The Tribune – 1981 plane hijack: Captain orders legal aid for duo

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, 20 July 2017. Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh today directed the state’s legal aid team to extend help to the two Sikhs who were facing double jeopardy, prosecution or punishment of a person twice for the same offence, for hijacking a Srinagar-bound Indian Airlines plane and taking it to Lahore in 1981.

The Chief Minister said Satnam Singh and Tejinder Pal Singh, after completing their sentence in Pakistan, were now facing trial in India on sedition charges, which their counsel described as a “classic example of double jeopardy”.

He said the duo’s life would be spent facing one trial after the other for the “same set of facts”.

While the hijacking was condemnable, any attempt to prosecute the two who had already served life term in Pakistan for the crime would amount to a serious travesty of justice, the Chief Minister has said in a statement.

Damdami Taksal opposes fresh trial

Amritsar: Sikh seminary Damdami Taksal on Thursday slammed the Delhi Police for filing a supplementary challan in a court to initiate a fresh trial against Satnam Singh and Tejinder Pal Singh.

Damdami Taksal head Harnam Singh Khalsa asked the Chief Justice of India to intervene in the matter.

Khalsa cited the case of Bholanath Pandey and Devendar Nath Pandey, who had hijacked a plane in 1978 to seek the release of then opposition leader Indira Gandhi and the withdrawal of all cases against her son Sanjay Gandhi.

“The diametrically opposite approach in the two cases reveals double standards. The Congress gave the party ticket to the Pandeys, who went on to win the Assembly elections. In both incidents, the hijackers neither possessed weapons nor harmed passengers. They wanted to register a protest and seek the release of their respective leaders,” he added.


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