SGPC chief says Supreme Court is against minorities, committed judicial murder

Devinderpal Singh BhullarThe Supreme Court has dismissed death row convict Devinderpal Singh Bhullar's plea for commutation of his death sentence. (IE photo)
Expressing resentment over the Supreme Court dismissing the mercy plea of death row convict Devinderpal Singh Bhullar, the chiefs of temporal seat of Sikhs, Akal Takht, and apex representative body of Sikhs, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), on Friday said they would still explore options to save Bhullar from going to gallows.

"This is judicial murder. I reiterate that there are two sets of laws, a separate one for minorities. On one side death penalty is given to Bhullar on the basis of merely his confessional statement that could be given by anyone under duress and there are no witnesses who give statement against Bhullar, on the other side seven death sentences of a butcher like Kishori Lal, who murdered more than 30 persons with knife, are commuted," said SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar.

SC rejects Devinderpal Singh Bhullar's mercy plea

''... And justice remains awaited in 1984 case where thousands of Sikhs were brutally murdered, women were disgraced, children were also killed and properties worth crores belonging to Sikhs were looted. And this happened in largest democracy of world. That is why I being the representative of a minority community say that there are two sets of laws,'' Makkar said.

''It is very unfortunate that a man who has already served more than 20 years in jail and is mentally unstable is being ordered to be hanged. The Central government should introspect and review the decision. I will go to Delhi to seek legal opinion as to what could be done now to save Bhullar,'' Makkar added.

Akal Takht chief Giani Gurbachan Singh said, ''One cannot be given two punishments, life imprisonment and then death sentence. He (Bhullar) has already been in jail for a long period. And, moreover law prohibits awarding death penalty to a deranged person. I am consulting the matter with SGPC and would direct them to take every legal course to get the execution stopped,'' Singh said.

"After the court order today, there is a wave of sadness among the Sikh community. In a signature campaign to save Bhullar, lakhs of people expressed their solidarity with Bhullar to save him. And those who favoured mercy for Bhullar were not only Sikhs, but Hindus also," Akal Takht chief said, adding, "questioning death penalty saying "one of the judges in three judge bench that had awarded death penalty to Bhullar had acquitted Bhullar" and sentence was awarded on the basis of only his "confessional statement".

Radical Sikh organisation Dal Khalsa termed the dismissal of petition of Bhullar as "shocking and disturbing for people of Punjab in general and Sikh community in particular".

"The decision is travesty of justice as Prof Bhullar is on death row since 18 years. Secondly he was given punishment on the basis of confessional statement taken by police officer under torture. Thirdly, it was a split verdict, Chief Justice acquitted him. Fourthly, he was deported from Germany, where capital punishment is not given," Dal Khalsa spokesperson Kanwarpal Singh added.

"In the wake of hanging of Afzal Guru, the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister taking a jibe at Indian state said in public that the state is selective in the case of death convicts, the Sikhs were apprehending that the next target will be a Sikh. With today's SC decision, our fears might come true," Kanwarpal added.

Meanwhile, Maninderjit Singh Bitta, the then president of Indian Youth Congress who survived the 1993 bomb blast triggered by Bhullar that killed nine persons, welcomed the Supreme Court order dismissing mercy plea of Bhullar.

"I had not expected this. I was thinking that verdict would go in favour of Bhullar. But, I am happy that his plea was dismissed. Now, my next fight is to identify and bring all those to book, who were responsible for withdrawal of my security cover a day ahead of the attack, pushing me in front of terrorists," Bitta told over phone.

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