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Release of Sikh Prisoners who have completed their sentence – Memorandum by Sikh intellectuals & Activists

January 3, 2015 | By

Chandigarh: Sikh intellectuals including former IAS Gurtej Singh and Sikh historian Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon, along with former Akal Takht Jatehdar Bhai Ranjit Singh and Sikh activists Advocate Harpal Singh Cheema, Harcharanjit Singh Dhami, Sarabjit Singh, Manjit Singh Mohali and Advocate Harshinder Singh, and former Punjab DGP (Prisons) Shashi Kant have reportedly sent a memorandum to Indian President urging him to facilitate release of Sikh political prisoners languishing in Indian jails.

The memorandum reads as follows:


The President of India,

Rashtrpati Bhawan,
New Delhi

Your Excellency,

The purpose of this memorandum is to bring to your notice the continuing immense suffering and pain that the Sikh people have been undergoing for the past three decades.

The Sikhs were the third party to the freedom of India. They joined the Indian Union on the express understanding that they would be empowered to preserve their cultural identity and that the new constitution of India, based on evolved democratic political ethos would be equally applied to all constituents of the Union. Their protests in the constituent assembly that the solemn promises made to them were being violated were brushed aside with palliatives by those who mattered. Soon after the adoption of the constitution of India they were obliged to seek justice for their state, the Punjab and power to preserve their distinct identity in the new political union by resorting to peaceful agitations as are permitted by democratic norms and practises all over the world. But the ruling permanent cultural majority treated the Sikh concern as a law and order problem rather than as a political, economic and social grievance requiring redressal. It proceeded to suppress thePunjab agitations by violent means. The suppression in 1984 was particularly brutal and barbarian.

The Guru’s Darbar at Amritsar, the heart of the Sikh faith was invaded by the armed forces of the union, indiscriminate massacre was perpetrated, the Darbar premises were subjected to the unrestrained loot, the Sikh Reference Library containing some of the most sacred artefacts and holy books was deliberately burnt down by the occupying armed forces. The Sikh volunteers gave a befitting violent reply on the same lines as was possible in the circumstances. The government retaliated by enacting draconian laws and by imprisoning totally innocent Sikh leaders to suppress the Sikh people.

In another tactical response the government prevented the real leaders of the Sikhs from coming to power in the Punjab and handed over political power to the collaborators pledged to carrying on war on the Sikhs and the Punjab in behalf of their masters. They in turn employed murders and abductors in uniform to assist in their nefarious undertaking.

This situation resulted in imprisoning of thousands of innocent people. Some of them have since perished in prisons in the most inhuman conditions. Some, able to prove their innocence, escaped the legal noose. Even after three decades and more, some still remain entrapped. Some of these prisoners of conscience have not been given parole ever (contrast that with the annual ‘furlough’ routinely granted to convict Sanjay Datt and the blanket bail to M. Kondani convicted to imprisonment for 28 years for similar crimes).

There has been a change of guard at the centre. The 1984 massacre of the Sikhs has now been appropriately recognised as genocide by the government of India. If proper probes are conducted, the great injustice done to the Sikhs and the Punjab will be further established. To facilitate an atmosphere in which India can do justice to itself and the Sikhs, we the undersigned urge Your Excellency to facilitate and nurture the possibility by releasing Sikh political prisoners still languishing in jails. Some of them have completed the jail terms inflicted upon them, vast majority of them remain under-trial for best part of the last three decades. It is a historical task that now rests on the wise shoulders of a seasoned statesman like Your Excellency. We hope the Sikhs and the Punjab will not once again be betrayed the irrational fear that haunts the highly insecure 82% ruling majority backed by the immense military might of the modern state that inspires it to take on China and Pakistan.

with Regards

Dr. Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon, S. Gurtej Singh (ex IAS), Shashi Kant (Ex IPS), Advocate Harpal Singh Cheema, Singh Sahib Ranjit Singh(Ex Jathedar Sri Akal Takhat Sahib), Harcharanjit Singh Dhami, S. Sarabjit Singh(editor India Awareness), Manjit Singh Mohali, Advocate Harshinder Singh.


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