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  1. Bhullar suicidal, has psychiatric disorder: Experts Indian Express Apurva Posted online: Fri May 24 2013, 02:33 hrs New Delhi : A medical board, constituted by the Delhi government to ascertain the condition of death row convict Devinderpal Singh Bhullar, has come to the conclusion that he suffers from severe depression with psychotic symptoms and suicidal tendencies. The jail manual states that a death row convict has to be declared physically and mentally fit before execution. The medical board was formed after the Supreme Court rejected Bhullars petition to commute his death sentence to life imprisonment. Bhullar was awarded capital punishment in 2001 after being convicted in the 1993 Delhi bomb blast case. His wife Navneet Kaur, who has been waging a legal battle to get the sentence commuted, has repeatedly underlined that he is a psychiatric patient who has already suffered because of the delay in deciding his mercy petition. Sources in the Home department told The Indian Express on Thursday that the report of the medical board had been forwarded to Lieutenant Governor Tejendra Khanna for further action. The medical board found that he suffered from a psychiatric disorder with suicidal implications. They basically confirmed what he was being treated for at the Institute for Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) where Bhullar has been admitted since December 2010, a Home official said. According to the jail manual, a death row convict has to be declared physically and mentally fit before the sentence is carried out. The Tihar Jail manual clearly states that no sick person or someone suffering from a serious illness is to be hanged. It is up to the recommendation of the government. It has to take a decision based on the medical boards report, a Tihar Jail official said. He added that the decision to hang a convict declared sick would be the discretion of the government. The legal position, a lawyer said, is that the court is concerned only about the state of mind of the accused at the time of offence and not thereafter. Sources in the Home department said that in Bhullars case, President Pratibha Patil had rejected his mercy petition in 2011. In April this year, the Supreme Court rejected Bhullars appeal to commute his sentence to life imprisonment. The medical report has been forwarded to higher authorities who will now take a final decision, the Home official said. After the Supreme Court rejected Bhullars appeal, the Delhi government constituted a medical board to ascertain his present condition. After the court order, jail authorities had questioned Bhullars admission at IHBAS and had sought formation of a medical board that included members from other hospitals. The three-member board comprised chairperson Dr S K Khandelwal of AIIMS, and a psychiatrist each from Maulana Azad Medical College and G B Pant Hospital. Read more on https://www.facebook.com/SikhFederationUK#!/SikhFederationUK
  2. http://www.dayandnightnews.com/2013/05/punjab-announces-40-pc-subsidy-on-solar-pumps/
  3. OVER 250 Gurdwaras and Sikh organisations across the globe had in the first 24 hours signed up to the resolution agreed in the UK on Sunday 5 May at Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Smethwick regarding the Memorial for June 1984 in Amritsar. The hand-written 2-page resolution in Punjabi is available from the Sikh Federation (UK) Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sikh-Federation-UK-SFUK/440939405994284 The Sikh Federation (UK) has had a fantastic response from Gurdwaras and Sikh organisation across the UK and abroad. Over 120 UK Gurdwaras and Sikh organisations had signed up to the resolution in the first 24 hours. The Sikh Federation (UK) has also obtained support for the resolution and has the authority to mention: · over 35 Gurdwaras and Sikh organisations from Canada · over 30 Gurdwaras and Sikh organisations from USA · over 25 Gurdwaras and Sikh organisations from Italy · over 50 Gurdwaras and Sikh organisations from Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. The resolution was sent to the SGPC President, Avtar Singh Makkar, the Jathedar of the Akal Takht and copied to the Damdami Taksal. It was confirmed they had received the resolution before the Sant Samaj handed a Memorandum to the the Jathedar of the Akal Takht yesterday. Any Gurdwaras or Sikh organisations worldwide that wish to endorse the resolution passed in the UK have been asked to email the SGPC, Jathedar of the Akal Takht and copied to the Damdami Taksal and Sikh Federation (UK) on sikhfederationuk@yahoo.co.uk An advert with the resolution will be published in newspapers in Punjab. Bhai Amrik Singh Chair, Sikh Federation (UK)
  4. http://www.dayandnightnews.com/ http://www.youtube.com/user/DayAndNightNewsChd/videos
  5. SIKH FEDERATION (UK) WARNS INDIAN POLITICIANS OF DIRE CONSEQUENCES IF THEY MISJUDGE THE MOOD OF SIKHS 1 May 2013 The Sikh Federation has issued a strongly worded statement warning politicians in Punjab and the centre to recognise the sentiment of Sikhs not only in the Diaspora, but also those in Punjab, Delhi and other parts of India. The statement from Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) reads: Politicians need to take heed of the mood of Sikhs. If they misjudge this mood they will be responsible for the consequences and the angry reaction that may result. Politicians must realise Sikhs are genuinely disappointed and outraged. International media reporting and access to different forms of media is very different now than a few years ago, let alone 20 or 30 years ago. Therefore, the decisions made by politicians are more closely scrutinised and contested. In recent weeks we have seen the inappropriate banning of the film Sadda Haq by state governments in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi. The only reason for banning the film was that it exposes police brutality and tactics used to discredit the armed struggle in Punjab following the massacre of Sikhs in June and November 1984. There is now even more interest in the film since the Supreme Court lifted the ban. Many ordinary Sikhs and non-Sikhs are expected in increasing numbers to watch the film and sympathise after seeing the unfair treatment of Sikhs. We have also seen the disgraceful Supreme Court decision against Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar on 12 April and the huge outcry not only by Sikhs, but also many senior past and present members of the Indian judiciary who recognise the continued miscarriage of justice. The treatment of Professor Bhullar has also been exposed by leading human rights groups, like Amnesty International. Governments around the globe, not least the German, Canadian and UK governments are carefully watching to see if the Indian Home Minister and Indian President will see sense and not only lift the threat of the death penalty, but also release Professor Bhullar given how long he has already been in prison and the state of his health.' If this was not enough, this week we have seen objections by non-Sikh politicians to the inclusion of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwales name on the entrance of the newly built memorial for the martyrs in June 1984. This in turn has resulted in disquiet from the Punjab government that is exerting pressure on the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and the Jathedar of the Akaal Takht. They would be best advised not to insist on any changes to the memorial as emotions are running very high following yesterdays acquittal of Sajjan Kumar or they may be an unexpected backlash. Sikhs waited 29 years for a memorial, but are still waiting for justice. Yesterdays acquittal of Sajjan Kumar is a clear signal to Sikhs that they will never get justice in India and the Indian judicial system is fundamentally flawed. Sikhs are naturally comparing Sajjan Kumars acquittal to the treatment of Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar over the last 18 years and will not take kindly to any interference in what is or is not written on its memorial to the martyrs of June 1984. Gurjeet Singh National Press Secretary Sikh Federation (UK)
