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Badal asks Kejriwal to intervene to ensure immediate release of Prof Devinderpal S Bhullar

Chandigarh, (Gurpreet) – Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal today requested Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to intervene and apprise the Sentence Review Board (SRD) of the Delhi government about the special remission granted to Prof Devinderpal Singh Bhullar by the union government to ensure his immediate release from prison.

The SAD president, while writing to the Delhi chief minister on this issue, said it was a matter of concern that the Delhi State SRB had rejected the proposal for Prof Bhullar’s repeatedly. “You yourself had during the recent Punjab assembly election stated that you had directed the SRB to meet and reconsider its earlier decision to block Prof Bhullar’s release. The fact that the opposite occurred during the meeting of the SRB on March 3 has raised a question mark on the commitment made by you in this context.

Mr Sukhbir Badal also brought it to the notice of the Delhi chief minister that Prof Bhullar’s release was being blocked repeatedly by the SRB despite the fact that the centre’s direction to give special remission to the prisoner was binding on the State government. Appealing to the chief minister on behalf of Sikhs worldwide as well as all Punjabis to take note of these facts and intervene personally in the matter, Mr Badal said “these facts also need to be presented to the SRB in the right perspective”.

Asserting that the quick release of the Sikh prisoner would consolidate peace and communal harmony in Punjab, Mr Badal said the inordinate delay in this release had hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community as well as Punjabis at large. “There is a growing demand from the community as well as Punjabis in general that Prof Bhullar, who has been incarcerated for more than 26 years, be freed on humanitarian grounds keeping in view his worsening mental and physical health. This sentiment should be respected”.

Listing the facts of the case, Mr Badal said the Delhi government alone was standing in the way of the Sikh prisoner’s release. He said the Supreme Court had commuted Prof Bhullar’s death sentence to life on the grounds of inordinate delay in deciding his mercy petition. “Following this the way was cleared for Prof Bhullar’s release with the central government approving his release along with that of eight other Sikh prisoners on the occasion of the 550th Parkash Purb of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji in October, 2019. The centre also directed the respective State governments and Union Territories to carry out the remission in consultation with the centre”.

Mr Badal said the entire community was however shocked when the Delhi government rejected the proposal for Prof Bhullar’s permanent release during a meeting of the SRB headed by Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain in 2020. “The release has subsequently being blocked four times”, he added.

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