Human Rights

Forgotten Prisoner Of Conscience Of The Sikh Movement

Jeetinder Singh

How a mentally ill prisoner of conscience still faces more than a life time of imprisonment.

One prisoner of the Sikh movement was found by accident, when he was put in Nagpur Jail. No Sikh group, no Sikh jathebandi, no Sikh newspapers even knew this prisoner, Balvinder Singh’s tragic case. Balvinder Singh was of Sukha Raja, Dera Baba Nanak, Gurdaspur He is xxxx Singh, dharma fauji, who mutineered at the time of Operation Blue star, who destroyed 16 army men, and would have faced the death penalty but faced such a mental disorder. He is still now very mentally ill.

Balvinder Singh had been an army deserter from Pune. When Operation Blue Star took place he fought to get to Amritsar and rescue the Sikhs. He ended up fighting and killing 12-14 soldiers of the Indian army. He was court marshalled. Sentenced to death. Became mentally ill. The Supreme Court still upheld the death sentence. Eventually the NHRC, National Human Rights Commission, commuted the life sentence. Only two years ago he was accidentally discovered in Nagpur jail, when a political prisoner was imprisoned briefly there before being moved up. Up until now no Sikh has helped him or contacted him. His time in prison is now more than 16 years. His family abandoned him. Sympathisers of the prisoners of conscience are moving a writ to have him moved out of Nagpur and back in Punjab where he can at least be in an environment known to him.

There are many poor prisoner families, struggling to survive while their loved ones are still in prison, there are countless TADA charges being piled onto prisoners, and mounting legal fees.

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