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Specific references to Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar and Balwant Singh Rajoana

27 February 2013

On the eve of the debate in the UK Parliament on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in India the Sikh Federation (UK) has been copied a letter dated 27 February 2013 sent by the Rt Hon Hugo Swire, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The letter to his counterpart the Rt Hon John Spellar, a shadow Foreign Minister notes the UK Government’s disappointment that India ended its de-facto moratorium on the death penalty in November 2012. The letter states: ‘it is the longstanding policy of the British Government to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances.’

Rt Hon Hugo Swire has confirmed that he met Indian Foreign Minister Ranjal Mathai in the Indian Ministry of External Affairs last week on 19 February in New Delhi as part of the UK Prime Minister’s delegation and raised the UK Government’s concerns.

The letter continues to state:

‘I am aware of the high level of interest amongst the British Sikh community and Parliament in the cases of Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar and Balwant Singh Rajoana. I will continue to monitor these case closely . . . The British Government will also continue to make its position clear to the Indian government, both bilaterally and through the EU, and urge them to introduce a formal moratorium with a view to eventual abolition of the death penalty.’

Bhai Amrik Singh, Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK), said:

‘We appreciate the UK Government’s response to our lobbying of the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron before he left for India and our demand that the issue of the death penalty and the cases of Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar and Balwant Singh Rajoana be raised when he visited India last week.’

‘The letter to Rt Hon John Spellar does not come as a surprise as the UK Government are aware of the proposals we have asked MPs to push in the Parliamentary debate on 28 February and this is one way to counter calls for the UK Government and EU Members States to take the matter up at the United Nations General Assembly.’

Gurjeet Singh
National Press Secretary
Sikh Federation (UK)

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