SGPC to intensify protest seeking release of ‘Bandi Singhs’ from Sept 12

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the premier body of Sikhs, has decided to launch a protest demanding the release of ‘Bandi Singhs’ (Sikh political prisoners) from September 12.

At a meeting of all the SGPC members held at Teja Singh Samundri Hall here on Friday, resolutions were passed regarding the release of Sikh prisoners and it was decided that the struggle will be taken forward for the same.

At the meeting held under the leadership of SGPC President Harjinder Singh Dhami, various SGPC members expressed deep concern over the government’s apathy on the issue of Sikh prisoners and suggested to launch a mass movement demanding their release.

In a resolution presented by Dhami, it was approved that on September 12, protests will be organised by the SGPC outside the offices of deputy commissioners in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, during which SGPC members will protest against the government’s attitude by wearing black robes and chains.

Along with this, a signature campaign will also be launched to start a mass movement, under which forms will be given to the Sangats for filling up at historical Sikh shrines, main places in cities, towns and villages.

As per the resolution, counters will be set up by placing flex boards regarding release of Bandi Singhs at important places in the cities, where commuting people will be able to participate in the signature campaign.

As the next phase of this protest, all members of SGPC will jointly submit the signed forms and memorandum to the Governor of Punjab.

At the meeting, a decision was made to hold meetings with retired Sikh judges, senior lawyers and scholars of Panth to take their opinion for the release of Sikh prisoners, so that the support of experts can be obtained for legal proceedings and communication with the governments.

During the gathering, the attacks on religious principles and places of worship were also condemned and the vandalism of a church near Tarn Taran was termed as unfortunate.

On Thursday, Dhami had sought time from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a meeting to discuss the issue of release of Bandi Singhs.

Dhami wrote to the Prime Minister stating that many Sikh prisoners are still lodged in different jails across the country even after completing their life sentences.

In his letter, Dhami mentioned the names of nine Sikh prisoners who have not been released despite having served long sentences.

The letter included the names of Bhai Gurdeep Singh Khera, Devinderpal Singh Bhullar, Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana, Bhai Jagtar Singh Hawara, Bhai Lakhwinder Singh Lakha, Bhai Gurmeet Singh, Bhai Shamsher Singh, Bhai Paramjeet Singh Bheora, and Bhai Jagtar Singh Tara.

Of these nine prisoners, eight have served jail sentences for 25 to 32 years, while one has served 17 years. The letter also mentioned the jails where the prisoners are lodged.

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