The core committee of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) that met here on Saturday to deliberate on the rejection of Devinderpal Bhullar’s petition by the Supreme Court to commute his death sentence, has decided that Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal and party president and Deputy Chief Minister 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 “deeply painful, unfortunate and worrying”, the SAD core committee has also decided that the two leaders would separately request President Pranabh Mukerjee in this regard. In a resolution, committee appealed to “all the 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 Supreme Court judgment should not be carried out on grounds of Bhullar’s health .
“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 new and undesirable precedent in the country.
“It is also very significant that the presiding judge of the Supreme Court Bench that decided the case had acquitted Devinderpal Singh Bhullar and given a strong dissenting note in the case.”
“All this calls for a statesman-like approach to this sensitive issue in the overall interest of peace and communal harmony in the country. Nothing should be done that may endanger the hard earned atmosphere of peace and communal harmony in the country in general and Punjab in particular, and harm the overall long term national interests. The SAD and the Sikh community at large have made unparallel sacrifices to protect and preserve these interests and values and to safeguard the unity and integrity of the country,” the core committee resolution said.
The SAD is firmly of the opinion that decisions on issues having a bearing on peace and communal harmony should be taken with extreme and utmost care to ensure that these values are not brought under a question mark because of a feeling of alienation and discrimination in any section or class of society, said Mr. Bains.
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 petition in 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.”