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Fabricating another controversy – Indian media outcries at grant of parole to Sikh political prisoners

December 27, 2013 | By

Chandigarh/ Punjab (December 27, 2013): The electronic media in Indian turned blind eye over the hunger strike struggle of a Sikh farmer from Haryana for more than five weeks as the issue was related to the Sikh political prisoners.

But for last few days India’s electronic media, especially the TIMES NOW news channel, has started covering the issue but in an entirely different (biased) manner.

The reason behind the change is that as a partial success to the struggle of Bhai Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa, one of the Sikh prisoners Bhai Gurmeet Singh was released on parole for 28 days on December 25. It is for the first time that he was granted temporary release in last 18 years since his arrest in 1995. He was convicted for his role in assassination of Punjab’s former chief minister Beant Singh, who was accused of unleashing the region of state terror on civilian Sikh population. The assassination of CM Beant Singh was an act motivated by existential concerns of the Sikhs in Punjab.

TIMES NOW is actively attempting to fake a controversy over the release of Bhai Gurmeet Singh. The news channel owned/controlled by India Today Group termed Bhai Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa as former Khalistani ‘terrorist’, who had been on indefinite fast seeking release of Sikh prisoners.

“In a major political controversy, 18 years after former Punjab CM Beant Singh’s assassination, one of his three killers Gurmeet Singh was granted a 28-day parole, but the Punjab government is being accused of buckling under pressure after Gurbaksh Singh, a former Khalistani terrorist, is on an indefinite fast for over 40 days now demanding parole for six Sikh prisoners” said TIMES NOW news presenter.

A still from TIMES NOW’s news report

TIMES NOW is presenting that the release of Bhai Gurmeet Singh has posed a threat to India’s security. It has aired statements of some persons to built an impression that there has been wide-spread criticism of the decision of Punjab government to grant parole to Bhai Gurmeet Singh.

“Very unfortunate. Government should follow the rules, and particularly when there is a killer of Chief Minister, Government of Punjab should be very careful in this regard” said Rashid Alvi, Leader of Congress, who was presented by TIMES NOW as a critic of the decision to release Bhai Gurmeet Singh on parole.

“So, I think it is unacceptable for any proud nation, because it will not only betrayal of the nation, it is also encouraging such terrorist elements, from indulging in such heinous crimes”, said Birg. Israr Rahim Khan, who was presented by TIMES NOW as second critic of the decision.

However the situation in Punjab is such that Bhai Gurmeet Singh’s release was viewed as a positive development, because this temporary release is considered to be an initial step to provide him opportunity to reintegrate with the society.

Moreover former CM Beant Singh’s family members have already made it clear that they have no objection to the release of Gurmeet Singh, and two others, if they are granted parole or premature release.

Moreover there is another strong basis which shows that the parole of Bhai Gurmeet Singh is a positive development. Ravi Kumar, Additional Session Judge, who had passed sentence of life imprisonment against Gurmeet Singh and others had specifically noted in his judgement that: –

“1642. Above all, there is also nothing on the file to say that these convicts were previous offenders or involved in any other criminal activities and as such there is no possibility of their reformation and rehabilitation. On the contrary, their act and conduct coupled with their roles forces this court to note that atleast these three convicts can be reformed and rehabilitated as a responsible citizen of India”. (Excerpt from decision in case State v. Gurmeet Singh etc.; Sessions case no. 2-A of 1995).

It is clear that the specific opinion of the judge who had heard the case of CM Beant Singh’s assassination for years, and who had noted the conduct of all the persons facing the trial, forms a firm basis to extend an opportunity to Gurmeet Singh and others to re-integrate with their families and lead the life of a responsible person.

The coverage of TIMES NOW is clearly biased. It is an attempt to fake a controversy, infect the minds of viewers with vilified propaganda and construct an adverse public opinion to harms the hamper the cause of Sikh political prisoner.

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