New York, Jul 26 (IANS): Hundreds of Sikhs held a rally at the UN headquarters here to seek the world body's pressure on India to stop execution of Devenderpal Singh Bhullar, who has been sentenced to death for masterminding a terror attack in New Delhi.
In a memorandum submitted to the UN Secretary General, the Sikhs, representing various gurdwaras and associations across the US, demanded intervention by the world body "pursuant to Resolution 62-149 of 2008" to pressure India to grant clemency to Bhullar.
"The use of the death penalty undermines human dignity and any miscarriage or failure of justice in the implementation of the death penalty is irreversible and irreparable," the memorandum said.
Belonging to the Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) terrorist outfit, Bhullar was sentenced to death for masterminding a 1993 car bomb attack in front of the Youth Congress office in New Delhi that killed 12 people.
Gurpatwant S. Pannun, legal advisor to New York-based Sikhs for Justice which organized the rally, said Bhullar was convicted on the basis of "a confessional statement obtained from him through torture. It is a matter of record that India is not a signatory to UN Convention Against Torture and India practices torture on detainees".
Speaking at the rally, Lawrence Hayes, former death row inmate who co-founded the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, said the Indian legal and judicial system was being used for "elimination of any form of opposition. That is to say anyone or anything that poses a threat to the system is labeled terrorist and their rights are ignored or compromised".
Bhullar was deported to India from Germany in 1995 and has been lodged in New Delhi's Tihar Jail. He was deported after his application for political asylum was rejected.
He was given the death sentence Aug 25, 2001. The Supreme Court dismissed his review petition Dec 27, 2006. President Pratibha Patil has also rejected his clemency plea.
Bhullar's mother Opkar Kaur, who is a US citizen, has alleged that her husband Balwant Singh was tortured to death by the Punjab police in 1991.
Bhullar's wife is a Canadian citizen.