Bhullar issue: Bitta says parties doing votebank politics

Bhullar issue: Bitta says parties doing votebank politics

"It is unfortunate that parties are indulging in votebank politics over such a sensitive issue. It is time that people of this country need to know whether politicians are even above the Supreme Court," Bitta said.

Ruling Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab and main opposition Congress have demanded Bhullar's death sentence be commuted.

Bhullar was convicted in an attempt on the life of Bitta which left nine other persons dead.

Bitta said he was not bothered about the clemency demands of SAD and former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

"It was (Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee chief) P S Sarna who first made the demand for Bhullar's clemency and SAD and Amarinder followed. All I can say is that I have to fight my own battle. The law of the land has to mean something," Bitta told PTI.

Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, the apex religious body of the Sikhs, headed by Avtar Singh Makkar decided to form a five-member committee on the issue.

The committee comprises general secretary Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, executive committee member Rajinder Singh Mehta and Surjit Singh, and members R S Dhami and Jaswant Singh. Bhaur, Dhami and Jaswant are lawyers.

The committee will soon head for Delhi where it will take services of top five lawyers of the Supreme Court and file the review petition, Makkar said.

SGPC today took the decision to form the committee following directives of the supreme temporal seat of the Sikhs, the Akal Takht, which asked it to take note of the situation that has emerged following rejection of Bhullar's petition by the President.

President Pratibha Patil had on May 26 rejected the mercy petition of Bhullar, a member of Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF).

Bhullar was sentenced to death by a trial court on August 25, 2001, for plotting terror attacks on Punjab SSP Sumedh Singh Saini in 1991 and the then Youth Congress head M S Bitta in 1993.

Shiromani Akali Dal has already sought "direct and immediate intervention of the Prime Minister to save the life of Bhullar on grounds of humanitarianism and civilised concern and above all national interest" while state Congress President, Amarinder Singh has said "killing a man is not going to solve the problem".

With Punjab set to have Assembly elections early next year, the parties are in no mood to distance any section of the electorate.

Amarinder has maintained that his views were in his personal capacity and not that of the party.

The Bhullar issue has not just made SAD and Amarinder speak on similar lines but also brought rival Sikh bodies, the SGPC and Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee together, with both demanding a review of the militant's death sentence.

Various Sikh organisations, including radical outfit Dal Khalsa, have petitioned the President for commuting the death sentence into life term.

SAD Secretary General and former Union Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, and General Secretaries Balwinder Singh Bhunder and Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal claimed "the country would in no way be threatened if the death sentence is commuted to life imprisonment inthe Bhullar case".

"On the other hand, it would play a major role in strengthening emotional bonds among the people," they claimed.

Residents of Dialpura Bhai Ka, the native village of Bhullar, have decided to appeal to the President to rethink on the rejection of mercy plea and urge for commutation of the death sentence to life term.

Some surrounding villages of Dialpura have also decided to launch a signature campaign to save Bhullar from the gallows.