  6. SIKH FEDERATION (UK) WELCOMES CREATION OF CAUCUS IN US CONGRESS TO REPRESENT SIKH INTERESTS 25 April 2013 A bipartisan group of 28 influential lawmakers in the US House of Representatives have established the first Sikh-American Congressional Caucus to have the interests of the American Sikh community represented in the US Congress. The Sikh Federation (UK) given its leading role in lobbying in the UK and setting up of the All Party Parliamentary Group for British Sikhs in the UK in 2005 was specifically invited to the formal launch at Capitol Hill in Washington yesterday, of the first-ever Sikh-American Congressional Caucus. It was announced at a press conference the caucus is to be co-chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu from the Democratic Party and David G. Valadao from the Republican Party. The caucus will focus not only on representing American Sikhs, but also on educating legislators and the general public about the issues facing Sikhs. The launch was attended by eminent Sikh-American leaders and organisations from across the USA, the lawmakers also hosted a reception at Capitol Hill in the evening. Sikhs are suffering because many people do not understand or are simply unfamiliar with their religion. The Sikh-American community continues to be disproportionally affected by school bullying and hate crimes. Events like the devastating tragedy in Oak Creek, Wisconsin should never have taken place, Republican Congresswoman from Florida, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, said in her remarks at a Capitol Hill news conference to announce the launch of the Sikh-American Caucus. The immediate past Chairwoman of the powerful House Committee on Foreign Relations, Ros-Lehtinen, said the Sikh-American Caucus will raise awareness on the Sikh religion, while advocating for solutions to end bullying and racial profiling, and to protect religious freedom in the workplace. It is time that we embraced our Sikh brothers and sisters as peaceful and productive members of the American society, she said. California-based Congresswoman Judy Chu said: This caucus will be the voice for American Sikhs in the House of Representatives, working across the aisle to address the unique challenges that this community faces. Together, we will preserve religious freedom, protect the safety of all people, and celebrate Americas diversity A Sikh Federation (UK) spokesman said: It is important the caucus represents Sikh-Americans interests in the US, but also the treatment and human rights concerns relating to Sikhs across the globe, whether it be religious freedoms in European countries, such as France and Belgium, or gross human rights violations by the Indian authorities against the minority Sikh community. Gurjeet Singh National Press Secretary Sikh Federation (UK) Note: The following Members of Congress have joined the American Sikh Congressional Caucus: Rep. Karen Bass, Rep. Judy Chu, Rep. Gerry Connolly, Rep. John Conyers, Rep. Jim Costa, Rep. Jeff Denham, Rep. John Garamendi, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Joe Heck, Rep. Rush Holt, Rep. Mike Honda, Rep. Hank Johnson, Rep. Doug LaMalfa, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Rep. Tom McClintock, Rep. Jerry McNerney, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Doris Matsui, Rep. George Miller, Rep. Devin Nunes, Rep. Frank Pallone, Rep. Bill Pascrell, Rep. Gary Peters, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rep. Jackie Speier, Rep. David Valadao and Rep. Chris Van Hollen.
  7. CASTE DISCRIMINATION SET TO BECOME UNLAWFUL IN THE UK AND CAUSE MAJOR DIFFICULTIES FOR HINDU ORGANISATIONS 23 April 2013 Today the UK became the first European country to pass legislation on caste discrimination. Many including all Sikh organisations agree caste discrimination is unacceptable and must not be tolerated as stated by the Government Minister. The Sikh Federation (UK) which relied on the Sikh Council UK to represent a sensible Sikh view decided to directly get involved in influencing politicians at the eleventh hour this morning due to inaccurate comments about Sikhs by politicians in the House of Commons last week and the House of Lords yesterday evening. The Sikh Federation (UK) was also concerned that another Sikh organisation, for some unexplained reasons, was disturbingly working with certain right wing Hindu nationalist organisations in opposing legislation against caste discrimination. Politicians were therefore unnecessarily linking and dangerously grouping Sikhs with Hindus. As Lord Singh made clear in the House of Lords yesterday Sikhism totally condemns the whole system of caste and ritual purity, is opposed to discrimination based on caste and by definition one cannot be a Sikh and have a caste. However, an opportunity was missed by Lord Singh in not pointing out the existing definition of caste in the explanatory note to the Equality Act was not acceptable to Sikhs. Lord Singh did however point out the concept of caste is a hierarchical division of Hindu society. Lord Parekh who was not in favour of legislation and spoke against it yesterday in the House of Lords stated you cannot be a Hindu without belonging to a particular caste, full stop, which is why the legislation on caste discrimination is likely to prove to be highly divisive for Hindus. The caste issue has already exposed a huge divide among Hindu groups based in the UK. The Alliance of Hindu Organisations UK (AHO) has called for a boycott of any such legislation as it would label the entire Hindu community as being institutionally discriminatory. Some Hindu organisations have threatened to encourage Hindus to vote against Labour and other politicians who voted for legislation to outlaw caste discrimination. Lord Avebury in the debate in the House of Lords yesterday indicated that the Hindu Forum that speaks for a number of Hindu organisations astonishingly fails to acknowledge the existence of caste discrimination in the UK. Baroness Flather said: The Hindus have come together for the first time ever, to my knowledge, to shout about the caste amendment because they feel that this dishonours them in some way. They dishonour themselves: caste is a fact. Given the defeat of the Government in the House of Lords yesterday evening it was inevitable that an agreement would be reached between the main political parties in the House of Commons and legislation would be approved. It was therefore important to ensure a sensible way forward could be found. The Sikh Federation (UK) in its short briefing sent to Ministers and the Shadow Ministers speaking in the House of Commons today categorically stated it opposed caste and caste discrimination and reminded them that many of the Hindu groups opposing the legislation refuse to condemn caste and wrongly believe cast discrimination does not exist. This important difference between Sikhs and Hindus will be crucial to build upon in the next one to two years in consultations with Government. The Sikh Federation (UK) also stated whilst it supported the underlying spirit of the legislation to eliminate caste discrimination it did not believe legislation was the best way forward as it will enshrine caste in UK law and does not take proper account of evolving socio-economic trends in future generations. The Sikh Council UK expressed a similar view and the Government and Opposition listened and agreed to what is usually referred to as a sunset clause that will result in a review after it has been on the statute book for five years and periodically thereafter. The Sikh Federation (UK) like other Sikh organisations, such as the Sikh Council UK, stated in its briefing for Ministers and Shadow Ministers it expected the definition of caste in the explanatory note to the Equality Act to be changed before implementation of any new law as the definition is inaccurate and offensive and there should be no reference to Sikhs. Sufficient references were made in the debate in the House of Commons to suggest politicians understand the Sikh position. The Shadow Minister stated: The definition must recognise that caste is not specific to any religion but is a social and cultural practice extending across different parts of communities. It can be subscribed to by, and affect, members of any or no religion, and the definition must reflect that. The Minister responded by saying: We will consider carefully how to define caste. Although MPs agreed today in the House of Commons to introduce legislation on caste discrimination the Minister also indicated the Government and Opposition had agreed that it would not be implemented in the general ballpark of one to two years to allow proper consultation on matters such as the definition of caste. Gurjeet Singh National Press Secretary Sikh Federation (UK)
  8. FEDERATION OF SIKH ORGANISATIONS (FSO), GURDWARAS & SIKH MEDIA: Mass protest on Monday 15 April outside the Indian High Commission 12 noon -2pm, followed by march to UK Parliament and lobbying of MPs. This protest, march and lobby that will conclude by 5pm and is in support of Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar and censorship of film Sadda Haq.
