//Sikh Groups demand clemency for Prof Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar

Sikh Groups demand clemency for Prof Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar

By SSNews, outlookindia, Oct 2, 2006,

Sikh groups again asked the government and the opposition in Punjab to follow the footsteps of their counterparts in Jammu and Kashmir and unite to save Prof. Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar from the gallows.

The Punjab Rights Forum, Sikh Federation (UK), Dal Khalsa, and human rights groups worldwide have repeatedly made it clear that any move by the Government of India to hang Prof. Davinder Pal Singh, would leave a permanent scar on the minds of the Sikhs and have appealed for a moratorium on death penalty in India.

In a press statement, leaders of the 'Dal Khalsa' — H S Dhami and Kanwar Pal Singh urged President A P J Abdul Kalam to do away with capital punishment.

Politicians cutting across party lines in Jammu and Kashmir had joined hands to demand clemency for Afzal Guru, sentenced to death in the 2001 Parliament attack case.

"The public stands of Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Ghulam Nabi Azad, opposition leader Farooq Abdullah and different factions of Hurriyat Conference vis-a-vis the hanging of Afzal was the same," release said and urged the leaders in Punjab to do the same in the case of Bhullar.

Prof. Davinder Pal Singh, was sentenced on the basis of a confession, extracted under police duress. Moreover, his death sentence has been confirmed by the Supreme court through a 2-1 split judgement. Hanging a person on the basis of a split judgement, wherein, the presiding judge has held the person totally innocent, is unprecedented in the annals of criminal jurisprudence, not only in India, but, across the world.

The forum office-bearers observed that the only way out of the piquant situation was to abolish death penalty from the statute book. In case, such a decision takes some time, there should be a moratorium on death penalty as is practiced by more than 20 African countries, which, are less developed than India, but, have higher crime figures than prevailing in India.

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