October 4, 2011 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
San Jose, California (USA): (September 11, 2011): US Congressman Mike Honda of the 15th Congressional District of California wrote a letter against capital punishment in the case of Professor DevinderPal Singh Bhullar in India.
As an outspoken opponent of capital punishment, Congressman Honda wrote to the Indian Ambassador to the US, Nirupama Rao, and appealed to the Government of India to give serious consideration to reducing its severe sentence on Prof Bhullar. The matter of Prof Bhullar was brought to Mike Honda’s attention by concerned constituents of the 15th Congressional District.
“Mike Honda is a champion in the fight against capital punishment both at home and abroad,” says Bobby Singh Shoker, a local Sikh who is concerned about the death penalty to Prof Bhullar. “By supporting clemency to Prof Bhullar, Mike Honda has proven once again that he genuinely cares for the matters of concern to his constituents.”
Prof. Bhullar, a former instructor at Guru Nanak Engineering Polytechnic College Ludhiana, Punjab, India has been sentenced to death in suspicion of involvement in a bombing in New Delhi in 1993 in which nine people were killed. Prof. Bhullar has been convicted on the sole basis of a confessional statement extracted from him during his interrogation through torture and the threat of death. One of the three presiding Supreme Court Judges Justice M.P. Shah had acquitted Prof. Bhullar citing lack of credible evidence. The death sentence was handed down by a split decision (2-1) of the Supreme Court of India under political pressure. This is the first time in the history of modern India that a person has been handed death penalty on a split decision.
“The Sikh community throughout the world is standing together in support for Prof Bhullar. The common feeling amongst Sikhs is that Prof Bhullar is a political prisoner and has been denied justice for too long. We want him to be set free as he has already served 16 years in prison, of which last 8 years were spent on death row in solitary confinement” states Navkiran Kaur Khalra, daughter of late Human Rights Activist Jaswant Singh Khalra.
Professor Bhullar’s mother and brother are both citizens of US and his wife is a citizen of Canada. Tejinder Singh, brother of Prof Bhullar states “Protecting human rights and freedom are the core values upon which United States was founded centuries ago. We appreciate the support that Congressman Mike Honda has offered in the case of my brother”.
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