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TRUTH   JUSTICE   FREEDOM

 

Five Sikhs in the UK have now completed a five day hunger strike outside the Indian Embassy, near Covent Garden’s tube station, in London. This firm resolve has one focus and that is to support the movement inspired by Gurbaksh Singh, an ordinary individual who, for over 30 days now, has been holding his own indefinite hunger strike in India.  Gurbaksh Singh has stated that either these people are released or he will continue the hunger strike till death. 


These 5 Sikhs have sat in peaceful protest whilst enduring the cold temperatures dipping as low as two degrees. These five individuals have put themselves forward and joined in a global protest, Sikhs are holding protests outside the Indian Embassies around the world, around the world in Canada, Australia, USA and Delhi, India.

 
The main reason behind the Hunger Strike is an act of protest to the unjust way thirteen Sikh Political Prisoners who have allegedly been involved in various crimes perceived to be Anti-National. Each prisoner is still being detained, despite filing a petition for premature release in their respective States in India.

 

The different states in India have differing minimum term sentences that have to be served, before a premature release application can be considered. At this point, each individual case is considered by the Jail authorities, the DGP and the Standing Committee. No just reason has been given by the Indian authorities as to why they are refusing to consider the appeal applications.

The table below shows the minimum term that needs to be served in each State before an application of Pre-Release can be made:

State

Term

Punjab

9

Dehli

14

Gujrat

20

Karnataka

18


The Standing Committee operates under the Home Ministry of India.  They sit twice a year to review all applications made for pre-release and after an in-depth enquiry, will make a decision to either grant or deny the premature release petition filed.

·         All thirteen prisoners have served their necessary sentences and are eligible for Premature Release.            

·         Each Prisoner has filed an application for Premature Release but no response has been given as to the status of their petitions.      

·         Some prisoners submitted their applications and have served over 5-6 years above their time without any response as to the status of their appeal.

There have been many examples of non Sikh prisoners that have been granted premature release despite being originally being awarded the Death Penalty.

The case of Kishori Lal is one such case.  Lal, who worked as a butcher in Delhi, was initially accused of murdering seven members of the Sikh community with a chopper knife on 1st November, 1984. Later he was acquitted in four of the seven cases. Lal was awarded the death penalty in three of the cases by the Delhi High Court.  His death sentence was later converted to life imprisonment by the Supreme Court and in 2012 his Premature Release application was approved.

If one man who murdered seven people can be eligible for release, why are these Sikh political prisoners still waiting to hear the outcome of the pre-release applications by a committee that sits twice a year with the sole duty of reviewing these applications?

All we ask is for the authorities to look into the pre-release applications of these thirteen men, who effectively are sitting in limbo and with no end in sight.  In some cases, it is saddening to know that these delays have added many more years to their sentences and kept them away from their loved ones.

 

The details of each political prisoner are:-

Name

Sentence given/Fines

Imprisoned since

State Convicted

Gurdeep Singh Kehra

Life -  Min 18 years

1990

Maharashtra

Lal Singh

Life -  Min 20 years

1992

Gujrat

Dilbagh Singh

Life -  Min 9 years

1999

Punjab

Sarwan Singh

Life -  Min 9 years

1991

Punjab

Subheg Singh

Life -  Min14 years

1995

Ludhiana

Nand Singh

Life -  Min 9 years

1993

Punjab

Baj Singh

Life -  Min 9 years

1993

Punjab

Hardeep Singh

Life -  Min 9 years

1993

Punjab

Waryam Singh

Life -  Min14 years

1991

UP

Gurmeet Singh Fauji

Life -  Min14 years

1995

Rajasthan

Lakhwinder Singh

Life -  Min14 years

1995

Delhi

Shamsher Singh

Life -  Min14 years

1995

Delhi

Gurmeet Singh

Life -  Min14 years

1995

Delhi


END

Note to Editors:

SOPW is a UK registered charity whose mandate is solely to ensure the civil rights of Sikh Political Prisoners are ensured in India.  SOPW also support the families of prisoners, this help can take the form of financial, material, medical, legal and moral assistance.

Contact Information:

Sikh Organisation for Prisoner Welfare
PO Box 690
Southall
UB1 9QL

Tel: 0044 (0) 7544 904 890
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website:http://www.prisonerwelfare.org/

© The Sikh Organisation for Prisoners Welfare 2019