February 27, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
London, United Kingdom (February 27, 2013): It is learnt that the UK Parliamentarians are going to debate on the issue of death penalty and human rights abuses in India. The debate is considered to be result of persistent efforts of campaigners of Kesri Lehar who were able to collect 1,18,000 signatures on the Kesri Lehar petition. Many parliamentarians had also endorsed the petition that was handed over to UK’s Prime Minister on December 10 last year.
As per information the two and a half hour debate is scheduled to take place in the main chamber of the House of Commons on Thursday; February 28, 2013.
It is further learnt that the Sikh Federation (UK), a UK based Sikh body, has produced and distributed a 7,500 word briefing to over 100 UK Members of Parliament in the last 24 hours for those who can attend to use during a debate in the UK Parliament on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in India.
The briefing distributed by Sikh Federation begins by stating: Punishment by death is against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a “premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state.”
To highlight the significance of the issue the Sikh Federation (UK) briefing quotes certain media sections from India as reporting in February 2013 that ‘India is currently reporting one death penalty sentence every third day.’
The briefing provides general background on the Death Penalty in India and extensive details on the case history and current situation of Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar that many others misrepresent or are simply unaware of.
Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK), said:
‘We expect at least one hour of the debating time to be focused on Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar alone. There is much that can be taken from his case history to show the fundamental failings of the Indian judicial system. If there is any justice in India the Professor should be released without any further delay.’
MPs are also expected to cover the case of Balwant Singh Rajoana and the worldwide protests by Sikhs to stop his hanging last year. The briefing sets out that Dilawar Singh and Balwant Singh Rajoana witnessed the former Chief Minister of Punjab, Beant Singh, order the mass killing of innocent Sikhs – men, women, and children and goes on to say:
‘During Beant Singh’s tenure it has been widely reported the police and paramilitary forces were responsible for the killing of more than twenty-five thousand Sikhs who were either disappeared or were killed and their bodies cremated by the police in extrajudicial executions.’
The briefing also provides specific examples of extra-judicial killings of Sikhs by the police in the last two years to demonstrate the Indian authorities have returned to eliminating Sikhs and political opponents through extra-judicial killings without having to take cases to court and secure prosecutions.
UK MPs are expected to widen the debate and some may go as far as to question the Indian State as a democracy with the widespread criminalisation of politics and a judicial system that has all but failed.
It is rumoured that many pro-Indian UK politicians are making excuses and will stay away from the debate. Privately they are believed to be furious a debate is taking place that will inevitably result in criticism of India. They are saying it will be a one-sided debate as the UK Government will have no choice but to condemn India for retaining the death penalty and other human rights violations.
The Sikh Federation (UK) briefing concludes by asking UK MPs to raise a number of questions and make proposals that will exert pressure on the UK Government to work with EU Member States and other nations across the globe opposed to the death penalty to take the issue up at the United Nations.
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