  9. Colour and celebrations as new Sikh temple in Newcastle opens Sun 21 Apr 2013UK It's been an historic day for Tyneside's Sikh community with the official opening of a new temple that cost the community £2.7 million to build. The new building, just off the city's Westgate Road, replaces an old Temple which has been used or almost 35 years. Today a Holy Book was moved from the old building to the new in a colourful ceremony. The project has taken 15 years to complete. The new Temple, called a Gurdwara, will be used as a focal point for the entire community. As well as worship, it has classrooms, meeting rooms and a large dining area. Around 700 people from all faiths turned out to the opening of the new Temple. http://www.itv.com/news/tyne-tees/2013-04-21/colour-and-celebrations-as-new-sikh-temple-in-newcastle-opens/
  10. Govt rethinks stand on Bhullar after mercy pleas Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times New Delhi, April 19, 2013 First Published: 01:53 IST(19/4/2013) | Last Updated: 02:11 IST(19/4/2013) The government is reconsidering the decision to execute death row convict DPS Bhullar after the Punjab government and a human rights group moved the Rashtrapati Bhavan with fresh mercy pleas on Thursday. The pleas, citing Bhullars mental condition, are likely to help the government in wriggling out of a tight spot following the rejection of his petition by the Supreme Court last week. The Centres final decision will depend on the report of an independent medical board being set up by the Delhi government to ascertain whether Bhullars mental condition allows him to be hanged. The head of the team of doctors looking after him at the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS), Dr Nimesh G Desai told HT: He (Bhullar) is suffering from depression and psychotic disorder since last two years.Our view is he is mentally ill. Bhullars lawyers have alleged that former President Pratibha Patil was not informed about Bhullars mental condition when she rejected his mercy petittion in 2011. Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal said his partys delegation told President Pranab Mukherjee that Bhullar is not in a fit state of mind and his death sentence should be converted into life imprisonment. Shinde for keeping fate of pleas secret Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde asserted that the government wanted to keep the fate of mercy petitions a secret lest people approach the Supreme Court and get a stay. The ministers reference was to the SC stay on the hanging of 8 death row convicts after their mercy petitions were rejected by Rashtrapati Bhavan. Shinde said he favoured informing the family before execution. http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/NewDelhi/Govt-rethinks-stand-on-Bhullar-after-mercy-pleas/Article1-1046732.aspx
  11. ACHR files fresh mercy plea on Bhullar to President Mukherjee New Delhi , Thu, 18 Apr 2013ANI New Delhi, April 18 (ANI): The Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) today submitted a fresh mercy plea to President Pranab Mukherjee seeking commutation of death sentence of condemned prisoner Devender Singh Bhullar to life imprisonment. The ACHR claimed in a statement that there is already a precedent for the President of India to reconsider a mercy plea twice. The mercy plea of death-row convict, Mahendra Nath Das, of Assam was considered twice as shown from the minutes of the Rashtrapati Bhawan supplied under the RTI Act. On 30 September 2009, President Pratibha Patil sent a "communication to the Home Minister noting that the conduct of Mr Das did not show trace of pre-meditated murder and that the crime could have been committed due to lack of mental equanimity. In view of the above, the Home Minister was advised to consider extending the benefit of clemency to Mahendra Nath Das and that during his incarceration in prison, he may receive periodical counselling to reform his personal and mental psyche". "If Mr Das's mercy plea could be reviewed twice, there is no reason as to why Bhullar's mercy plea cannot be considered afresh." - said Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights. In addition, Asian Centre for Human Rights stated the Government has failed to comply with the order of majority judges i.e. Justices Arijit Pasyat and B N Agrawal in the case of Bhullar that "if any motion is made in terms of Section 432, 433 and 433A of the Code and/or Article 72 or Article 161of the Constitution as the case may be" the views of Presiding Judge Justice M B Shah be taken as per Section 432(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code. Justice Shah's views have not been sought and the Government cannot hang somebody in clear violation of the order set out by the Supreme Court. "Had Mr Bhullar not been tried under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA), he would have been acquitted as under Section 25 of the Indian Evidence Act any confessional statement given by accused to police is inadmissible as evidence and cannot be brought on record by the prosecution and is insufficient to convict the accused." - Further stated Mr Chakma. Asian Centre for Human Rights also submitted 16 judgments in which death penalty was commuted to life imprisonment by the President despite no dissenting judgment of any of the judges of the Supreme Court. This is in contrast to the dismissal of mercy petition of Mr Bhullar despite dissenting judgment of Justice Shah. Asian Centre for Human Rights stated that the adoption of specific resolutions in the State Assemblies of Jammu and Kashmir, Tamil Nadu and Punjab against imposition of death penalty shows that a substantial segment of the Indian society is not ready to accept death penalty. It is in India's national interest to abolish death penalty. Giving 10 grounds, Asian Centre for Human Rights called upon the Government of India to commute condemned prisoner, Mr Devender Pal Singh Bhullar's death sentence to life imprisonment; declare a moratorium on death penalty; and set up an expert committee to consider ways/means for final abolition of death penalty. (ANI) http://www.newstrackindia.com/newsdetails/2013/04/18/112-ACHR-files-fresh-mercy-plea-on-Bhullar-to-President-Mukherjee.html
  12. Bhullar is innocent, says Sikh writer to NHRC New Delhi,Immigration/Law/Rights, Wed, 17 Apr 2013IANS New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) An eminent Sikh writer has appealed to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to intervene and pardon 1993 Delhi bombing convict Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar. In his April 15 letter to the chairperson of the NHRC, Sangat Singh said: "It is my earnest conviction and submission that Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar is a completely innocent person and not involved in the bomb blast." Singh, a former Indian government official who is the author of 'The Sikhs in History', said Bhullar be "released" and "paid a hefty compensation for the wrongs done to him." He feels Bhullar was framed and is "neither a Khalistani, nor a terrorist." On April 12, the Supreme Court l rejected a petition by Bhullar seeking that his death sentence be commuted to life imprisonment as his mercy plea had not been decided by the president for a long time. Bhullar was given capital punishment for the Sep 10, 1993 bomb explosion at the Youth Congress office in Delhi that left nine dead and 17 injured. The attack was targeted against then Youth Congress leader M.S. Bitta, who was also injured in the attack. The NHRC has "strongly" recommended to the home ministery to allow the family members of Bhullar to meet him. Singh, who is also a former intelligence official, is not the only one who has appealed for Bhullar. Press Council of India chairman Markandey Katju has also written to the President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appealing for pardon or commuting the death sentence of Bhullar, who is undergoing treatment at a mental asylum in Delhi. http://www.newstrackindia.com/newsdetails/2013/04/17/336--Bhullar-is-innocent-says-Sikh-writer-to-NHRC-.html
