Sukhbir asks PM to ensure expeditious release of Bhai Rajoana

Chandigarh, April 18 (IANS) Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene and ensure the expeditious release of Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana to fulfill the promise made to the Sikh community to release eight Sikh prisoners who have served more than the effective equivalent of a life sentence on the eve of the 550th Parkash Purb celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev in 2019.
 
Sukhbir asks PM to ensure expeditious release of Bhai Rajoana

Chandigarh, April 18 (IANS) Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene and ensure the expeditious release of Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana to fulfill the promise made to the Sikh community to release eight Sikh prisoners who have served more than the effective equivalent of a life sentence on the eve of the 550th Parkash Purb celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev in 2019.

While calling for the release of all such Sikh prisoners, the SAD president urged the Prime Minister to intervene and expedite the matter of clemency of Bhai Rajoana with the competent authority to commute the death penalty awarded to him and ensure his release at the earliest.

The Union government had approved the commutation of Bhai Rajoana's death sentence to life imprisonment as a humanitarian gesture in 2019.

Badal said the issue warranted the urgent attention of the Prime Minister since a clemency petition under Article 72 of the Constitution which was filed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) in March 25, 2012 is still pending with the President.

He said the Supreme Court had also issued a notice to the Union government to take a call on his mercy petition by April 30.

Badal asserted in his communication that he was hopeful that the Prime Minister would appreciate that there was no rationale to keep Bhai Rajoana behind bars when the Union government had commuted his death sentence.

He said the Sikh prisoner had already been incarcerated in prison for 26 years which was much longer than the effective duration of a life term.

The SAD President also apprised the Prime Minister that SAD had submitted a resolution to the Centre to request for commuting Bhai Rajoana's death sentence to life term and later for his release.

--IANS

vg/pgh