Ottawa (March 21, 2012): The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) has written to India’s President Pratibha Patil, calling on India to place an immediate moratorium on the death penalty and cancel the death sentences of over 400 convicts who face execution in Indian prisons.
Recently, death warrants were issued for Balwant Singh Rajoana to be executed on March 31, 2012 in Patiala Jail. The Sikh community in India, Canada and across the world has expressed its shock and sorrow at the imminent execution of Balwant Singh Rajoana. This would be the first execution in Punjab since 1989 and the first in India since 2004.
In his letter to President Patil, WSO President Prem Singh Vinning wrote,
“Capital punishment is an inhuman and brutal form of punishment which violates the right to life and the principle of human dignity, both of which make up to foundation of all liberal societies… We believe a moratorium on capital punishment and cancelling Mr. Rajoana’s death warrants would be an important measure towards affirming the value and sanctity of human life. At this critical time, eliminating the death penalty in India would be the right thing to do.”
Mr. Vinning also pointed out that capital punishment has been rejected by more than two thirds of the countries in the world and India remains amongst only 58 countries that not yet gone down the route of abolition.
WSO Senior Policy Advisor Gian Singh Sandhu said, “the death penalty has no place in today’s world. It is a fact that several individuals who were convicted of brutally massacring Sikhs in November 1984 have had their death sentences commuted. A double standard should not be applied to Balwant Singh Rajoana. His execution should not proceed.”
The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of Canadian Sikhs as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status.