Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal Tuesday called for an ‘across the board release of all Sikh prisoner who were languishing in jails even after serving their full sentence.
He said that he was opposed to the policy of ‘pick and choose’ among these prisoners. “Although we are concerned immediately with the cases of illegal overstay of all such Sikh prisoners, we are equally in favour of the similar release of all prisoners across the country who fulfill the criterion of having served their full term,” said Mr Badal in a statement.
The Former Punjab Deputy Chief Minister had earlier written to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union Home Minister Amit Shah urging their personal intervention for the expeditious release of such prisoners. Mr Badal’s statement comes in the wake of reports that the Punjab government has made a similar plea on a selective and pick and choose basis. Mr Badal said that the SAD’s demand was fully in accordance with the Constitution and the relevant provisions of law. “But the constitution and these provisions are applicable to all without prejudice to the political background of any affected person. Law is and must remain equal for all. There must never be an impression that the government has exercised prejudiced and tinted glasses while deciding to release some and retain some others.”
Mr Badal said that he was “extremely hopeful” the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister would heed to this party’s request in this regard. “The NDA Government has already started the process of ending the emotional alienation of the Sikh masses from the national mainstream and has taken decisive steps to remove the impression of discriminatory treatment against them. As a part of this new healthy approach, the process of punishing he guilty of the 1984 massacre of thousands of innocent Sikhs had already been set in motion with criminals like Sajjan Kumar being sent behind the bars and proceedings started against several bigwigs, including Kamal Nath.”
Similarly, said Mr Badal, the Government of India had scrapped the dreaded Black Lists of overseas Sikhs which was a major source of persecution against them.”We are very hopeful that this new dispensation to ensure justice to the Sikh community will be taken forward and we will hear about the release of the Sikh prisoners who have served their prison term fully. ”