Professor Bhullar must now be released: Sikh Federation UK


By 

Published: May 24, 2013

Prof. Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar

London, United Kingdom (May 24, 2013): The Sikh Federation (UK) has urged all those concerned with the death penalty in India and the case of Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar to push for not only the death penalty to be commuted, but for his immediate release given how long he has been in prison and the state of his health.

The statement by the Sikh Federation (UK) follows the ruling by the medical board set up by the Indian Government to look at Professor Bhullar’s health, which it has been reported has come to the conclusion that he suffers from severe depression with psychotic symptoms and suicidal tendencies.

Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:

Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK)

‘What this should mean in any civilised society is that Professor Bhullar cannot now be executed. Someone on death row who is declared not to be physically and mentally fit cannot be executed.’

‘Professor Bhullar’s family and his doctors have repeatedly stated he has almost certainly become severely psychiatric because of the delay in deciding his mercy petition. The Indian state is directly responsible for the state of his health and the Home Minister; Sushilkumar Shinde should do the decent thing by recommending to the Indian President that the death penalty should be commuted. ‘

Shinde has already had many official approaches and stated recently he was considering Professor Bhullar’s case. He now has the verdict of their own three-member board comprised chairperson Dr S K Khandelwal of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), and psychiatrists from Maulana Azad Medical College and G B Pant Hospital.

There have also been many unprecedented statements from former and current senior judges, former leading police officers and others in support of Professor Bhullar that have gone as far as to say as far as they are concerned he is innocent and deserves to receive compensation from the Indian state for his false imprisonment and for the mental and physical suffering or torture he has endured in the last 18 years.

The Sikh Federation (UK) has also welcomed the statement yesterday in the European Parliament in Strasbourg by EU Commissioner Gunther Oettinger on the death penalty in India and the case of Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar. Bhai Amrik Singh said:

‘The EU has also commented on their concerns about Professor Bhullar and that his mental health has come about as he has had to wait for more than a decade for the decision on his mercy plea.’

In the European Parliament yesterday it was stated:

‘The EU has constantly sought to engage with the Indian authorities on the capital punishment and its application in the country, and will continue doing so. To this end, we must make full use of the Human rights dialogue that takes places locally. We look forward to receiving a date from the Indian government to hold the next meeting, postponed several times in the recent past, as rapidly as possible.’

‘Direct contacts with the Indian government, including by way of diplomatic representations and demarches, will continue too. The EU Delegation in Delhi has been proactively asking the Indian government to set up a meeting to be appraised on the developments on capital punishment in India. Once again, our hope is that such a meeting can take place urgently.

 

West at its duplicitous worst in wooing Narendra Modi


DNA 18FEB2013

 

English: Narendra Modi in Press Conference

 

Shastri Ramachandaran

 

The ardent overtures to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi by Europe, the UK and the US tell us more about these states betraying their own constitutional values than about Modi’s appeal abroad. Even the BJP has prudently desisted from crowing about the party’s “growing international appeal” as some admirers of Modi are prone to doing in private.
The impression gained from conversations with some retired and a few serving officials in the ministry of external affairs (MEA) is that Europe and the UK have not earned any diplomatic brownie points for making a beeline to Modi, under whose watch Gujarat witnessed the massacre of nearly 1,500 Muslims in 2002. Not long before the carnage, these very western governments were fuming over churches being torched and attacked and Christians being targeted in Modi’s Gujarat. The US, in contrast, has played its cards more shrewdly.
Long before the much-publicised British high commissioner’s visit, in October 2012, re-opened the communication channel to Modi, the Danish ambassador was already talking to him. As one diplomatic observer pointed out, “Denmark probably did it out of pique or spite – because the Government of India had consigned the Danish embassy to the diplomatic doghouse”. The Danish government – because the ambassador was unlikely to act on his own in this matter – wanted to show the UPA government its displeasure at being isolated.
The reasons for Denmark being isolated include its executive’s refusal to appeal a judicial order against the extradition of Kim Davey, who is wanted in the Purulia arms drop case. The cartoons of the Prophet (which Indians and New Delhi found objectionable) and Danish state broadcasters telecasting films shot in violation of visa conditions were just two of the many issues that had soured relations.
Worse than the transgressions was the Danish government’s defence of these offending acts. So, it came as a surprise when the Danish government — which cited India’s atrocious human rights record and abominable prison system to justify its refusal to extradite the terrorist Kim Davey — went out of the way to court Modi. That Modi was chief minister during the massacre of 1,500 Muslims, and for this reason barred from getting a visa or travelling to Europe, the UK and the US, seemed to hardly matter as an issue of diplomatic concern.
It is possible that the Danes were used to test the waters before biggies, such as the UK and Germany, took the plunge. Not long after the UK foreign office asked its high commissioner in India to build bridges to Modi, envoys from EU countries queued up to meet the man who is projected by influential sections as a potential prime minister.
The West, which never misses an opportunity to berate or slam India for human rights violations and is forever preaching about democracy, religious freedom, rule of law and respect for judiciary, seems to have admitted that these are at best nonsense; and, at worst, instrumental in negotiating better terms of trade.
The EU ambassadors rationalised their cosying up to Modi by arguing that he had not been “judicially arraigned yet” for the massacres in Gujarat; and that making up with Modi was proof of their respect to India’s democratic institutions, electoral system and judiciary. The countries which barred his entry are now falling over each other to invite him to Europe; and, he is to be feted by not only European business but also the European Parliament.
As for the US, its ingenuity will be severely tested when it comes to inviting Modi for a visit because its law bars foreign government officials who have “committed particularly severe violations of religious freedom”. However, this would be a minor hurdle when Washington chooses to roll out the red carpet for Modi.
What emerges from these developments is that the West, for all its protestations about human rights and democracy, couldn’t care less about either M – Modi or the Minorities. The only M that spurs the West is Money. It is the cynical pursuit of financial profit – investment opportunities and defence contracts — that guides western governments when it comes to the “lesser people” and “lesser nations”.
One of the most jarring developments in the aftermath of the 2002 riots was that, contrary to general expectation, a delegation led by the US Commerce Secretary did not put off its visit to Gujarat. It was business as usual for Washington.
Whether Modi becomes prime minister or not, there is no doubt that the West has earned his contempt, rightfully.
The author is an independent political and

 

Jailed Iranian Women Stop Hunger Strike #prisons #Vaw


Jailed lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh (in an undated photo) began her hunger strike on October 31.
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By RFE/RL’s Radio Farda

November 06, 2012

Sources in Tehran say that eight female inmates in Evin prisonhave stopped their hunger strike and plan to pursue legal action against prisonguards whom they accuse of mistreating them.Nine women started the hunger strike last week to protest beatings and insults by the guards.

One of the women ended her hunger strike earlier after she was hospitalized due to her deteriorating health.

Earlier, the international media-rights group Reporters Without Borders urged the women to begin eating, fearing they could die.

Three of the women are journalists and online activists.

Jailed Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh continues her hunger strike in the same prison.

She stopped eating on October 31 after prison authorities banned her relatives from visiting.

Last month, Sotoudeh was awarded the European Parliament‘s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought for 2012.

Jailed Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi also won the prize.