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In a press conference held on 7th January, Punjab Director General of Police Sumedh Saini stressed that a ‘life sentence, means life’ and there was no way to release any convict who is undergoing a life term following a Supreme Court order. He also denied there was any such convict in Punjab’s jails, who can be released as of now. Saini said he was putting the record straight at the insistence of the state government. He added, “the states do have policies for premature release of life convicts after they complete minimum sentence, but these policies differ from state to state and no one has a legal right to claim remission”.

 Saini said his top priority was to maintain peace and communal harmony in the state and Punjab Police was acting proactively against terrorism tracking down “terrorists” such as Jagtar Singh Tara on foreign soils.
Saini referred to a list of Sikh political prisoners produced by advocate Jaspal Singh Manjhpur, but Advocate Manjhpur states that Saini himself is mis-informed and was quoting from a list which is more than a year old and contains the names of those who have been released, acquitted and even passed away since.
In a statement, Advocate Manjhpur writes, “all that is required is the political will to grant early release to life term prisoners. If the Supreme Court has placed a ‘stay’ on a State’s power to grant remission, there are other avenues available, such as a pardon, reprieve or suspension of the sentence.”
Manjhpur continues, “3 of the 7 prisoners on Gurbaksh Singh’s list, Lakhwinder Singh, Gurmeet Singh and Shamsher Singh in Burail Jail, have served their sentences with impeccable behaviour in jail. They have returned home on parole twice and been model citizens. This in itself makes a strong case for their premature release. But, is it the ‘Singh’ at the end of their names which is responsible for them remaining behind bars? The others Lal Singh, Varyaam Singh, Gurdeep Singh Khaira and Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar need no further discussion as they have already served over and above any sentence considered to be life.”
Furthermore, Jaspal Singh Manjhpur questions Saini, when he says life means life. “How can life prisoner, ex-police Inspector Gurmeet Pinky, be released after serving less than 7 years? How can life prisoner DSP Swaran Das be released after serving 5 years and while his appeal was still in the courts? How can DSP Jaspal Singh be released just over one and a half years into a 7 year sentence AND be reinstated in his police post? How have those police officers who travelled to Calcutta to carry out a fake encounter, completed their life sentences?”
Manjhpur ends by saying “if life means life, I pray to Waheguru the Delhi court sentences you to life imprisonment for triple murder in the current ongoing CBI case against you and may you spend the rest of your years behind bars.”

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