SIKH RELIEF HOLD TALKS WITH BADAL – POSITIVE STEPS TAKEN COULD RESULT IN SOME IMMINENT RELEASES & PRISONER TRANSFERS
Today on 6th January 2015, the Sikh Relief team held high level talks with the Chief Minister of Punjab, Parkash Badal. Sikh Relief/SOPW’s ultimate mission has always been the freedom of Sikh political prisoners and our team of volunteers around the world, work tirelessly to achieve this goal. In the same manner, the India team led by our Senior representative, R P Singh, took the initiative to hold direct governmental talks to discuss what the Punjab administration CAN do rather than sit back and accept what they CANNOT do.
On the agenda for the meeting was;
• premature release of prisoners
• release of elderly prisoners on grounds of compassion
• transfer of Gurdeep Singh Khaira from Karnatka Jail to Punjab
• parole to be granted to eligible prisoners
The CM responded that on the matter of premature release, his hands were tied due to the Supreme Court ruling in 2014 which has put a stay on a State government’s ability to grant remission to prisoners. However, our team urged the government to take all necessary measures paving the way for the release of Sikh political prisoners. We applied pressure on the authorities to expedite the transfer of Gurdeep Singh Khaira, whose paperwork we have submitted to the Punjab government some time ago. Also in the presence of our team, the CM made a telephone call to the Minister of Home Affairs, Rajnath Singh, regarding the compassionate release of elderly Sikhs sentenced in connection with the Ludhiana bank robbery and currently imprisoned in Punjab. Finally, we demanded the government ensure parole leave be granted as per the law and not used as another tool with which to supress the Sikhs.
MP Chandumajra, Tota Singh, Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Avtar Singh Hit and Badal’s PA were present at the meeting, alongside the Chief Minister. Sikh Relief have been invited to attend a follow on meeting in the coming days, where our legal team of advisors will discuss these matters in-depth. Our work continues behind the scenes and we assure you our commitment to the release of all Sikh political prisoners, is as strong now as it has been over all the many years. We will keep you posted on any further developments.