  13. Plea seeks referring case to constitutional bench HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times New Delhi, April 17, 2013 First Published: 23:43 IST(17/4/2013) | Last Updated: 00:23 IST(18/4/2013) A Patiala resident has sent a petition to the Supreme Court, seeking a stay on Devinderpal Singh Bhullar's execution so as to enable a larger bench to consider the legal issues involved in the case. In a petition addressed to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Altamas Kabir, Tarsem Singh Khatkar (73) said the apex court bench that rejected Bhullar's petition could not have entertained the matter as a "substantial question of law" was to be interpreted and the "same can be done by a five-judge bench only". Citing Article 145 (3) of the Constitution, he requested the CJI to reopen Bhullar's case by referring it to a constitutional bench. In a related development, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday "strongly" recommended to the union government to allow Bhullar's close relatives to meet him. The NHRC recommendation came after a delegation and Bhullar's wife Navneet Kaur met commission chairperson justice KG Balakrishnan (retd) and other members regarding the execution. "The commission has strongly recommended that close relatives of the prisoner be given an opportunity to meet him. The commission's recommendations have been sent to the union home ministry," NHRC said. On April 7, the CJI had said that the family of Afzal Guru - the 2001 Parliament attack convict who was executed on February 9 - should have been informed about his hanging before it took place. Sources also said the NHRC recommendation came against the backdrop of complaints that Guru was executed without allowing his family members to meet him for the last time. Bhullar, whose plea for commutation of death sentence to life term was rejected by the Supreme Court, is presently under treatment for depression at the Institute of Human Behaviour & Allied Sciences (IHBAS) here. http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/NewDelhi/Plea-seeks-referring-case-to-constitutional-bench/Article1-1046056.aspx
  14. AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF PROF BHULLAR AI index: ASA 20/022/2013 17 April 2013 INDIA: GOVERNMENT URGED TO STOP ALL EXECUTIONS AS NEW CONCERNS EMERGE Amnesty International is seriously alarmed by the decision issued by the Supreme Court of India in Devender Pal Singh Bhullars case on 12 April 2013. Amnesty International urges the Indian authorities not to carry out this or any other executions and to immediately establish a moratorium on the implementation of death sentences as a first step towards abolition of the death penalty. Devender Pal Singhs trial fell far short of international standards for a fair trial. The Supreme Courts decision raises concerns about the treatment of delay in the disposal of mercy petitions. Amnesty International is also deeply disappointed that the Supreme Court practically ignored highly relevant international human rights standards despite repeated acknowledgment by judges of the Indian Supreme Court that it is an accepted rule of judicial construction that regard must be had to international conventions and norms for construing domestic law occupying the field. For instance, in Vishaka & Others vs. State of Rajasthan & Others 1997 (6) SCC 24. The recent resumption of executions and the secrecy around them have added to a highly troubling catalogue of concerns over the Indian authorities use of the death penalty. Unfair trial concerns: Devender Pal Singh Bhullars case The trial of Devender Pal Singh Bhullar, one of the prisoners now at risk of imminent execution, failed to meet international standards for a fair trial. Devender Pal Singh Bhullar was sentenced to death in August 2001 for his involvement in a bomb attack in New Delhi in 1993 that killed nine people. He was arrested at the New Delhi Airport in January 1995 under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA), a law that subsequently lapsed and contained provisions incompatible with international human rights law, including the right to a fair trial. Devender Pal Singh Bhullar had no access to a lawyer during his initial detention and trial. He was found guilty on the basis of an unsubstantiated confession made to the police, which he later retracted, claiming it was a false confession made under police pressure. He has maintained his innocence throughout. The Supreme Court confirmed the conviction and death sentence in March 2002. However, one of the three judges found Devender Pal Singh not guilty, concluding that there was no evidence to convict him and that a dubious confession could not be the basis for imposing a death sentence. The same Supreme Court judges, again by a 2 to 1 majority, dismissed a review petition in December 2002. The two judges in favour of the death sentence observed that the non-unanimous sentence could be a factor to be considered in the mercy petition process. Devender Pal Singh Bhullars petition was rejected by the President in May 2011, eight years after the request was filed. Devender Pal Singh Bhullar challenged the decision before the Supreme Court, seeking commutation of his death sentence on the grounds of inordinate delay in its consideration and challenging the constitutionality of his prolonged stay on death row, which he claimed was cruel, inhuman and degrading, in violation also of international human rights law. The use of the death penalty in India is riddled with systemic flaws. Inconsistency in sentencing is a particular concern. Another is successive legislation providing for trial, conviction and sentence of death for terrorist offences which violates international law and standards for fair trial. Concerns with such legislation include the broad definition of terrorist acts for which the death penalty can be imposed; insufficient safeguards on arrest; exceptional provisions that allow confessions made to police rather than a magistrate to be admissible as evidence; obstacles to confidential communication with counsel; insufficient independence of special courts from executive power; insufficient safeguards for the presumption of innocence; provisions for discretionary closed trials; sweeping provisions to keep secret the identity of witnesses; and limits on the right to review by a higher tribunal. An alarming and regressive judgment that ignores international standards In the Indian justice system, a mercy petition is often the final opportunity for individuals to have their death sentences commuted by the executive after judicial appeals have been exhausted. In 1989, a five judge bench of the Supreme Court of India laid down circumstances under which prisoners could approach courts to challenge decisions on their mercy petitions on the grounds of inordinate delay. The Supreme Court held that: Undue long delay in execution of the sentence of death will entitle the condemned person to approach this Court under Article 32 This Court [however] may consider the question of inordinate delay in the light of all circumstances of the case to decide whether the execution of sentence should be carried out or should be altered into imprisonment for life. No fixed period of delay could be held to make the sentence of death in-executable. Even prior to this 1989 judgement, the Supreme Court had commuted death sentences to life imprisonment on account of inordinate executive delay amounting to a violation of the right to life under the Indian constitution. In some of these commutations, the executive delay was of two years and under. For instance, in T V Vatheeswaran vs. State of Tamil Nadu AIR 1983 SC 361. In its judgment of 12 April 2013, Devender Pal Singh Bhullar vs. State of N.C.T of Delhi , Writ Petition (Criminal) D. No. 16039 of 2011, issued on 12 April 2013. the Supreme Court noted the petitioners claims that the long delay of eight years in disposal of the mercy petition has rendered the sentence of death cruel, inhuman and degrading, treatment (para.39). However, it decided not to commute the death sentence in this case and set that claim aside based on the "enormity of the crime". Worryingly, the judgment also states that delay cannot be invoked in cases where a person is convicted for an offence under TADA or similar statutes. Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment are absolutely and unequivocally prohibited under international human rights and humanitarian law. The prohibition is a peremptory norm of general international law which applies to all states, and is provided for in Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which India is a State Party. This provision is non-derogable, namely it cannot be revoked or restricted even in the direst of emergencies. The Supreme Courts approach that considerations of the enormity of the crime may overweigh claims of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is therefore of extreme concern. Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all circumstances, and therefore does not believe that there is any appropriate length of time a prisoner can be held before execution. Mental health concerns inadequately considered The UN Commission on Human Rights also called upon all states that retain the death penalty Not to impose the death penalty on a person suffering from any mental or intellectual disabilities or to execute any such person. Devender Pal Singh Bhullar has been receiving treatment at a psychiatric facility in New Delhi and in 2011 his lawyer requested that the Supreme Court of India consider his mental ill-health as grounds for commuting his death sentence. In its judgment issued on 12 April, the Supreme Court of India recognized that documentation produced by Devender Pal Singh Bhullars lawyer indicate that on account of prolonged detention in jail after his conviction and sentence to death, the petitioner has suffered physically and mentally. It however concludes that such documentation cannot be relied upon for recording a finding that the petitioners mental health has deteriorated to such an extent that the sentence awarded to him cannot be executed. In view of the fact that Devender Pal Singh Bhullar has been in a psychiatric facility for more than two years, this brief and unexplained dismissal is another worrying instance of the Court appearing to disregard international human rights standards. Fear of new imminent executions Amnesty International is concerned that the decision and reasoning in Bhullars case will have an impact of other cases pending before the Supreme Court on similar grounds. Of particular concern are cases brought under TADA. Amnesty International is deeply concerned that the Supreme Courts ruling will weaken the chances of these individuals mercy petitions succeeding. On 6 April 2013, the Supreme Court of India stayed the executions of the following eight individuals while petitions were filed on their behalf arguing for a commutation of the death sentence to imprisonment because of inordinate delay on the part of the executive in deciding their mercy petitions: Praveen Kumar, Gurmeet Singh, Jafar Ali, Suresh and Ramji, Sonia and Sanjeev, Sunder Singh, and Dharampal. Many of these people have been on death row for a long period of time some, like Suresh, Ramji and Dharampal, have been on death row for over a decade. Other individuals whose mercy petitions were rejected, and have had their executions stayed while their petition is pending in court include: Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan and Gnanaprakasam, Simon, Meesekar Madaiah, Bilavendran, Mahendra Nath Das and Saibanna. Of these, Santhan, Murugan, Perarivalan, Gnanaprakasam, Simon, Madaiah and Bilavendran have been convicted for offences under the TADA. India resumed executions after a hiatus of over eight years in November 2012, when Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai attacks, was hanged. Another execution, Afzal Gurus, was carried out in February 2013. The President has rejected at least a further nine mercy petitions in 2013 alone. Secrecy in the use of the death penalty While Amnesty International opposes the death penalty unconditionally, the organization is also concerned by the lack of transparency that has surrounded the use of the death penalty in India since November last year. When Ajmal Kasab was executed on 21 November 2012, the public was only informed after the execution had been carried out. Similarly, when Afzal Guru was executed on 9 February 2013, even his family only received official notification of his execution after it had been carried out. Moreover, Afzal Gurus body was not returned to his family for burial. Information regarding decisions on mercy petitions by the President is no longer available on the website of the Presidents Secretariat. On 5 April it was reported that the President had made decisions on mercy petitions pending before him, reportedly rejecting the petitions of at least seven individuals. However, to date, the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs has not clarified how many petitions were rejected, or the number or identity of individuals whose mercy petitions were rejected. Reports indicate that on 5 April at least one prisoner was moved to detention facilities equipped to carry out executions immediately after his mercy petition was rejected, and prior to the filing of extraordinary appeals before the Supreme Court. Transparency on the use of the death penalty is among the fundamental safeguards of due process that prevent the arbitrary deprivation of life. Making information public with regard to legislation providing for the death penalty as well as its implementation allows for an assessment of whether fair trial and other international standards are being respected. In resolution 2005/59, adopted on 20 April 2005, the UN Commission on Human Rights called upon all states that still maintain the death penalty to make available to the public information with regard to the imposition of the death penalty and to any scheduled execution. The UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions has also stated that Refusing to provide convicted persons and family members advance notice of the date and time of execution is a clear human rights violation. Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Transparency and the Imposition of the Death Penalty, UN Doc. E/CN.4/2006/53/Add.3, 24 March 2006, para 32. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment has stated that refusal to hand over the body for burial [is an] intentional act, fully mindful of causing family members turmoil, fear and anguish over the fate of their loved one(s). Report of the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture, UN DOC. E/CN.4/2003/68/Add.2, 3 February 2003, para.65. Expansion of the scope of the death penalty Earlier in April, the President signed into law the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, which provides for the death penalty for certain forms of rape and expands the scope of capital punishment in India, against recommendations by UN human rights bodies and mechanisms and despite contrary recommendations by the Justice Verma Committee. Resumption of the death penalty bucks global trends As of today, 140 countries are abolitionist in law or in practice. Out of 41 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, 17 have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, 10 are abolitionist in practice and one Fiji uses the death penalty only for exceptional military crimes. Over the past 10 years, four Asia-Pacific countries abolished the death penalty for all crimes: Bhutan and Samoa in 2004, the Philippines in 2006 and the Cook Islands in 2007. Only one in 10 countries in the world carries out executions, and only 21 of the worlds countries were recorded as having carried out executions in 2012. UN bodies and mechanisms have repeatedly called upon member states to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty, including through the adoption of four UN General Assembly resolutions in December 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012. India voted against all four resolutions. In a General Comment on Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which India is a State Party, the Human Rights Committee, the expert body charged with overseeing this Covenants implementation, stated that Article 6 (which provides for the right to life) "refers generally to abolition [of the death penalty] in terms which strongly suggest ... that abolition is desirable. The Committee concludes that all measures of abolition should be considered as progress in the enjoyment of the right to life... " Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, and regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence, or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to carry out the execution. Amnesty International has also consistently condemned attacks on civilians by armed groups, including in India, irrespective of the cause in the name of which they are or purport to be carried out. Amnesty International also reiterates that states have an obligation to guarantee justice to the victims of terrorist attacks and their families. States must conduct prompt, thorough, effective and independent official investigations into all incidents of terrorist attacks, capable of leading to the identification of the persons reasonably suspected of being responsible for such acts, and try those accused in proceedings that meet international fair trial standards, without recourse to the death penalty. Recommendations: Amnesty International calls on the Indian authorities: -not to execute Devender Pal Singh Bhullar, to remove him from death row immediately, and retry his case in proceedings that comply with international fair trial standards; -to commute all death sentences to terms of imprisonment; and -to immediately establish a moratorium on execution as a first step towards full abolition of the death penalty. Read more India: Amnesty International calls for death sentence on Devender Pal Singh not to be carried out (24 June 2011): http://amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA20/033/2011/en/c1200318-d6aa-48ff-83ee-b3825d19e752/asa200332011en.pdf India: Execution imminent after plea rejected (12 April 2013): http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA20/020/2013/en Death Sentences and Executions 2012: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ACT50/001/2013/en/bbfea0d6-39b2-4e5f-a1ad-885a8eb5c607/act500012013en.pdf http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA20/022/2013/en
