Badal asks Kejriwal not to allow bias on Bhullar’s release

Five-time Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday called for the immediate release of Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar “in the larger interest of consolidating peace and communal harmony in Punjab”.

In a statement here, Badal urged Delhi Chief Minister and AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal not to allow a communal bias or political or electoral opportunism to dictate his decision and refusal to grant immediate clearance for Bhullar’s release.

“Bhullar must be released without even a moment’s delay as he had already served his full term in jail. Punjab had suffered enough because of these petty communal and polarizing political conspiracies by the Congress rulers in the past. Arvind Kejrival must resist the temptation to walk the same path for the same petty reasons,” said the elderly Badal in a statement.

The former CM also drew Kejrival’s attention to the serious health complications Bhullar is facing and said even the basic humanitarian concern, apart from just legal considerations, should compel “you to act expeditiously and positively in this case”.

“Arvind Kejrival mustn’t try and polarize the peace loving Punjabis nor try and weaken the strong traditional brotherly bonds among different communities here,” he said, adding, “communal politics doesn’t help the cause of stability, peace and communal harmony.”

Badal urged the Delhi Chief Minister to “demonstrate sensitivity and responsibility towards society and the nation and not to do anything that strengthens a negative sentiment like communal polarisation. Punjab won’t forgive anyone who messes with peace and communal harmony.”

The Akali stalwart said the release of Bhullar “will boost this sentiment of peace and brotherhood among communities in Punjab as it would help in mitigating the lingering sense of injustice against Bhullar,” added Badal.

Earlier in the day, in a recorded TV message from a Ludhiana hospital, Badal thanked Punjabis for their good wishes after he had tested positive for Covid-19.

“I hope to be with my people in the next few days,” the 94-year-old Akali Dal leader added.

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