Supporters of Khalistan seek Bhullar's release
Various Sikh organisations on Friday held a demonstration in front of the Indian Consulate in San Francisco, California, in memory of those who were killed during Operation Blue Star, on the 27th anniversary of the military offensive on the sacred Golden Temple in Amritsar.
The protesters came from as far as Washington DC, Sacramento, Stockton and from around the Bay Area.
"Today, we are not here to just remember what happened 27 years ago. In all these years, we can see that nothing has changed," said Amarjit Singh, a member of the Khalistan Affairs Centre in Washington DC.
Reportage: Ritu Jha
'It's a fight for justice'
He said that this year, the demonstrators are also demanding the release of Davinderpal Singh Bhullar.
Bhullar was sentenced to death by a trial court on August 25, 2001 for plotting terror attacks on Punjab Senior Superintendent of Police Sumedh Singh Saini in 1991 and the then Youth Congress head M S Bitta in 1993.
Bitta survived, but nine people died due to the bomb blast that occurred in front of the Youth Congress headquarters in Delhi in September 1993.
Singh pointed out that Bhuller had been behind bars for the last 16 years. "It's not a fight against any religion, it's not a fight against the state, it's a fight for justice," said Singh.
Bhullar's mercy plea was recently rejected by President Pratibha Patil.
Singh said Bhullar is mentally sick and suffering from acute depression. He is also suffering from arthritis.
"It will be a grim injustice to hang a man who is not even fit," said Singh.
Harbhajan Singh Bhinder, secretary of the American Gurdwara Parbhadhik Committee, based in Stockton, California, claimed that Bhullar was innocent.
"Our protest is against the potential hanging of professor Bhullar. He is innocent," said Bhinder.
'They got the message'
The committee had not submitted any petition or letter to the government on the issue, Bhinder said.
"We know they got the message. Khalistani people protest every year to remind the Indian government that we have not forgotten our Indian state and the killing of men, women and children," said Bhinder.
He said he is not sure whether the Indian government would take their protest seriously, but holding the demonstration was the only option. "This is the only way of showing our discontent," said Bhinder.
Singh stressed that controversies like the death sentence awarded to Bhullar would not deter members of the Sikh community from trying to create a democratic Sikh state of Khalistan.