New Delhi, Sep 28 (PTI) Eight Sikh prisoners, lodged in different jails in the country for committing crimes during the militancy period in Punjab, will be released by the government on 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in November as a humanitarian gesture.
The Union Home Ministry also announced that through a special remission, the death sentence of another Sikh prisoner has been commuted to life imprisonment. Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana’s death penalty sentence was converted into a life sentence.
The central government has taken a decision to grant a special dispensation to nine Sikh prisoners from various jails in the country, a Home Ministry spokesperson said.
In one case, a decision has been taken to commute the death sentence to life imprisonment, and in the remaining eight cases, the decision has been taken for premature release of prisoners serving life and other sentences, through special remission.
These individuals were convicted by various courts in the country for the offences committed by them during the militancy period in Punjab, the spokesperson said.
The above decision was taken by the central government as a token of goodwill in response to the long-pending demands of the release of Sikh prisoners articulated by various sections of the Sikh community.
A communication to this effect was sent on Saturday to the state governments and union territories concerned for release of the Sikh prisoners.
The 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak Dev will be in November.
Meanwhile, the government is also planning to release some more prisoners from jails across the country under the scheme for special remission to prisoners to commemorate 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
So far, 1,424 prisoners have been released by states and UTs in two phases (October 2, 2018 and April 6, 2019).
The third phase of release is due on October 2 and action is underway by states and UTs, the spokesperson said. PTI