Eight More Sikh Prisoners May Be Shifted to Punjab jails

Bhai Gurdeep Singh Khera
Bhai Gurdeep Singh Khera

CHANDIGARH, Punjab—In view of Panthik issues regaining space in Punjab politics, ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) seems to soften stand on issue of release of Sikh political prisoners. In the significant shift, the Punjab Government has considered the cases for transferring eight more Sikh prisoners to various jails in the state besides Prof. Davinder Singh Bhullar, who is likely to be transferred from Tihar to Amritsar jail later this week.

The Punjab government changed its stand keeping in mind that Bapu Surat Singh Khalsa who is still on hunger strike since January 16 for permanent release of Sikh prisoners, is getting huge support from all sections of civil society. These prisoners are languishing in various jails of India for decades despite completion of their terms.

Just few days ago, Chief Minister Parkash Badal and DGP Sumedh Saini had repeatedly insisted before media persons that the matter did not come in state’s jurisdiction and they could do nothing in this matter. The government also had taken help of advertising in print media.

But, now, a DIG-ranked official and some senior bureaucrats have been directed to review every case. Media sources revealed that the government has approved the shifting of nine Sikh political prisoners to Punjab’s jails. A meeting was also held among police, Jail Department officials and Chief Minister Badal last week. On call of Badal, representatives of Panthik organizations also met him and other concerned officials. After the meeting, 8-member committee was constituted by the government with equal representation of government officials and Panthik leaders.

As per sources, after Prof. Bhullar, Bhai Gurdeep Singh Khera who is languishing in Gulbarg jail, Karnataka presently,  would be shifted to Amritsar Jail soon. He was awarded double life sentence in two different cases.

Prof. Davinderpal Singh Bhullar
Prof. Davinderpal Singh Bhullar

Punjab ADGP (Jails), RK Meena said all arrangements for the shifting and lodging Sikh prisoners in Amirtsar jail and elsewhere had been made. He said separate barrack has been built up for these prisoners in the jail.

On the other hand, Bapu Surat Singh Khalsa has welcomed the government’s move, but he said he would continue his fast till the process of transfer of these prisoners was completed.

Media sources speculated that once transferred to the jails in Punjab, these persons may be released on parole, subject to security clearances.



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