The Tribune – Sukhbir asks Rajnath to release Sikh detainees

Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 8. Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal today targeted the BJP-led Central Government by questioning the release of terror convicts in the past, including those in Punjab and the North-East, and BJP’s relationship with a separatist leader of Jammu and Kashmir.

Sukhbir, along with senior party leader Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief Avtar Singh Makkar, met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh this morning to seek the release of Sikh detainees who have completed their mandated sentence in prison and are eligible for release under the premature release policy.

Rajnath is learnt to have assured the delegation of looking into the cases from the legal angle.

Sukhbir later told The Tribune that the Congress had in the past suggested names of terror convicts and got them released.

“I am referring to Wassan Singh Zaffarwal and Dr Sohan Singh. How were they released?” he said. Zaffarwal and Dr Sohan Singh, a former doctor with the Punjab Government, have been associated with the Khalistan movement.

“Look at the case of ULFA (a North-East insurgent group). Their men are free to roam about,” he said.

Sukhbir also cited the case of Jammu and Kashmir separatist leader Sajjad Lone, who is now a “partner of the BJP”. “There are more cases in J&K where prisoners have been released or allowed amnesty. Why this discrimination against the Sikhs?” he said.

The same yardstick has been used by the Centre to free some convicts earlier, he said. “We feel this stand (of seeking release of prisoners) is in consonance with the reformatory approach in the furtherance of the criminal justice system,” a statement of the Punjab Government said tonight.

Sukhbir Badal, who is president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, said: “My party is only endorsing the sentiments of the Punjabis and no one should try to label it as an anti-national party.” Sukhbir’s wife Harsimrat Kaur Badal is a minister in the Narendra Modi government.

Badal also took up the case of 13 terror convicts who are languishing in various state jails, including those in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Karnataka and Gujarat, besides Chandigarh.

The Punjab Government press note this evening, however, did not mention if Badal had requested for release of such detainees in Delhi. Two of Beant Singh’s assassins Jagtar Singh Hawara and Paramjit Singh Bheora are lodged in Delhi.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had earlier sent a request to the Centre seeking “premature release” for 13 prisoners, but it was rejected by the Ministry of Home Affairs two days ago. Since these 13 were not in Punjab jails, the state could not move their cases for premature release.

In the case of 182 life convicts in Punjab, who are eligible for release under the premature release policy, the government cannot exercise the power of remission following a restraining order passed by the Supreme Court in July 2014.

Sukhbir reiterated what Punjab Director General of Police Sumedh Singh Saini had said in Chandigarh yesterday: “We have decided to move an application before the Supreme Court to allow it to exercise the premature release policy.”

He urged Rajnath to give directions to various state governments to free these prisoners.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/community/sukhbir-asks-rajnath-to-release-sikh-detainees/28037.html

The Asian Age – Sukhbir Singh Badal urges PM Modi for meet to ‘allay fears’

Tanveer Thakur

Chandigarh, 13 December 2014. Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to call an all-party meeting to allay the apprehensions of minorities on the issue of religious conversions even as he called upon the government to frame a law to restrict such conversions.

Talking to the media, Mr Badal said religious conversions could add to communal tensions and that this matter should be handled sensitively.

Responding to a media query regarding a demand raised by various Sikh organisations for the amendment of Section 25(B) of the Constitution, which includes Sikhs as a part of the Hindu community, Mr Sukhbir Badal said it is a universally known fact that Sikhs have a distinct identity.

“Sikhism is an independent race and the entire community has the same stand on this issue. There is no need for any second opinion on this issue.”

Talking about the release of Sikh prisoners languishing in jail despite completing their prison terms, Mr Badal said he had on his own initiative written to the Union Home minister and requested him to take up the issue of the release of Sikh detainees in jails outside Punjab.

He also clarified that life imprisonment implied a jail term for the convict’s entire life and not imprisonment for 14 or 20 years, and that remission could be awarded only by powers vested in the governors of the states.

He also said the Supreme Court had imposed a stay on releasing any detainees under the premature release policy in the entire country, and that because of this nothing could be done as of now at the state level.

“Still, on compassionate grounds we are trying to do as much as possible and the attorney-general of the state would be asked to take up the case with the apex court so as to work out a remedial course of action,” he added.

http://www.asianage.com/india/sukhbir-singh-badal-urges-pm-modi-meet-allay-fears-962

The Tribune – BJP-SAD alliance will win Delhi poll: Sukhbir

Our Correspondent

Fazilka, November 12. Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Wednesday laid foundation stones of a development project in Jalalabad constituency of Fazilka district. Sukhbir claimed that the SAD-BJP alliance would win a record number of seats in the upcoming Delhi Assembly elections.

He laid the foundations stones of concrete streets in about a dozen villages of his constituency. As part of the project, concrete flooring at a cost of Rs 47 crore will be laid in these villages.

The Deputy Chief Minister said the SAD-BJP alliance had “strengthened” communal harmony in the state and people’s confidence in development-oriented policies of the alliance would keep it in power for the next 25 years.

He said the Congress was creating a “misunderstanding” among people that the alliance was going through tough times.

The Deputy Chief Minister said the state government would sign a memorandum of understanding with cement companies to get cement on “controlled rates” for public works.

He announced to grant Market Committee status to Mandi Arniwala in Jalalabad constituency.Member of Parliament from Ferozepur Sher Singh Ghubaya, SAD district president Ashok Aneja, Deputy Inspector General, Ferozepur range, Manish Chawla and Fazilka Deputy Commissioner Manjit Singh Brar accompanied Badal.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20141113/punjab.htm#6

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