisoners with the Governor of Punjab
– Serious consideration demanded on matter of attempted distortion in Sikh Gurdwaras Act by Punjab Government
Chandigarh, November 16-
A high-level delegation of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) led by its President Advocate Harjinder Singh Dhami met Governor of Punjab Banwari Lal Purohit for the release of 9 Bandi Singhs (Sikh prisoners) who have served more sentences than life. Apart from Advocate Dhami, the SGPC delegation included its senior vice-president of Harbhajan Singh Masana, junior vice-president Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa, general secretary Bhai Rajinder Singh Mehta, member Advocate Bhagwant Singh Sialka, assistant secretaries Lakhbir Singh and Harbhajan Singh Vakta.
During this meeting, the SGPC delegation handed over the complete details of 26 lakh proformas filled by the people under the SGPC’s signature campaign with demand letters to the Governor Punjab. In a memorandum given to the Governor of Punjab in the name of the President of India Droupadi Murmu, the release of 9 Sikh prisoners who have served more imprisonment than life has been sought. Among them are the names of Bhai Gurdeep Singh Khera, Prof Devinderpal Singh Bhullar, Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana, Bhai Jagtar Singh Hawara, Bhai Lakhwinder Singh Lakha, Bhai Gurmeet Singh, Bhai Shamsher Singh, Bhai Paramjit Singh Bheora and Bhai Jagtar Singh Tara.
Apart from this, through another memorandum in the name of the President of India, an appeal has been made to resolve the issue of Bhai Rajoana’s commutation of death sentence to life. In these demand letters, details about the Sikh prisoners are recorded and the discriminatory attitude of the governments is also mentioned. Along with this, the SGPC delegation asked the Governor of Punjab to take serious consideration and decision in the matter of attempted distortion in the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925 by the Punjab Government.
Speaking to the media after meeting the Governor, SGPC President Harjinder Singh Dhami said that the discrimination against the Sikh prisoners by the country and state governments 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 the governments are not taking a decisive action. In this regard, on the order of Sri Akal Takht Sahib, the SGPC had completed a signature campaign, under which 26 lakh people have raised their voices in favour of the release of the Sikh prisoners. The Governor of Punjab has been approached to convey these feelings of the Sangat to the President of India, who has assured to send this whole case to the Government of India soon. He said that although these filled 26 lakh proformas were brought from Amritsar to Chandigarh by a truck, but as the Punjab Raj Bhavan did not allow it, they submitted the details in digital form in a pen drive.
Harjinder Singh Dhami said that the issue of the release of Sikh prisoners is the most important one of the time for the Sikh community, which will leave no stone unturned to pursue it. Talking about Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana, he said that no decision is being taken on his case even though he has been lodged in 8X8 feet gallows for the last 17 years. A notification was also issued by the Government of India in 2019 regarding commutation of Bhai Rajoana’s death sentence to life imprisonment and later the Hon’ble Supreme Court has also ordered the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to take a decision on its own. Despite this, not giving justice is painful. The SGPC President said today he has met the Governor of Punjab, while a meeting will also be held with Bhai Rajoana soon and a communication in this regard has been made to DGP Jails, Punjab. Along with this, action has also been initiated for a meeting with the Union Home Minister.
About the conversation with Governor of Punjab regarding the matter of attempted distortion in the Sikh Gurdwaras Act 1925 by the Punjab Government, Harjinder Singh Dhami said that it was an absolutely illegal move, on which he should take a meaningful decision after serious consideration. He said that the Bhagwant Mann government has acted beyond its authority by interfering in the Sikh Gurdwaras Act. The Sikh community cannot tolerate this move of the Punjab government. The SGPC President also thanked the Governor Punjab for giving time for meeting.
On this occasion, SGPC additional secretary Sukhminder Singh was also present.