‘Sidhuphobia’: Congress Hits Out At Punjab Govt For Not Giving R-Day Remission To Navjot Sidhu

Several Punjab Congress lawmakers chastised the AAP administration on Thursday for not releasing Navjot Singh Sidhu prematurely  from a Patiala prison where he is serving a year-long term in a 1988 road rage killing case, news agency PTI reported.

Former Punjab Congress head Shamsher Singh Dullo, former MP Mohinder Singh Kaypee, and former MLAs Ashwani Sekhri, Navtej Singh Cheema, and Rajinder Singh assembled in Patiala to oppose the AAP government at Sidhu’s residence.

Many people anticipated Sidhu to be one of 50 inmates who would be granted special clemency on Republic Day.

However, there was no formal word from the state administration on Sidhu’s release when the day arrived.

Dullo told the reporters in Patiala on Thursday that the states award special remission to specific convicts with excellent behaviour on January 26 and August 15.

He said that Sidhu’s name was on a list of 51 inmates who were eligible for early release on Republic Day. “However, it appears that the ‘Sidhuphobia’ that the Punjab and national governments have against Sidhu has not subsided,” Dullo remarked.

“By not awarding special remission to any prisoner, the government has not only mistreated Sidhu but also the 50 other convicts,” Dullo added, branding the state government cowardly and irresponsible for neglecting to provide remission to the former cricketer.

Taking to Twitter, Congress leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira stated: “Dear @BhagwantMann this is chicken hearted of you not releasing @sherryontopp today! You’ve not only displayed hatred & vindictive attitude to Navjot Sidhu but against all those prisoners who could have been released today due to Republic Day remittance (sic).”

Sidhu’s wife, Navjot Kaur Sidhu, reacted angrily when her dreams of seeing her husband released soon were crushed. “Navjot Singh Sidhu falls in the category of ferocious animal so the govt doesn’t want to extend the 75th year of independence relief to him. You are all requested to stay away from him,” she tweeted.

Sidhu’s supporters had made plans to greet him in Patiala in anticipation of his release.

Sidhu, the former Punjab Congress chairman, was jailed on May 20, last year, following his surrender before a court in Patiala after the Supreme Court sentenced him to one year rigorous imprisonment.

In its order, the Supreme Court stated that any compassion in inflicting an insufficient punishment would do more harm to the judicial system and destroy public trust in the efficiency of the law.

Though the Supreme Court found Sidhu guilty of “voluntarily inflicting injury” to the victim in May 2018, it spared him jail time and fined him Rs 1,000.

(With Inputs From PTI)