  15. Public prosecutor turns surprise ally for Bhullar MittaManoj Mitta, TNN | Apr 18, 2013, 04.15 AM IST Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar has received support from an unlikely quarter: the special public prosecutor who had appeared against him in the Supreme Court in 2002. NEW DELHI: Even as the home ministry is examining the Punjab government's plea to commute his death penalty, Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar has received support from an unlikely quarter: the special public prosecutor who had appeared against him in the Supreme Court in 2002. Though two of the three judges on the Supreme Court bench upheld his arguments, senior advocate Anoop G Chaudhari said that he found himself agreeing with the dissenting verdict delivered by the presiding judge, M B Shah, who had actually acquitted Bhullar. "Surprising as it may sound, I believe that Shah was right in not accepting my submissions in support of the trial court's decision to convict Bhullar in a terror case, entirely on the basis of his confessional statement to the police," Chaudhari told TOI. "Shah refused to acquiesce to the Delhi police's presumption that they had a lot of margin for shoddy investigation because of the involvement of terror." A former advocate general of Madhya Pradesh, Chaudhari also said that it was "most inappropriate" for the majority verdict, delivered by Justice Arijit Pasayat, to have awarded death sentence to Bhullar despite the acquittal by a member of the same bench. In any event, this "judicial error", he said, should have been taken by the home ministry as a "strong ground" for commuting the death penalty, when it made its recommendation to the President on Bhullar's mercy petition in 2011. "Did the home ministry think that the acquittal by a Supreme Court judge was meaningless?" Chaudhari asked. But how could he be saying all these things in Bhullar's favor, given his own role in the case? "After the judgment is delivered, I read it as a student of law and not a lawyer who appeared for one or the other party," Chaudhari said. "If I can't detach myself from the case and appreciate the judgment in its correct perspective, then I won't be honest to my profession and my conscience". One of the major infirmities in the prosecution's case pointed out by Shah was the failure of the police to find any corroboration for Bhullar's confessional statement to them, even he had retracted it. "When Shah asked me about this lacuna during the hearings, I said that I could only argue what was on record and I could not step into the shoes of the investigating agency and explain why they had not taken the trouble of finding any corroborative evidence," Chaudhari said. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Public-prosecutor-turns-surprise-ally-for-Bhullar/articleshow/19606737.cms
  16. OPEN LETTER FROM THE FEDERATION OF SIKH ORGANISATIONS (UK) TO THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT REGARDING PROFESSOR BHULLAR Published: April 16, 2013 OPEN LETTER FROM THE FEDERATION OF SIKH ORGANISATIONS TO THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT 15 April 2013 HANGING PROFESSOR DAVINDERPAL SINGH BHULLAR WILL BE THE FINAL STEP IN A MASSIVE MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE AND ANOTHER INDICATION SIKHS CAN NEVER GET JUSTICE IN INDIA As of today, 140 or more than two-thirds of countries in the world have abolished the death penalty in law or practice. However, India, the world’s so-called largest democracy, is defying world opinion and preparing to hang an innocent man. Sikhs across the globe in their millions are dismayed at the action of the Indian state. Several thousand Sikhs have today laid siege to the High Commission of India in London to demand India immediately remove the Professor from death row. The Professor should be released without delay given his deteriorating health, following 18 years in prison with the last 11 on death row, and the last two-and-a-half years suffering from serious mental illness. Similar protests are taking place across Europe, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand. In December 1994 Professor Bhullar fled to Germany following the killing of his father and uncle by Sumedh Saini, the current Director General of Punjab Police. He was deported from Germany in January 1995 following assurances by the Indian authorities to the German Government he had nothing to fear if he returned to India. Subsequently, the courts in Germany declared his deportation was illegal and in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. Germany remains morally obliged to do all it can to make sure the Professor is not hanged and seek his immediate release. Upon his arrival in Delhi the Professor was immediately arrested and a confessional statement obtained through torture that he later retracted as it was made under police pressure. The Professor had no access to a lawyer during his initial detention and trial. He was convicted on the basis of an unsubstantiated “confession” that he made to the police with 133 witnesses failing to identify him and sentenced to death notwithstanding the leading judge in the Supreme Court concluding he should be released due to lack of evidence. He said the Professor could not be found guilty of conspiracy as this would require by definition that he conspired with another and as others named in the confession statement are acquitted, it is impossible for him to conspire with himself. A split judgement in the Supreme Court has never in Indian history resulted in the imposition of the death penalty. Even the two judges in favour of the death sentence observed that the split judgement could be a factor considered in the mercy petition process – the final opportunity for individuals to have their death sentences commuted. For the last 11 years the Professor has been on death row in Tihar Central Prison, Delhi and held in solitary confinement spending 22 hours in a 9×7 cell. This has been a torture worse than death. It is no surprise that his mental state has been very poor for the last two-and-a-half years and he has been hospitalised. In resolution 2005/59, the UN Commission on Human Rights called upon all states that retain the death penalty “Not to impose the death penalty on a person suffering from any mental or intellectual disabilities or to execute any such person”. Amnesty International launched its third Urgent Action appeal for Professor Bhullar on Friday 12 April 2013 calling upon the Indian government not to execute the Professor, to remove him from death row immediately, and retry his case in proceedings that comply with international fair trial standards. If India executes Professor Bhullar it will signal to the world that India is backward and prepared to go to extreme lengths to eliminate all Sikh political prisoners. India will also be testing the resolve of countries in the civilised world who will realise India has no respect for human rights, is barbaric and has no compassion and is using trade as blackmail. http://www.sikhsiyasat.net/2013/04/16/open-letter-from-the-federation-of-sikh-organizations-uk-to-the-indian-government-regarding-prof-bhullar/
  17. Amnesty wants death penalty "moratorium" amid Sikh protests PTI London, April 16, 2013 Amid protests by UK-based Sikhs against the death sentence of Delhi bomb blast accused Devinderpal Singh Bhullar, a prominent human rights group has called on the Indian government to establish a "moratorium" on capital punishment. As hundreds of Sikh protesters sporting pro-Khalistan banners gathered outside the Indian High Commission in London Monday to voice their protest against the death sentence awarded to Delhi bomb blast accused Bhullar, London-based Amnesty International warned that India was in danger of alienating itself on the world stage. "We renew our call to the Indian government to establish a moratorium on executions. The way mercy petitions are being rejected is a cause for concern. As a global player, just political or economic achievements are not enough. India must be seen as an upholder of human rights in the world," Chiara Sangiorgio, Amnesty campaigner and death penalty expert, told PTI. "The hanging of Ajmal Kasab (2008 Mumbai attacks accused) last year, the first since 2004, was a big setback to the country's own record of leniency and one of the most shocking developments of 2012. India had been seen as an inspiration in the region and any further hangings will be extremely regressive," she added. Parliament attack accused Afzal Guru was also hanged, earlier this year. The Supreme Court had upheld Bhullar's death sentence on Friday, rejecting a 12-year appeal against his conviction for plotting the 1993 car bombing in New Delhi that killed nine people. Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has now urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to commute the death sentence to life in prison over fears of wider protests in the state which endured a brutal separatist insurgency in the 1980s. Amnesty echoed concerns over the manner in which the last execution, that of Guru, was carried out and warned against a repeat of similar secrecy that might trigger unrest. "International standards require a notification to the family lawyers and the wider public. The process must be seen to be transparent to ensure all safeguards are followed and a proper informed debate can take place," added Sangiorgio, among the authors of Amnesty's recent death penalty report for 2012 which was highly critical of India's record on the issue. The report said, India along with Japan and Pakistan, resumed executions in 2012 after long periods when these countries were execution-free.
