Sikhs Rally for Bhullar at UN Headquarters on Monday

This Monday, Sikhs for Justice is organizing a rally at the United Nations Headquarters to call for UN intervention stop Indias planned execution of Professor Devenderpal Singh Bhullar. Professor Bhullars brother, Tejinder Singh Bhullar will be addressing the rally.In their appeal to Secretary General Ban Ki moon, Sikhs for Justice is calling upon the U.N. to intervene and free Professor Bhullar based on a UN General Assembly resolution adopted in 2008 known asResolution 62/149which called on all major states to abolish the death penalty. 62/149 is a nonbinding instrument to mark progress on the United Nation’s position that they death penalty undermines human dignity and acknowledges the serious claim that any failure of justice in the implementation of the death penalty is irreversible and irreplaceable.

The death penalty too, runs contrary to Sikh historical positions on capital punishment. The Sarkar-e-Khalsa of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji, followed a no death penalty policy, as M. Gregor in his 1846 History of the Sikhs writes. He notes that, [Ranjit Singh] was the exception ofOriental monarchs, and never wantonly inflicted capital punishment and mutilation. Other authors describe, that Humanity indeed, or rather a tenderness for life, was a trait in the character of Ranjit Singh. There is no instances of him having wantonly imbued his hands in blood. These sentiments that can be seen as consistent Sikh political philosophy captured by the Zafarnama and other documents. Specifically in the Zafarnama, Guru Gobind Singh Ji quotes the Persian poet Firdausi, writing, How nicely the sweet tongued poet Firdausi has said, to act in haste is the work of the devil, referring to Aurungzebs executions of the youngest Sahibzadas Zorawar and Fateh Singh and Mata Gujri in Sirhind as the act of ‘Sheitan.’

In contemporary human rights discourse, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch cite the arbitrariness of the death penalty, noting that the death penalty is discriminatory and often used against the poor, minorities, and members of racial, ethnic, and religious communities. The death penalty is regarded as is a violation to the right to life as proclaimed by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights Article (5), which proclaims that no one should be subject to torture of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.These organizations also maintain that the death penalty has been and continues to be a tool of political repression, as a means to silence, political opponentsand eliminate troublesome individuals. Though some nations argue that the death penalty is needed to stop terrorism and political violence, executions are found to increase such acts as they are to stop them, and often perpetuate cycles of violence. The death penalty instead simplifies questions of governance and rule, often detracting from the complex questions of social, political and economic rights that states need to address.

This brings us to the case against Devenderpal Singh Bhullar which remains highly questionable under several accounts. Bhullarwas arrested and tried under the draconianTerrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) (TADA) Acts, which gave power to enforcement agencies for dealing with terrorist and socially disruptive activities. The same TADA Acts that Bhullar was convicted under were subsequently withdrawn because they contained a number of provisions that were inconsistent with international provisions of a fair trial.

During his detention, Bhullar also did not have access to a lawyer, which is mandatory under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which India is party.

What is most egregious about Bhullar’s case is that, under the same ICCPR rules that India has signed on to, there must be no direct or indirect psychological pressure from authorities when a confession is made, especially torture or mistreatment. Indian law itself holds that any confessions must be made before a judicial magistrate to be accepted as evidence, and those made to police are not acceptable forms of confession. With Bhullar’s application to retract his confession, where he admitted that he was physically mishandled, threatened with extrajudicial execution,’ the court should have ordered a full investigation into Bhullar’s statement of threats, torture and mistreatment. Nothing was done.

Simply put, the courts have failed to investigate Devenderpal Singhs position that a confession made when he was under treats, torture and duress violating both international conventions as well as Indias own law. Is this really justice?

Please join us Monday from 12 2 pm at the United Nations Headquarters (47th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues) to speak up for Bhullar and all those who suffer capital punishment.

Tomorrow Sikhs for Justice is calling on United Nations to urge India to:

  • Provide the United Nations with information relating to the circumstances Professor Bhullars detention, trial and conviction.
  • Commute the death sentence of Professor Bhullar as per UN Resolution 62/149.
  • Release Professor Bhullar from custody because his sixteen year long detention shocks the human conscience and dignity.

Speakers include:

  • Tejinder Singh Bhullar, brother of Devenderpal Singh Bhullar
  • Lawrence Hayes: Former Death Row Inmate, Co Founder of Campaign to End Death Penalty and Member of Hands Off Cain (HOC), an international organization working the abolition of the death penalty.
  • Jeffrey Deskovic: a victim of brutality and wrongful conviction and an advocate for the abolition of the death penalty.
  • Charles Bell: Peace and Justice Activist from the WESPAC foundation, an organization that works to connect human capital to social and environmental justice work.

