November 22, 2014 | By Media Report
Jalandhar, Punjab: In yet another bid to wrest Sikh issues from its Punjab alliance partner SAD, the state BJP has decided to support the demand for the release of jailed Sikh militants, who have completed their sentences.
After Punjab BJP spokesperson R P S Maini visited Gurbax Singh Khalsa, who is sitting on a fast at a gurdwara in Ambala to demand the release of the Sikh prisoners, the Punjab leadership of the party is toying with the idea of taking up the issue with the central government. This is the second major issue BJP is taking away from SAD in the recent past after its earlier demand for the review of the black list of Sikhs.
Khalsa also talked to Punjab BJP president Kamal Sharma on phone and urged him to take up the issue with the Centre.
Sikh [Jathedars], SGPC, Shiromani Akali Dal leadership and the Punjab government had earlier cold-shouldered Khalsa’s demand and he had even tried to put Akal Takht Jathedar in the dock stating that the Jathedar did not keep his promise of getting the prisoners released. His hunger strike has completed eight days on Friday.
“I visited Khalsa at Gurdawara Lakhnaur near Ambala on Wednesday to support the demand. Why shouldn’t the Sikh prisoners, who have served their sentence, be released?” asked Maini on Friday. “I have also talked to the state BJP president and urged him to take up the issue with the Centre and Punjab government,” he revealed.
“We will discuss the issue in the state executive and then take a final call,” said Punjab BJP president Kamal Sharma.
Sources said Khalsa had earlier met leaders of Rashtriya Sikh Sangat, a wing of the RSS, in Delhi and sought help for the release of the prisoners.
“Rashtriya Sikh Sangat leaders are also taking up the issue with Union home minister,” said Maini.
“Punjab government had not listened to us and we are approaching the Union government,” said Gurpreet Singh Guri Hans, a close aide of Khalsa. “What is wrong in exploring all options when Punjab government and SGPC failed to help us,” he said, reacting to the controversy over Khalsa meeting the RSS leaders.
Khalsa had sat on a hunger strike for 44 days at Gurdwara Amb Sahib at Mohali, demanding the release of six Sikh prisoners, including three sentenced in Beant Singh assassination case. Initially, Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal claimed that the state government could do little in their release but after a groundswell in support of the issue the government facilitated the prisoners’ release on parole.
Khalsa is now demanding the release of seven prisoners, including three assassins of Beant Singh — Shamsher Singh, Gurmit Singh, Lakhwinder Singh — and death row convict Devenderpal Singh Bhullar, whose sentence was commuted to life by the Supreme Court.
Note: Above content was originally published by Times of India (TOI), under title: “Sikh prisoners: BJP bids to wrest issue from SAD” by IP Singh,TNN [Nov 22, 2014, 06.22 AM IST] at source url: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/Sikh-prisoners-BJP-bids-to-wrest-issue-from-SAD/articleshow/45237249.cms . It’s reproduced as above for the information of readers/ visitors of the Sikh Siyasat News (SSN).
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