Chandigarh, May 3 : The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Wednesday condemned the Central government for taking a U-turn on its stand on the release of Sikh detenue Balwant Singh Rajoana in the Supreme Court even as it asserted the BJP was adopting double standards on this issue.
The SAD also asserted that there seemed to be a tactical understanding between the BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which was now coming in the way of the release of the Bandi Singhs.
In a statement here following the rejection of Rajoana’s plea seeking disposal of a mercy petition filed on his behalf as well as implementation of the Central proposal commuting his death sentence to life, senior SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia said: “The Central government has hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community. It first undertook to commute the death sentence of Rajoana to life in 2019 in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev and then went back on its word by refusing to decide on the mercy petition filed on Rajoana’s behalf by the Shiromani committee in March 2012. This has caused untold pain to Nanak ‘naam leva sangat’ worldwide.”
Asking the BJP to make its stand clear on the issue, Majithia said former Punjab BJP in charge Gajendra Shekhawat had signed a form seeking the release of Rajoana while paying his obeisance at Takht Sri Damdama Sahib.
However, the same party is coming in the way of the detenue’s release in the Supreme Court, which is also an insult to the holy Takth.
Majithia said “the Sikh community was already feeling that it was being discriminated against because it was a minority following the release of Bilkis Bano’s rapist, but the manner in which the Centre tried to link the release of Rajoana with national security in a previous affidavit had hurt it even further”.
“Sikhs have made the most sacrifices for the country’s freedom and even now are guarding the nation’s border. The community feels Rajoana’s release will help the process of reconciliation and the Centre should respect this sentiment instead of opposing it.”
Majithia said the Sikh community felt that the Centre would uphold the solemn commitment made in 2019 when it announced that Rajoana’s death sentence would be commuted to life and that eight other Sikh detenues, who had completed nearly double of their life sentences, would also be released.