Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in ensuring the early release of the Sikh political activists who have been languishing in various jails even after serving their sentences.
In a letter to the prime minister, Badal said a number of Sikh political activists, widely referred to as ‘Bandi Sikhs’, are languishing in jails despite having served the sentences awarded to them by courts.
Their period of incarceration in various jails far exceeds the tenure of the judicial orders and stretches up to as many as 27 years, he said, adding this is not only a violation of the law of the country but also amounts to injustice in the world’s largest democracy that prides itself on upholding constitutional norms of justice and fairness.
In addition, he said, it further strengthens the emotional alienation of not only the prisoners concerned but also of the entire Sikh community.
“This gives an opportunity to elements bent upon weakening the sentiment of national unity as it provides grist to their propaganda that constitutional norms are flouted to inflict discriminatory treatment against members of the minority community.” he wrote to the Prime Minister.
The Akali Dal president said Modi had made a commitment for their release coinciding with the 550 Parkash Utsav of Shri Guru Nanak Dev.
“The commitment by itself was an acknowledgment of the fact that holding these Sikh prisoners behind bars and forcing them to go through unspeakable physical and emotional incarceration defies not just constitutional logic and imperatives, but it is also a defiance of the rule of law and all civilised values.” Badal said.
“On behalf of the SAD, the entire Sikh community as well as all right-thinking people and champions of civil liberties, I once again request and urge your good self to intervene directly for an expeditious fulfilment of the commitment made by you…. I look forward eagerly to your kind intervention in the matter to ensure the release of the Bandi Sikhs on the 75th anniversary of independence.” Badal wrote to the Prime Minister.