The core committee of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) that met here on Saturday to deliberate on the Supreme Court’s rejection of Devinderpal Bhullar’s petition to commute his death sentence, has decided that Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and party president and Deputy Chief Minister Sardar Sukhbir Singh Badal will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde to urge them “to operationalise the post-judicial mechanism of statesmanship in order to avoid, even at this stage, any steps that may pose a threat to peace and communal harmony in the country in general and Punjab in particular.”
Describing the development as “deeply painful, unfortunate and worrying,” the SAD core committee has also decided that the two leaders would separately request the President, Pranab Mukherjee in this regard.
In a resolution, the committee appealed to “all peace loving citizens of the country and eminent public figures to work towards a solution to the issue in a manner that strengthens emotional bonds among different segments and communities of the people in the country and to pre-empt any decision based only on litigatory technicalities or stubbornness.”
The core committee also observed that the SC judgment should not be carried out on grounds of health of Professor Bhullar. “Rushing to carry out the judgment in defiance of this basic humanitarian and legal consideration would send a wrong signal to the people,” said the Resolution.
Harcharan Singh Bains, media advisor to the Chief Minister, told newspersons that the meeting was of the view that hanging an accused conspirator when the main accused had been acquitted in the case would set a new and undesirable precedent in the country. “It is also very significant that the presiding judge of the Bench of the Supreme Court that decided the case had acquitted Professor Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar and given a strong dissenting note in the case.”
“The SAD and the Sikh community at large have made unparalleled sacrifices to protect and preserve these [overall long-term national] interests and values and to safeguard the unity and integrity of the country,” the core committee Resolution said.
The core committee observed that the decision “is bound to invite parallels with the failure of the Delhi and Union governments to ensure exemplary punishments to those guilty of cold-blooded massacre of thousands of innocent Sikhs in Delhi and other parts of the country in 1984. Killers, in fact, are not only roaming free but have even by rewarded with plum political posts. Against this background, the rejection of the petition in Prof. Bhullar’s case will strengthen the perception among the Sikh masses that two separate sets of laws operate in the country and that they have been subjected to discriminatory treatment even in the courts of justice.”