Days after the AAP government was accused of obstructing the release of 1993 Delhi bomb blast convict Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday accused the SAD of doing ”dirty politics” over the issue.
Former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had recently sought the immediate release of Bhullar in the ”larger interest of consolidating peace and communal harmony” in Punjab.
Bhullar was convicted in connection with the killing of nine people and injuring of 31 in the blast. He was awarded the death penalty by a designated TADA court in August 2001 but his capital punishment was commuted to life sentence by the Supreme Court in 2014.
Badal had urged Kejriwal not to allow a ”communal bias or political or electoral opportunism to dictate his decision and refusal to grant immediate clearance for Bhullar’s release”.
If we imagine 'Ram Rajya', it should have good and free education, healthcare for all: Kejriwal
32 students from Delhi's armed forces preparatory school cleared NDA exam: Arvind Kejriwal
Education revolution has begun in Punjab, says Kejriwal after inaugurating 'School of Eminence'
Congress party like ‘rusted iron’ which promoted corruption, poverty and appeasement politics: PM Modi
Asked about allegations levelled by the SAD over the issue, Kejriwal, who is also the AAP national convenor, said, ”It is a sensitive issue and the SAD is doing dirty politics over it. We strongly condemn it.” The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, the apex religious body of the Sikhs, had slammed the AAP dispensation for its ”negative attitude” towards Bhullar’s release and demanded intervention of the Government of India in the matter.
Punjab goes to polls on February 20 and the SAD has been targeting the AAP over the issue.
Explaining the entire process, Kejriwal told reporters in Jalandhar, ”Delhi is not a full state and law and order, and the police come under the Centre — under the Lieutenant Governor.” ”A sentence review board, comprising judge, police officers, secretaries and other members, deliberates on the issue of remission of sentence, release et Cetra and arrives at a decision. I don’t have any role in this.” After a recommendation is arrived at, the file goes to the L-G who has to make a final decision, the Delhi chief minister said.
”When I came to know about this (Bhullar issue), I told the home secretary that a meeting of this board be convened at the earliest… and whatever be the decision of the board will be put up before the L-G,” Kejriwal said.
The SAD had recently said a party delegation would meet President Ram Nath Kovind to seek ”immediate and effective personal intervention” to secure the release of Bhullar.
The Centre in September 2019 had recommended special remission to eight Sikh prisoners, including Bhullar, to mark the 500th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. It has been alleged by some Sikh bodies that the AAP government in Delhi has not given its clearance for the release of Bhullar.
On Saturday, while interacting with reporters, Kejriwal was asked about the Congress targeting him for tendering an apology to SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia. He countered, saying what had stopped them (the Congress) from arresting the SAD leader when a lower court in Mohali had earlier dismissed his anticipatory bail in the case.
Notably, Kejriwal had tendered an apology three years ago for having levelled ”unfounded” allegations of involvement in the drugs trade against Majithia who then withdrew a court case against the AAP leader.
However, in December last year, Majithia, was booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act based on a 2018 report of a probe into a drug racket in the state.
An FIR has been registered and law will take its course, Kejriwal said on Saturday. ”On one hand there are parties which are only doing dirty politics, corruption and trading barbs. On the other hand, there is an honest party, the AAP, which has come out with a clear agenda for Punjab’s development and future”.
”We don’t do corruption, we don’t trade barbs or do dirty politics. We know how to work and we have shown that in Delhi,” Kejriwal said.
The Congress ruled Punjab for 26 years and the Badals for 19 years. People are fed up with them, he claimed.
If the AAP comes to power, will implement a ”ten-point guarantee” to improve Punjab’s cities, the party’s national convener promised.
The guarantees include cleanliness, garbage disposal and solid waste management, doorstep delivery of services, all power cables to be laid underground, hospitals and government schools will be improved, round-the-clock supply of power and drinking water.
Kejriwal assured traders that no new tax will be imposed for the next five years, CCTV cameras will be installed to curb crime and all markets in cities will be developed.