  18. Bhullar security up, time with family cut to 10 minutes from 4 hrs per day Pritha Chatterjee : New Delhi, Tue Apr 16 2013, 11:04 hrs Three days after the Supreme Court rejected his mercy plea, death row convict Devinderpal Singh Bhullar's security was tightened and the visiting time with his family members curtailed drastically at the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) in Delhi, where he has been admitted since December 2010. The police personnel guarding his ward room has been doubled to eight from earlier four, officials said Monday. A senior police official from the third battalion of the Delhi Armed Police confirmed that fresh instructions have been issued to IHBAS to cut down the visiting time of Bhullar's immediate family members and lawyers to 10 minutes, against nearly four hours that they enjoyed till now. "We allow immediate family members four to five hours with their patients. Bhullar's wife also spent at least four hours when she came to visit. But when she came here Monday morning, police officials said they have orders to cut down the time to 10 minutes," a senior doctor at IHBAS said, requesting not to be named. He said doctors have written to the police to extend the visiting time to at least 30 minutes. Sources said that Bhullar's attendant - a ward boy provided by the hospital who has been staying with him for the past nine months - has been barred from carrying his mobile phone inside the ward room. On Friday last week, his Canada-based wife Navneet Kaur visited Bhullar and told him about the apex court's verdict, sources said. "He was particularly disinterested that day and has been turning down any attempts to counsel him. He has also stopped undergoing physiotherapy for lumbar spondylosis and just keeps lying in bed," Dr Rajesh Kumar, consultant in psychiatry who has been treating Bhullar since 2007, said. Always a light eater, sources said that in the last two days, Bhullar has consumed only one chapatti, two glasses of milk and little bit of salad. Kumar said that Bhullar's initial diagnosis of depression, now includes psychotic symptoms, and the IHBAS has no plans to discharge him immediately. "We cannot discharge him now since his condition shows no improvement. In fact, there has been a deterioration. When he first came, he only had symptoms of depression. But now, there are psychotic manifestations also. We are giving him anti-depressants and anti-psychotic drugs with some injectable sedatives on certain occasions," Dr Kumar added. Doctors said Bhullar's psychotic symptoms include certain typical, repeated hallucinations. "He frequently thinks he is the finance minister and keeps calling out for his helicopter saying he has meetings to attend. Sometimes he imagines he is with his father and starts talking to him," a consultant doctor attending Bhullar said. The death row convict also does not go out of his room on for walks, saying "someone will stab him." Dr Amit Khanna, another consultant in treating Bhullar said, "Sometimes he screams and claims he saw blood on the walls. His conversations are incoherent and he keeps staring into space and keeps talking to himself. He does not show any signs of understanding his case or the legal process." Doctors have had to sedate him at night on occasions when he suddenly leaves the ward, "calling out to someone." Ever since he was admitted to the IHBAS, Bhullar has lost 7 kgs, and now weighs 57 Kg. "His sleep pattern has grown more and more erratic. Now, he barely sleeps a couple of hours at night," a doctor added. In its verdict last week, the apex court had observed that "the petitioner's mental health has deteriorated to such an extent that the sentence awarded to him cannot be executed." Doctors said that Bhullar's routine has also become more and more unstructured over the last two years. "He misses meals and does not even bathe regularly," a source from the hospital said, adding that during the last few months, when Bhullar was relatively coherent, he had resisted counselling saying: "Doctor sahab, what is the point? How can ever I feel happy?" However doctors said that he can recognise his family members and the doctor, though he does not engage in any extended conversation even with his wife. Doctors said no instructions have been communicated to them so far about Bhullar's discharge or constitution of a medical board to ascertain his condition. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/bhullar-security-up-time-with-family-cut-to-10-minutes-from-4-hrs-per-day/1103163/0
  19. Protest, March and Lobby MPs Save an Innocent Professor from Death in India Thousands of Sikhs from across the UK are expected to protest and lay siege outside the High Commission of India on Monday 15 April between 12 noon and 2pm following the decision by the Supreme Court of India on Friday 12 April that Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar should be put to death by hanging. Sikhs will then march from the High Commission in Aldwych, down the Strand and Whitehall to the Houses of Parliament. Sikhs have been contacting MPs since Friday via email, social media and telephone and will lobby them in large numbers between 3-5pm. The aim of the lobby is to get the UK Government to take immediate action with EU partners, in particular Germany, to get the Indian authorities to remove the Professor from death row and given his deteriorating health, following 18 years in prison, to seek his speedy release on grounds of compassion. Although the protest, march and lobby is expected to be peaceful emotions in the Sikh community are running very high and a certain amount of traffic disruption in Aldwych, The Strand and Whitehall is expected. Large queues are also expected outside Parliament and numbers inside will make it difficult for the authorities to cope. Upon hearing of the verdict by the Supreme Court on Friday Sikhs have been holding a constant vigil from midday outside 10 Downing Street. This has been an around the clock vigil where numbers at times have swelled to over a thousand. Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said: This is a massive miscarriage of justice and another indication to Sikhs worldwide that Sikhs can never get justice in India. In India Sikhs in their millions are dismayed by Fridays decision by the Supreme Court against Professor Bhullar. Many non-Sikhs, members of the judiciary, politicians, human rights activists and the media across the globe are increasingly realising the significance of the decision on Friday. In December 1994 Professor Bhullar fled to Germany following the killing of his father and uncle by Sumedh Saini, the current Director General of Police, Punjab, India. Professor Bhullar is an innocent man who was deported from Germany in January 1995 following assurances by the Indian authorities to the German Government he had nothing to fear if he returned to India. Subsequently, the courts in Germany declared his deportation was illegal and in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. Upon his arrival in Delhi he was immediately arrested, a confessional statement obtained through torture, convicted despite 133 witnesses failing to identify him and sentenced to death notwithstanding the leading judge in the Supreme Court concluding he should be released due to lack of evidence. For the last 11 years the Professor has been on death row and held in solitary confinement spending 22 hours in a 9×7 cell. This has been a torture worse than death. It is no surprise that his mental state has been very poor for the last two and a half years and he has been hospitalised. Amnesty International launched an Urgent Action Appeal on Friday 12 April 2013 calling upon the Indian government not to execute Professor Bhullar, to remove him from death row immediately, and retry his case in proceedings that comply with international fair trial standards. http://www.sikh24.com/2013/04/protest-march-and-lobby-mps-save-an-innocent-professor-from-death-in-india/
