Bhai Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa Announces Hunger Strike For Sikh Prisoners

Via Times of India:

PATIALA: Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa, whose 44-day fast-unto-death had forced the Punjab government to facilitate release of six Sikh convicts on parole in December 2013, has announced that he would resume his hunger strike within next 10 days, demanding permanent release of these prisoners.

Khalsa said a formal announcement of the second leg of the protest is delayed due to selection of venue as the management of Gurudwara Amb Sahib, Mohali, where he observed fast last year, has refused to grant permission to use its complex.

“After the refusal of Gurudwara Amb Sahib’s management, we are looking for a venue, which should be in the vicinity of Chandigarh,” Khalsa told TOI, adding that he had decided to resume protest as he had given ultimatum till August 31 to Punjab government to take a decision on the issue of permanent release of Sikh prisoners, who were lodged in jail despite completing their prison terms.

Three convicts — Gurmeet Singh, Shamsher Singh and Lakhwinder Singh — whose release Khalsa is demanding, were convicted for assassinating former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh. They are lodged in Burail jail, Chandigarh since September 1995 and were released on parole for four weeks in the fourth week of December 2013. Three other convicts are Lal Singh, Gurdip Singh and Wariyam Singh, currently lodged in Nabha, Gulbarga (Karnataka) and Pilibhit (Uttar Pradesh) jails.

“I have decided to give formal representations to President, Punjab governor and Prime Minister demanding the release of detainees. I will sit on fast thereafter within 7-10 days,” added the former militant, who hails from Kurukshetra district of Haryana.

Gurbaksh also added that the other reason to resume his protest was the alleged failure of Akal Takht jatedhar Giani Gurbachan Singh to keep his promise. The jathedar had persuaded him to end his fast while promising to “do something” to facilitate permanent release of the Sikh prisoners, he said.

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