Recently I posted an article from the Tribune (Chandigarh) on my blog that highlighted the fact that a lot of noise was made about Balwant Singh Rajoana, but that apart from him there are eleven more prisoners in similar situations.
“The convicts sentenced to death and languishing in the [Panjab] jails are Vikram Singh, Jasbir Singh, Balwant Singh Rajoana, Mohinder Singh, Suraj Ahluwalia, Resham Singh, Gurnayab Singh, Kulbir Singh, Gurmukh Singh, Saleem, Judge Singh and Gurwail Singh. While some were given the sentence in 2005 and 2006, others were awarded the penalty in 2007, 2011 and 2012.”
From an article by Aman Sood, Tribune News Service, April 3.
This list does not include Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar, as he is not in a Panjabi jail.
What is needed is that groups concerned with Human Rights in Panjab come together, investigate these cases and decide on a strategy.
Whatever these convicts have been up to, whatever their crimes, nobody deserves to be condemned to death and then live for years between hope of life and fear of death. And I hope that most Sikhs will agree with me that the death penalty should be abolished altogether.
I think that we should make an inventory of those that are still in prison as a result of (alleged) crimes committed during the period from the late seventies till the early nineties, some of whom might never have been convicted of any crime.
It was good that we were present in Leuven (near Brussel) when Kamal Nath addressed a conference there. But also in this type of situations we run from incident to incident, there is no strategy.
We have been told that the Indian central government has passed an amendment of the Anand Marriage Act which would allow Sikhs to marry without having to register under the Hindu Marriage Act.
In most European countries Sikhs have no problem marrying according to the Anand Karaj ceremony as set out in the Sikh Rehat Maryada, while registering their marriage under a neutral general act.
This is not a feasible option in India as long as article 25 of the constitution throws Buddhists, Hindus, Jains and Sikhs together on one messy heap !
We have to constantly hammer this point, not by denying the common roots of the four Dharmic religions, but by insisting that within that context all four have their own particular tradition.
Let us all stop saying that spiritual verses of Muslims and Hindus are included in the Guru Granth Sahib, but be specific and say that verses of Sufi Muslims and Bhakti Hindus are to be found in our Eternal Guru. That might also do away with this strange idea that Guru’s Sikhí is a cocktail of Islam and Hinduism.