CHANDIGARH: Former Chief Minister of Punjab, Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday called for the immediate release of Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar.
Bhullar is serving a life sentence in Amritsar Central Jail after being convicted in the Delhi bomb blast case of 1993.
The five-time chief minister demanded the release of Bhullar, "in the larger interest of consolidating peace and communal harmony in Punjab.’’
Earlier Sikh organisations have given an ultimatum to Delhi Chief Minister and National Convenor of AAP Arvind Kejriwal till January 26 to clarify his stand on the release of Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar. The outfits threatened to boycott AAP candidates in the upcoming assembly polls if he failed to release Bhullar by that date.
Badal senior urged Kejriwal not to allow a communal bias or political or electoral opportunism to dictate his decision and refuse to grant immediate clearance for Bhullar’s release. "Bhullar must be released without even a moment’s delay as he had already served his full term in jail. Punjab had suffered enough because of these petty communal and polarizing political conspiracies by the Congress rulers in the past. Arvind Kejriwal must resist the temptation to walk the same path for the same petty reasons,” Badal said.
The former CM also drew Kejrival’s attention to the serious health complications Bhullar is facing and said that even the basic humanitarian concern, apart from just legal considerations, should compel the Delhi CM to act expeditiously and positively in this case.
"Kejriwal must not try and polarize the peace-loving Punjabis nor try and weaken the strong traditional brotherly bonds among different communities here,” he said, adding, ”communal politics doesn’t help the cause of stability, peace and communal harmony.”
Badal urged the Delhi CM to “demonstrate sensitivity and responsibility towards society and the nation and not to do anything that strengthens a negative sentiment like communal polarisation. Punjab won’t forgive anyone who messes with peace and communal harmony.”
The Akali stalwart said that the release of Bhullar will boost this sentiment of peace and brotherhood among communities in Punjab as it would help in mitigating the lingering sense of injustice against Bhullar said.
"I really don’t know why the Delhi Chief Minister is not allowing justice to be delivered to Bhullar even after the latter has already suffered long years of incarceration and served more time in jail than the full tenure of the sentence. There is no legal, judicial, or moral ground for keeping Sardar Bhullar behind the bars now. I urge and request Kejrival sahib to immediately accord the requisite permission and I see no reason why he wouldn’t heed my request and advice in this regard,’’ he said.
Sikh organizations and social activists led by Hardeep Singh Dibdiba said that Bhullar had already served his life term, but the Delhi Government had been creating hurdles in his release and added that they would issue warning letters to all AAP candidates asking Kejriwal to clarify his stand on the issue failing which they would gherao AAP candidates and Kejriwal in the state.
Recently Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt) president and Rajya Sabha member Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa hit out at Kejriwal demanding that Bhullar and other Sikh prisoners who have completed their sentence be released.
Bhullar was sentenced to death by a designated TADA court in 2001 before the Supreme Court commuted his sentence.