|Letter of S. Simranjit Singh Mann, Member of Parliament
and President, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), to Mr. L K Advani, Dy.
Prime Minister of India.
Dear Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Advani,
I have learnt that he is a free man today, his life sentence having been remitted by the President of India, obviously on your advise and recommendation. In this magnanimity of the Indian state towards a foreigner, the British Home Secretary David Blunkett is reported to have had a meeting with you. Reports say that Mr. Blunkett met you in New Delhi on 30.1.2004 and the Presidential pardon was agreed upon and thereafter the release of Bleach set in motion. It is heartening to notice the speed of the Indian government machinery, once you approve of something. Today Bleach is a free man. It is good for any being to be free. Freedom is God given. We humans curtail it.
However, the speedy release of an alien and a foreigner, charged with such serious crimes, who would have undermined the very stability of your beloved motherland, provokes me to raise some very moral questions. I will put only two. The first is that you and the Prime Minister Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee are in the forefront of raising the question of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin. How can I believe that you two are serious over this question when you show such laxity and sympathy to one foreigner-Bleach and on the other hand set this whole country on fire with a racial election issue of Sonia Gandhi being a foreigner? Do you realize that when you raise this racial question of Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin and your Sikh henchman S. Prakash Singh Badal echoes what you two say, Sikhs abroad in the western democracies, who are now strongly entrenched in the political system of these countries and have risen to high political office, become objects of racial attacks? As one of the oldest civilizations in the world it does not behove of us to raise racial issues. You and I have migrated from what is now Pakistan. Some people see us as foreigners. There are only three religious orders that took their birth in the Indian sub-continent. They are Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. All other religious, now existent in the Indian sub-continent have come here from alien areas that are not a part of the Indian sub-continent. As such it is very shallow, especially for eminent persons of the rank of the Prime Minister and you who adorn the office of Deputy Prime Minister to make attacks on any person on the grounds of race, colour, caste, creed or faith. Our Sikh Gurus have told us that all people are created by one God and we of the human race are one. In recent history it was Hitler’s Nazi party in Germany and Europe that talked of and propagated a racial ideology that sent millions of Jews and other races to concentration camps and gas chambers. Can we as civilized people erase these horrific times from our memories. The world has just rid itself of another racial menace, the apartheid policy in South Africa and what was earlier Rhodesia.
Recently as our political head of the Union Home Ministry you must
be aware of the perpetration of racial crime against the Sikhs in the
USA. It is amazing with what speed President George Bush and his administration
reacted. They dubbed it as Hate Crime, caught the criminals, tried them
and some of them are already on the death row. But at the same time
see your governments, Indira Gandhi’s and Rajiv Gandhi’s
You are a Hindu from Sind and I am a Sikh from West Panjab. We are both victims of the racial policies of M.K. Gandhi, Jawar Lal Nehru, Mohammad Ali Jinah and Atlee which led to greatest ethnic cleansing in 1947 known in history. At least we should not think in terms of racialism. It is wrong of you and your government to keep so many Sikh prisoners, without a trial in India’s jails since 1984.
Since you are the ideologue and kingpin of your party I hope you will keep this in mind and stop making racial attacks. You can, as we do, attack the same lady on other political issues. I hope you will impart this advice to your Sikh satrap S. Prakash Singh Badal. The second question is that it is widely believed that charity begins at home. If you have shown such compassion to a dangerous criminal of foreign origin why haven’t you done the same for the Sikh prisoners, convicted or under trails, languishing in jails since 1984?
You know as a Sikh, I wear the Kirpan, my religious and constitutional right. But you have ordered that I take it off when I go to see Sikh prisoners in Delhi’s Tehar jail. Perhaps you thought if you made me take off my Kirpan, I would not go to see the Sikh prisoners in Tihar Jail. You were wrong. The Emperor Aurangzeb used to weigh 50 killos of Janues of the Hindus and then eat his meals. It meant that that many Hindus had been converted to Islam. Is your policy of making me take off my Kirpan any different to what bigotry was practiced by Emperor Aurangzeb?
Regarding Sikh prisoners in Delhi’s Tehar Jail I wish to bring to your notice the case of two prisoners Sardar Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar and Sardar Ranjit Singh Gill. Sardar Ranjit Singh Gill was brought to India after he was extradited to this country from the USA. He was convicted like Bleach to life imprisonment. He has spent more than seventeen years in prison, whereas conviction to life imprisonment in India means imprisonment for fourteen years. Now what moral justification and reason do we have for keeping him in jail when he has spent his life term and we set Bleach free who has not spent his life term? Is this in accordance with article 14 of the Indian constitution, whereby all are equal before the law? Secondly he is a Sikh Indian. According to your own ideology and your party’s, shouldn’t natives receive priority over foreigners? Then there is the case of Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar who is on death row in Tehar Jail. You have been informed that he was he did not receive a fair trail in the Supreme Court, the presiding judge Mr. M.B. Shah having acquitted him and two judges binding him. It is the norm that death sentence can be awarded only when the whole bench delivers a judgment in unanimity. The third case is that of Sardar Daljit Singh Bittu who is lodged in Nabha Jail in the Panjab. Is it not his right under article 21 of the constitution to get a speedy trial? Then there are other Sikhs prisoners languishing in jails all over the country?
If a foreigner, Bleach has got a Presidential reprieve on your recommendation, I will be grateful if you could kindly recommend a similar reprieve to the President for all Sikh prisoners, whether convicted or undertrails, without ascertaining the gravity of their alleged crimes, and applying the same principle as was applied for the reprieve of Bleach, a foreigner.
The feel good factor your government has created must be applicable to the Sikhs also. I will be grateful for that.
I wish you the very best of luck in the forthcoming election to the Parliament and I pray for your success.
mranjit Singh Mann)
Hon’ble Mr. L.K. Advani,