Badal demands unity of Sikh religious bodies for the release of Sikh prisoners
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Chairman Sukhbir Singh Badal on Wednesday called on all panthic (Sikh religious) organizations to unite on a common platform to create a movement to secure the release of ‘bandi-Sikhs’ (Sikh prisoners) “who languish”. in prison even after the expiration of their life sentence”.
Addressing a press conference, the SAD Chairman called on Shiromani Committee Chairman Gurdwara Parbandhak (SGPC) to take the lead and convene a meeting of panthic organizations to devise a common strategy to meet the demand of the Punjabis around the world to release Sikh prisoners on humanitarian grounds. .
“We may have individual and political differences, but let’s put them aside for the cause of the Bandi-Sikhs,” he said a few days after asking for the release of Balwant Singh Rajoana, who is sentenced in the assassination case of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh and Devinderpal S Bhullar, who was convicted of the Delhi bomb blast in 1993.
The SAD leader said the coordinated approach would be taken in consultation with all panthic organizations and parties as well as Singh Sabhas and the Sant Samaj, Badal said this could include leading a delegation to the Prime Minister to ensure the speedy release of Sikh prisoners.
He also thanked Sri Akal Takth jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh for taking the initiative in this direction by setting the tone for panthic unity on this crucial issue which concerned the feelings of Sikhs all over the world.
Stating that the release of the “bandi-Sikhs” was a long pending issue and that the entire Khalsa panth as well as the Punjabis in general were saddened by the delay in releasing them, Sukhbir Badal said that about 50 prisoners Sikhs were being held in various prisons across the country and they should all be released immediately.
The SAD President also expressed deep concern over the manner in which attempts were being made to vitiate communal harmony through irresponsible statements by AAP leaders. He said that immediately after the Patiala eruption, AAP MP Raghav Chadha claimed it was the result of a clash between BJP and SAD.
“The same statement was corroborated by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and later Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann. This has undermined the authority of the Chief Minister and clearly shows that the Punjab government is run from Delhi,” he added. Badal said the AAP should not try to inflame communal feelings in Punjab and the Chief Minister should ensure that the rule of law is upheld in the state.