Chandigarh, Jan 23 (PTI) Former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday sought the immediate release of 1993 Delhi bomb blast convict Davinderpal Singh Bhullar in the “larger interest of consolidating peace and communal harmony” in Punjab.
Bhullar was convicted in connection with the killing of nine people and injuring of 31 in the blast. Among those who survived the attack are former Youth Congress chief M S Bitta.
In a statement here, Badal urged Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal not to allow a “communal bias or political or electoral opportunism to dictate his decision and refusal 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,” Badal said.
“Punjab had suffered enough because of these petty communal and polarising 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,” the Shiromani Akali Dal patriarch said.
Bhullar was awarded the death penalty by a designated TADA court in August 2001 but his capital punishment was commuted to life sentence by the Supreme Court in 2014.
The Centre in September 2019 had recommended special remission to eight Sikh prisoners, including Bhullar, to mark the 500th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
It has been alleged by some Sikh bodies that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi has not given its clearance for the release of Bhullar.
A few days ago, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee had also accused the Delhi government of obstructing Bhullar’s release.
Badal drew Kejriwal’s attention to the serious health complications Bhullar is facing and said “even the basic humanitarian concern, apart from just legal considerations, should compel you to act expeditiously and positively in this case.” The Akali stalwart said 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.” “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 laceration and served more time in jail than the full tenure of sentence,” he said.
“There is no legal, judicial or moral ground for keeping the long-lacerated Bhullar behind the bars now. Why Kejriwal has not granted the necessary clearance for this,” he stated.
“I urge and request Kejriwal sahib to immediately accord the requisite permission and I see no reason why he wouldn’t heed my request and advice in this regard,” said Badal.
Earlier in the day, in a recorded video message from a Ludhiana hospital, Badal thanked Punjabis for their good wishes after he tested positive for COVID-19.
“I hope to be with my people in the next few days,” he said. PTI CHS VSD RHL
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Source: The Print