The Union government will grant a special dispensation to nine Sikh prisoners from various jails in the country on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev as a humanitarian gesture, an official statement said on Saturday.
The communication was sent to the state governments and Union Territories concerned for release of these Sikh prisoners, the Home Ministry statement said.
These prisoners were convicted by various courts in the country for offences committed by them during the militancy period in Punjab.
In one case, the statement said that the government has decided to commute the death sentence to life imprisonment and in the remaining eight cases, it has been decided for premature release of prisoners serving life sentences and other sentences through special remission.
Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana, is the only Sikh prisoner on death row, and going by the government statement, his death sentence will stand commuted to life. Rajoana is presently lodged in Patiala Jail.
“The decision was taken as a token of goodwill in response to the long-pending demands of the release of Sikh prisoners articulated by various sections of the Sikh community.” (Agency)