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Conference in European Parliament: Sikhs demand release of Prof. Bhullar; Resolve against death penalty in India

June 28, 2013 | By

Brussels, Belgium (June 28, 2013): A conference on “Human Rights and Death Penalty in India” was held on June 25, 2013 in European Parliament in Brussels, in which various MEPs and Sikh representatives from across the Europe had participated. The conference was reportedly organized at the initiative of Sikh Federation UK.

The European Sikhs are learnt to have adopted five resolutions at the conclusion of this conference. One of the resolutions calling for “abolition of death penalty in India” reads as follows:

Resolution 2 – Abolish the death penalty in India

Having regard to the European Parliament’s Human Rights annual resolutions condemns recent executions by India after an eight year hiatus that run counter to the regional and global trends to abolish capital punishment; recognises the UN Special Rapporteur on extra judicial, summary or arbitrary executions conclusion on India that the death penalty is being imposed for a growing number of crimes; calls upon the Indian Government to put forward an immediate moratorium on the death penalty; reconsider the May 2012 recommendations of United Nations Human Rights Council related to the abolition of the death penalty and calls on the 27 Member States of the European Union, in particular the two permanent members of the UN Security Council, to collectively raise the need for India to abolish the death penalty at the earliest opportunity at the United Nations General Assembly”.

In another resolutions the European Sikhs sought release of Sikh political prisoner Professor Devender Pal Singh Bhullar. Professor Bhullar faces imminent threat of execution in India. Though the Lt. Governor of Delhi has recently ‘deferred’ the executions of Prof. Bhullar in wake of report of an official medical board confirming sever health problems of Prof. Bhullar. Lt. Governor of Delhi has referred the case to Ministry of Home Affairs, India to take any decision regarding execution of Prof. Bhullar.

Though the decision of Lt. Governor of Delhi is being viewed as an act of installing official stay on execution of Prof. Bhullar for the time being, but this has not decreased the threat perception as regards execution; because from the recently carried execution of in India, it is suspected that he may be execution overnight if the Home ministry decide to go ahead with execution.

The resolution adopted by the European Sikhs, seeking release of Prof. Bhullar, reads as follows:

Resolution 3 – Release Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar

Having regard to the European Parliament’s July 2011 Resolution on India and the death sentence on Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar, Article 2 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, EU Guidelines on the Death Penalty, the EU-India Dialogue on Human Rights, Amnesty International calls on 12 April 2013 for the Professor’s death sentence not to be carried out, to remove him from death row immediately and retry his case in proceedings that comply with international fair trial standards; observes the inconsistent approach by the Supreme Court of India who in the case of Mahendra Nath Das on 1 May 2013 granted clemency on the grounds of inordinate delay as his mercy petition against his execution was kept pending by the President, but two weeks earlier rejected a similar petition filed by Professor Bhullar who waited for eight years for a decision by the President; reiterates its concern that recent independent medical reports commissioned by the Indian authorities regarding the Professor’s mental and physical health suggest that on compassionate and moral grounds his death sentence should be commuted; further urges India to release the Professor without further delay given he has spent more than 18 years in prison following a controversial conviction where M B Shah, the Presiding Judge in the Supreme Court had acquitted the Professor based on the evidence presented; recognises this has become more pressing given the unprecedented move by the special public prosecutor, senior advocate Anoop G Chaudhari, who had appeared against the Professor in the Supreme Court in 2002 to state in April 2013 that a judicial error had been made in awarding the death sentence against the Professor and S S Virk, the former Director General of Punjab Police stating in May 2013 that the Professor was not guilty of what he was being accused of and he deserves justice as he and his family have been wronged”.

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