  20. SIKH FEDERATION (UK) URGES SIKHS IN GERMANY TO GET GERMAN GOVERNMENT TO RAISE CASE OF PROFESSOR BHULLAR AND TO IMMEDIATELY STOP CENSORSHIP OF THE FILM SAADA HAQ WHEN MANMOHAN SINGH VISITS LATER THIS WEEK 8 April 2013 The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be visiting Germany on Wednesday for a 3-day visit. He will hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin from Wednesday. The main purpose of his visit is to get support for the India-European Union Foreign Trade Agreement (FTA). The negotiations between the EU and India began 6 years ago in April 2007 and so far twelve rounds of negotiations have been held. The negotiations have been controversial and mostly held behind closed doors. Reportedly, one of the main roadblocks has been the EUs insistence on including non-trade issues (human rights issues and environmental and labour standards) in the FTA, to which India is strictly opposed. The EU continues to insist that India should improve its human rights, labour standards and animal welfare issues, amongst other non-trade concerns. On 21 November 2012 India ended its unofficial eight-year moratorium on the death penalty when it hanged Ajmal Kasab. The Sikh Federation (UK) and its human rights wing Khalsa Human Rights have increased communications with the European Commission in Brussels and exerted greater pressure through Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) regarding the death penalty in India and other human rights concerns. On 21 January 2013 the Sikh Federation (UK) led an EU-wide delegation of Sikh representatives in a meeting in Brussels with European Commission officials dealing with human rights and India. Following this meeting Baroness Catherine Ashton, the EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner met the Indian Foreign Minister on 30 January 2013. The planned India-EU Summit in Brussels that Manmohan Singh was to attend in February 2013 to finalise the FTA was then postponed for later in the year. Since then India has again carried out the death penalty on 9 February 2013 by hanging Afzal Guru. In addition, Pranab Mukherjee, India's President, has broken all records and now ordered the death penalty for fourteen convicts in the last nine months. On Friday 5 April Amnesty International issued a world-wide Urgent Action appeal (UA 85/13: India: Indian prisoners at risk of imminent execution) that includes Balwant Singh Rajoana. Bhai Amrik Singh, Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said: We have contacted Sikh representatives in Germany about Manmohan Singhs visit later this week and were in Frankfurt a week earlier urging Sikhs in Germany to increase political pressure on the German Government regarding Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullars case given the German authorities illegally deported him in January 1995. This is an excellent opportunity for Sikhs in Germany to join forces with Amnesty International and other international human rights groups to exert maximum pressure on the German Government to take up the issue of the death penalty and human rights abuses with the Indian Prime Minister. In addition, this is an opportunity to work with anti-censorship groups and civil liberty groups in Germany about the controversial decision by state governments to ban the film Saada Haq in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi despite approval by the Censor Board. This is another violation of basic human rights on freedom of expression and cannot be justified. Manmohan Singh needs to get a very clear message from the German Government and those living in Germany, including Sikhs, that its human rights record is getting worse and will not be tolerated by Member States of the European Union. Gurjeet Singh National Press Secretary Sikh Federation (UK)
  21. URGENT ACTION EXECUTION IMMINENT AFTER PLEA REJECTED The Supreme Court of India rejected the commutation plea of Devender Pal Singh Bhullar on 12 April. This verdict could affect the cases of at least 17 more prisoners. Devender Pal Singh Bhullar was sentenced to death in August 2001 for his involvement in a bomb attack in New Delhi in 1993 that killed nine people. He was arrested at the New Delhi Airport in January 1995 under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA), a law that subsequently lapsed, and contained provisions incompatible with international fair trial standards. Devender Pal Singh Bhullar had no access to a lawyer during his initial detention and trial. He was found guilty on the basis of an unsubstantiated confession that he made to the police. He later retracted his statement, claiming it was made under police pressure. In March 2002, the Supreme Court upheld Devender Pal Singh Bhullars death sentence, though one of the three judges on the bench had found him not guilty, saying there was no evidence to convict him. A review petition was dismissed by the same Supreme Court judges, again by a 2 to 1 majority, in December 2002. Devender Pal Singh Bhullar Bhullar has been receiving treatment at a psychiatric facility in New Delhi and in 2011 his lawyer requested that the Supreme Court consider his mental ill-health as grounds for commuting his death sentence. The President of India rejected Devender Pal Singh Bhullar's mercy petition in May 2011, eight years after the request was filed. Devender Pal Singh Bhullar challenged the decision before the Supreme Court, seeking commutation of his death sentence on the grounds of inordinate delay in its consideration and challenging the constitutionality of his prolonged stay on death row. The Supreme Court rejected his plea on 12 April. This decision is likely to affect at least 17 more prisoners whose mercy petitions have been rejected by the President. Please write immediately in Hindi, English or your own language: Calling upon the Indian government to not execute Devender Pal Singh Bhullar, to remove him from death row immediately, and retry his case in proceedings that comply with international fair trial standards. Urging them to immediately halt any further executions, commute all death sentences to terms of imprisonment, and establish an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty; Reminding the Indian authorities that the UN General Assembly has repeatedly called for a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty, and pointing out that Indias decision to resume executions has set the country against regional and global trends towards abolition of the death penalty. PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 24 MAY 2013 TO: Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh South Block, Raisina Hill New Delhi 110001 India Fax: +9111 2301 9545 Email: (via form) http://pmindia.nic.in/feedback.htm Salutation: Dear Prime Minister President of India Pranab Mukherjee Rashtrapati Bhawan New Delhi 110004 India Fax: +9111 2301 7290 Email: (via form) http://www.helpline.rb.nic.in Salutation: Dear President Mukherjee And copies to: Minister of Home Affairs Sushil Kumar Shinde 104 North Block Central Secretariat New Delhi 110001 India Fax: +9111 2309 4221 Email: hm@nic.in Salutation: Dear Minister AISFUKProf.rtf
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