Chandigarh/New Delhi: A day after the Supreme Court turned down the plea of death row convict and Khalistani terrorist Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar for commutation of his death sentence to life term, the Punjab Police has been been asked to step up security across the state.
Delivering the operative portion of the judgement in a packed room, a bench of justices GS Singhvi and SJ Mukhopadhaya had said that the petitioners for Bhullar failed to make out a case for commutation of sentence. The Supreme Court's decision will pave the way for Bhullar's hanging and could also have an impact on 17 other convicts on the death row, including those held guilty in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and those belonging to sandalwood smuggler Veerappan's group.
Forty-eight-year-old Bhullar's Canada-based wife, Navneet Kaur, who was present in the court, had expressed disappointment over the verdict. The government can still intervene to save her husband's life, she said in her reaction to the judgement. Navneet had said that Bhullar was suffering from mental illness and has been under treatment for it.
The decision has been criticised by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and radical Sikh outfit Dal Khalsa.
The apex court's decision was condemned by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) who alleged bureaucratic setup of the country was "biased" against Sikhs. "The government and the courts have done nothing so far to punish the guilty who were responsible for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, as the accused are still roaming free," SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar had said on Friday. Radical Sikh outfit Dal Khalsa also criticised the decision. Khalsa spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh described the decision as "shocking and disturbing" for the Sikh community.
(With additional information from PTI)