The campaign has been endorsed by the campaign to end the Death Penalty, Students Against the Death Penalty, as well as Gurdwaras across North America.

Special shout out New York sangat(!) please come through with all your strength and solidarity for Devenderpal Singh Bhullar and those whose lives are taken because of an unfair trial; Bhullar has been in prison for too long, and deserves to know that we are still a voice of conscience in this world and we stand with him. Please come listen, learn, support and be a part of the movement to #savebhullar


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11 Responses to “Sikhs Rally for Bhullar at UN Headquarters on Monday”

  1. msingh says:

    I'll be there, thanks for posting. Great to see this event happening in New York.

  2. [...] Sikhs Rally for Bhullar at UN Headquarters on MondayThe Langar HallThis Monday, Sikhs for Justice is organizing a rally at the United Nations Headquarters to call for UN intervention stop India's planned execution of Professor Devenderpal Singh Bhullar. Professor Bhullar's brother, Tejinder Singh Bhullar will be … [...]

  3. Mohinder Singh says:

    He is a convicted killer.He had a defense counsel at every step of the trial & the appeals.He confessed to and put his thumbprint/sign on his confession.What about his 9 victims,will any sikh org. provide justice for them.According to DGP KPS GILL convicted killers like Afzal Guru,DS Bhullar,and KASAB should be put to death,as warning to other wannabe heroes.It is INDIA'S soft approach that encourages these home grown terrorists.

    • KDS says:

      Are you GOI agent? or you believe that India has perfect judicial system ,Just because Police took his confession it does not mean he is killer .If tomorrow Police take you from home and give you inhumane torture and after that you accept that you were behind recent bombay blasts then does it mean you will become terrorist overnight

      • Mohinder Singh says:

        @NO.No judicial system is perfect,that is why lady justice has a blindfold on her eyes.In a small example,5 people were convicted from village Tallewal in distt.Moga for the crime of murder,although they were innocent they were sentenced to life,however after serving 10 yrs the alleged victim surfaced and their sentences were commuted by punjab&haryana high court,since no one could give their 10yrs of life back,the court compensated them with 20lakh each.Was there a misscariage of justice!YES and the court acknowledged it and rectified it,there has been no new evidence in DSBhullar case,that's why there is no rectification.This should tell you the merciful face of indian justice.Besides police abduction & toture are old stories with very litlle truth or veracity.Out of 72000 personnel of punjab police barely 140 are in prison for various crimes of torture/abduction,that should tell you something about the working of the state police.I heard Bhullar's mother and brother in stockton,ca gurdwara but even they could not provide any new evidence of his innocence.

        • KDS says:

          Police torture and taking forcible confessions are facts in India.If Police all over India is so good then why laws like TADA ,POTA were repealed.Just check Swami aseemanand's confession where he wrote how he met a muslim guy who was in jail and tortured for the crime which he committed

          Whenever there is terrorist attack anywhere in India police comes so much under pressure from people politicians media that many times they just pick sacrificel lambs and make case against them
          http://old.boloji.com/myword/mw185.html

          Just check the above link and see how an Indian judge said that evidence against Kehar singh was not even sufficent to hang a dog even former president wrote in his biography that how the case of Kehar singh raised many questions in his mind

  4. Jodha says:

    @Mohinder – under duress and torture. One of the Supreme Court judges called it a 'dubious confession.' Had it not been for the illegal TADA Act (that allowed for confessions under torture to be admissible in court AND carry mandatory death sentences), the case would have been thrown out.

    I thought you wanted the state not to execute him. Change of opinion now?

    Rather sorry state and reveals both your shabby thinking and the contemptibility in your unsound judgements, just to get political points from your masters. Servitude for careerism is the sign of a degenerate beast.

    Here is a link shared by another commenter – take the time to read about the case, rather than rush to defend criminals against humanity, like the brutal KPS Gill
    http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/nation/han

  5. Mohinder Singh says:

    No I still want him to be spared,but I donot like a wuss organization like the UN to be pressured,into interfering in the internal matters of a mature sovereign state like INDIA.Second DSBhullar might never be put on the gallows,just look around there are many more to be hanged,ahead of him.

    • DSB says:

      Mr. Bhullar, this is what these organizations are for. A life gone under injustice is too much because more will follow after that. Another hing, what has Mr. Bhullar's case has to do with Kasab and others in line to be hanged?

      • Mohinder Singh says:

        @DSB organizations like UN and other ngo's,when they start meddling with the internal affairs of other sovereign countries,always mess up no matter how good the intention.The recent example being Libiya,as for what bhullar's case has to do with Kasab they have both been awarded death penalty.There are 17 other people ahead of DSB in line for death sentence,if past is any indication it will take at least 34yrs for Mr.Bhullar to reach the gallows,by that time he will be 79yrs old at the fag end of his life.

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