PATIALA, Punjab—Earlier today, Bhai Dilbagh Singh and Bakshish Singh returned to their homes for a period of 28 days on parole release, after which they will once again have to surrender themselves to jail. Sikh Organization For Prisoner Welfare (UK), which has long fought legal cases of these Singhs, released the following statement –
The Indian [state] has committed grave injustices against the Sikhs and many of our political prisoners have had to battle for their right to parole, which is granted to every prisoner with a clean record. We cannot underestimate the importance of a parole period on the physical and emotional well being of a prisoner, especially our innocent Gursikhs who should not be locked up in the first place.
Punjab faced a dark decade in the 80-90’s when thousands of innocent Sikhs were hunted and ‘disappeared’ in fake encounters. In 1992, at the height of the State brutality, Dilbagh Singh was charged in a false case under the draconian TADA Act. He was at great risk of being arrested and ‘disappeared’ himself so he went into hiding and managed to avoid police abduction by moving around from village to village. In the meanwhile, the Police had looted his family home and taken anything of value. All other sentimental articles were removed and set on fire. As if that wasn’t enough, before they were done, the Police completely demolished the family home in order that no sign of Dilbagh Singh should remain in his ancestral village.
Seven years later in 1999 the Police finally caught up with Dilbagh Singh and he was arrested and tried in a secret TADA Court set up within the prison, by a Judge who was the only one to hear the case, behind closed doors. In this way, Dilbagh Singh was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment at Nabha Jail in 2007.
SOPW have been fighting his case and providing welfare for Dilbagh Singh. Our team of lawyers managed to secure his very first parole release in 2008. We salute Dilbagh Singh who, everyday, continues to face tyranny with great STRENGTH.