Sikh organisations and the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal have intensified efforts for the release of Khalistan Liberation Front terrorist Daya Singh Lahoria, who has spent more than 20 years in prison after being convicted in a kidnapping case. He is presently lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail.Recently, Akali Rajya Sabha member Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa wrote to Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, claiming that there had been “unnecessary delay” in Lahoria’s release.Earlier, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Avtar Singh Makkar wrote to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, citing the court order which states that Lahoria could be released after having completed 20 years in jail.Last month, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) president Manjit Singh GK wrote to the Rajasthan CM, saying that Lahoria had health issues and his request for parole be granted.In February, the matter was taken up by the National Human Rights Commission, which directed the Centre and the Rajasthan government to take appropriate action within eight weeks.Lahoria’s wife Kamaljit Kaur said convicts in the Beant Singh assassination case were being released on parole, but her husband, a kidnapping convict, continued to be behind bars.Harvinder Singh Bindi, president of the Sikh Social Justice, said they had filed an appeal in 2007 for Lahoria’s premature release, which was rejected by the Supreme Court on the grounds that he would not be released till he completed 20 years in jail.
Daya Singh Lahoria, 53, was awarded life imprisonment by a Jaipur court in 2004 for kidnapping the son of senior Rajasthan Congress leader Ram Niwas Mirdha. The sentence was later upheld by the Supreme Court. He, along with two others, had kidnapped Rajendra Mirdha to pressurise the then Narasimha Rao government to release 1993 Delhi blasts convict Devinderpal Singh Bhullar. Lahoria also faced charges in the Balbera bank robbery case and the alleged encounter with the police that took place in 1988 at Bir Shahdipur near Bhunerheri (Patiala). He was granted bail by the court in the bank robbery case after which he escaped to the US and was declared a PO. He was arrested at the Minneapolis airport on August 3, 1995, and extradited to India in January 1997 to face cases pending against him, including the 1993 Delhi blasts case and the kidnapping of Rajendra Mirdha. He was acquitted in the 1993 case by a Delhi court in August 2001 but was convicted in the kidnapping case and awarded life term