CHANDIGARH, Punjab (May 28, 2015)—Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Badal held a special meeting today with Bandi Singh Sangharsh Committee which leads the struggle initiated by Bapu Surat Singh Khalsa, to sort out the burning issue of Sikh political prisoners. During the meeting, Badal constituted a high power committee to go through the pending cases in this regard.
It is worth mentioning the worsening health condition of Bapu Surat Singh who has been on a hunger strike for the past three months for release of Sikh prisoners languishing in various jails of India despite completion of their terms. Badal initiated the meeting with the committee which is an umbrella organization of all Panthik bodies, for dialogue. Intelligence agencies have also recommended the state government resolve the issue as soon as possible.
In the meeting, Sikh leaders took up the issue of release of various Sikh prisoners languishing in Indian jails. In order to decide over the pending cases against Sikh political prisoners as per law, Badal set up a high power panel comprising of additional chief secretary (home), Chief Minister’s principal secretary, chief secretary (jails), additional director general (intelligence and jails) and four representatives of Sikh organizations.
The committee has been asked to analyze all related cases to ensure the timely release of Sikh prisoners. Sikh leaders appealed to the CM to make efforts to ensure release of Sikh prisoners jailed in other states. In reply, the CM said that he had already taken up the issue with concerned CMs by writing letters to them. On appeal of Sikh leaders, Badal has given assignment to chief secretary (home) to take up the issue with other states.
The Sikh leaders urged the CM to make a persistent effort to shift Sikh prisoners from other states to jails in Punjab. In this regard, the CM assured that the state government would consider their points sympathetically.
The representatives of various Sikh organizations also urged him to accommodate pleas for parole filed by the prisoners.
The senior officers, who were present in the meeting, said that the state government has corrected the release process and if any such cases come to light, they should be brought to notice of the government.
After the meeting, members of the committee said that Badal had made assurances to them to get Sikh prisoners released but they did not trust him.