January 27, 2024

Cos Leos

Noticias Latinoamericanas y Actualidad Mundial Manténgase informado y lea las últimas noticias de The Cosleos.com, la fuente definitiva para el periodismo independiente de todos los rincones del mundo.

Decode Politics: Why the case of life convict Davinderpal Singh Bhullar continues to be a hot button issue in Punjab? | Political Pulse News

4 min read

THE POLITICS over the fate of Khalistani activist and TADA convict Davinderpal Singh Bhullar, who has been in jail since 1995, has begun afresh, with the Akali Dal and Aam Aadmi Party trading charges over the latest rejection of his appeal for premature release by the Sentence Review Board of New Delhi’s Tihar Jail.

A professor of mechanical engineering, Bhullar (58) was sentenced to death in August 2001 for a 1993 bomb blast outside the Youth Congress office in New Delhi, which was apparently meant to target the then Youth Congress chief M S Bitta. and left nine dead and 31 injured. In March 2014, his death sentence was commuted to life by the Supreme Court.

While he has been lodged in Tihar Jail since 1995, but allowed out on parole for periods amounting to more than three years. After being diagnosed with depression, he was shifted to an Amritsar hospital in 2015, and later transferred to Amritsar Central Jail for a while.

* How many times has Bhullar sought premature release?

In 2011, the then President of India, Pratibha Patil, had rejected his mercy petition. Since then, it is the seventh time Bhullar’s petition for premature release has been declined — after rejections twice in 2018, once in 2019, and thrice in 2020.

In 2019, the Centre had given concurrence for his premature release during the 550th anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev. But his release was deferred thrice in 2022. Now, it has been rejected by the Tihar board, which is the competent authority in his case.

Festive offer

Why are the Akalis blaming Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal?

The Akalis, who have taken up the case of all political prisoners (including pro-Khalistan activists), are blaming Kejriwal and the AAP, as the chairperson of the Tihar Sentence Review Board is Delhi Jails Minister Kailash Gehlot. On Tuesday, Akali Dal chief Sukhbir SIngh Badal wrote on X, “Shocking heinous crime against humanity by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and his puppet (Punjab CM) Bhagwant Mann. By teaming up to reject the premature release plea of Prof Davinderpal Singh Bhullar, they have both sprinkled salt on the wounds of the Sikh Sangat.”

He added, “The human rights of Prof Bhullar are being violated by keeping him in incarceration for around 29 years, despite his precarious health condition.”

Another Akali leader, Bikram Singh Majithia, demanded that the reasons for rejecting Bhullar’s plea be made public. “The Punjabis have a right to know why the plea was kept pending for the last five years, and why it has been rejected now. This amounts to violating the human rights of Bhullar,” Majithia said.

While they don’t publicly support Khalistan, the Akali position has become more nuanced over time, with them seeking the release of incarcerated radicals these days, especially since they have been out of power in the state.

What is AAP saying?

AAP chief spokesperson Malvinder Singh Kang has accused the Akali Dal of “peddling lies”, pointing out that the Sentence Review Board comprised seven members, and that besides Gehlot, the other six are from the BJP, an old Akali ally. Kang also cited minutes of the board meeting to claim that only Gehlot had supported Bhullar’s release while the other six had voted against the motion.
Kang also said that police in Amritsar, Bhullar’s home district in AAP-ruled Punjab, had given a no-objection certificate to Bhullar’s premature release. Bhullar’s physical and mental health is not very good, he added.

Has there been a change of stance by parties?

The Akalis who are now seeking Bhullar’s premature release had earlier been his critics. In 2009, the then Parkash Singh Badal-led government had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court branding Bhullar a terrorist. Bhullar’s counsel Jaspal Singh Manjhpur has also accused the Akalis of opposing his transfer to Punjab. “They only allowed it during Baba Surat Singh’s hunger strike seeking release of Sikh prisoners.” Baba Surat Singh is a Sikh activist, who rose to fame in the 2010s for sitting on a hunger strike seeking the release of incarcerated Sikhs.

The Akali stand showed a change in 2013, the year Badal as CM met then prime minister Manmohan Singh and sought clemency for Bhullar, stating that his hanging could create a law and order situation in Punjab.

The third party with major stakes in Punjab, the Congress, has avoided speaking on the issue of clemency for Bhullar, as his crime involved bombing of its then Youth Congress president. Congress leader Sukhpal Khaira had also questioned the Badal government’s plea for clemency for Bhullar in 2013.

However, there are differences within the party over the issue. Amarinder Singh, who is against capital punishment on principle, supported clemency for Bhullar while in the Congress. Other Congress leaders too now say that the case should be treated “as per rules”, which is seen as a softening of stance.

Copyright © All rights reserved. | Newsphere by AF themes.