Wednesday, July 19, 2017

36 years on, Sikh hijackers face trial for sedition

Jalandhar: Thirty-six years after they hijacked an Indian Airlines Boeing-737 to Lahore, their arrest and imprisonment in Pakistan, two of the five Dal Khalsa hijackers are being tried for sedition.
They hijacked Flight IC-423 on September 29, 1981, after it took off from Delhi for Srinagar via Amritsar and made the pilot land at Lahore. Their demand was the release of then Damdami Taksal head Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who was arrested nine days before in connection with murder of a Hindi daily editor.
He was released after nothing came out against him. They were also demanding the release of other Sikh prisoners and seeking compensation for the family of Sikhs who were killed in police firing on September 20, 1981, during a protest before Bhindranwale's arrest.Accompanied by their lawyers Mohit Mathur and Manisha Bhandari, the two hijackers, Satnam Singh Paonta Sahib, who headed the Dal Khalsa, and Tejinder Pal Singh, appeared before the court of additional chief metropolitan magistrate Jyoti Kler on Tuesday and were granted two-day interim bail.While Tejinder Pal Singh lives in Jalandhar, Satnam Singh resides in Chandigarh.
The court has sought the investigating officer's report and fixed the matter for July 20. Both the lawyers argued before the court that the petitioners had already spent 35 years of their life in litigation and had already served one life sentence in Pakistan.
19/07/17 IP Singh/Times of India