October 10, 2009 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Chandigarh/Amritsar (October 10, 2009): A Signature campaign against the death penalty was launched today by the Lawyers for Human Rights International from Chandigarh and Dal Khalsa & the Khalsa Action Committee from Sri Amritsar on the occasion of World Day against the Death Penalty. LFHRI held a seminar at Law Bhawan, Sector 37-C, Chandigarh. LFHRI has also adopted two more extreme cases of victims of Death Penalty. At the Seminar Advocate Navkiran Singh, general secretary of LFHRI informed that petition seeking clemency for Devinderpal Singh Bhullar is prepared by LFHRI and signature campaign shall be carried world over by Sikhs and various human rights organizations.
At Sri Amritsar activists of Dal Khalsa and Khalsa Action Committee the groups camped at the entrance gate of Darbar Sahib for 3 hours to draw people’s attention and create awareness against the death penalty. Signatories kept on pouring till late afternoon to sign the form addressed to the President of India, appealing to abolish the death penalty in Indian in general and commuting of death sentence of Prof Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar, who is on death row in particular.
Seeking conversion of his death sentence to life imprisonment, the petition signed by nearly 1747 men and women from all walks of society urged the President to view the case of Devender Pal Singh Bhullar with a sympathetic consideration.
The petition pointed out that Prof Bhullar deserves a compassionate approach because the judgment against him was a travesty of norms of criminal jurisprudence as the presiding judge has acquitted him and the ones who have convicted him have done so on the basis of a confession extracted under duress while he was in police custody.
Kanwarpal Singh, the organizer of the campaign said death penalty was an inhumane way to punish people. Government should come up with alternatives to death sentence, he added. He said although India has not carried out any execution for many years, yet this unwritten moratorium should be converted into complete abolishment from the Indian statute. In principle, we reiterate our opposition to death penalty, he said and added that their groups favour commutation of death sentence to life imprisonment to one and all on humanitarian grounds.
KAC chairman Bhai Mohkam Singh said in the 40 years rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, not a single person was sentenced to death, including the person who had made an attempt to kill the ruler. The compassionate philosophy of Sikhism and this historical legacy has been followed by all social, religious and political organizations and the land of Punjab has never sought death penalty for anyone. Prominent amongst those who were present includes Sarbjit Singh Ghuman, Narien Singh, Baldev Singh Ajnala.
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