Friday, June 9, 2023

SGPC-led joint panel resolves to meet Modi, Shah over Sikh prisoners issue

AMRITSAR: During the first meeting of the 11-member high-powered joint committee formed by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on the directions of Sri Akal Takht Sahib, it has been decided to strongly raise the issue of release of Sikh prisoners lodged in different Indian jails by holding meetings with the Prime Minister (PM) and Home Minister (HM). At the same time, it was also decided to hold meetings with Karnataka and Delhi Chief Ministers asking them to immediately take decision on the release of Sikh prisoners under their respective state jurisdictions.

In this meeting held at the SGPC’s office, those present included Head of Damdami Taksal Baba Harnam Singh Khalsa, Head of Tarna Dal Harian Velan on behalf of Nihung Singh jathebandis Baba Nihal Singh, SGPC President Advocate Harjinder Singh Dhami, Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal, Jaskaran Singh Kahan Singh Wala on behalf of Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar President Simranjeet Singh Mann, prominent Sikh pracharak (preacher) Baba Baljit Singh Daduwal, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) President Harmeet Singh Kalka, Shiromani Akali Dal Delhi President Paramjit Singh Sarna, former DSGMC President Manjit Singh GK, President of Takht Sri Harmandar Ji Patna Sahib management committee President Avtar Singh Hit, and Paramjot Singh Chahal on behalf of President of Takht Sri Abchalnagar Hazur Sahib management board Bhupinder Singh Minhas.

“Efforts will be made to hold these meetings with the PM and HM within 15 days”, said Dhami.

He said that for the release of Prof Devinderpal Singh Bhullar and Bhai Gurdeep Singh Khera, for which, the respective state governments have become an obstruction, the meetings will be held with the CMs of Karnataka and Delhi states.

“In the meeting, all the members of the joint committee appreciating the efforts being made with Panthak unity for the release of Sikh prisoners have pledged to take this task to its conclusion with uniformity and expressed commitment to perform every responsibility untrusted upon them diligently”, said he.

The SGPC President said that with the consensus of all the members of the joint committee it has been decided to form an advisory committee of retired judges of Supreme Court and High Court and take views from all the respective jathebandis (organisations). He added that sub-committees would be formed as per the requirement under this joint committee.

The SGPC chief also clarified that the entire joint committee will go together to meet the Prime Minister or any other leader for discussing the release of Sikh prisoners.

“Before meeting the Prime Minister and Home Minister, the detailed list of all the Sikh prisoners of Sikh struggle will be prepared, in which, complete information about the Sikh prisoners and their present status will be recorded”, said Dhami. The motive is to convey correct information to the governments, so that they come to know about which all Sikh prisoners have served more time in jails than their given punishments.

The SGPC President said a resolution has also been passed in the meeting of the joint committee thanking the jathebandis and Sikh leaders for their relentless efforts for the release of Sikh prisoners and all the committee members also expressed tribute to the martyrdom of Bhai Gurbakhsh Singh Khalsa who struggled for this cause and also appreciated the efforts of Bapu Surat Singh.

Dhami said that the cases of about 465 Sikhs booked for carrying out Nagar Kirtan at Takht Sachkhand Sri Abchalnagar Hazur Sahib last year during the Hola Mohalla amid COVID-19 pandemic restrictions will also be pursued. Efforts will be made by approaching Maharashtra Chief Minister for withdrawing the cases registered against Sikhs in Nanded.

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