Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Indian Court commutes Sikh terrorist's death sentence
Man escapes hanging after 13 years on death row
- Swati Deb, New Delhi
- March 31, 2014
The Supreme Court commuted the sentence of a Sikh terrorist to life imprisonment on Monday, 21 years after Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar masterminded a car bomb attack that killed nine people in New Delhi.
India’s highest court passed the order following a petition by Bhullar’s wife Nayneet Kaur after a previous mercy plea took eight years to process by the government, a delay deemed unacceptable during Monday’s verdict.
Bhullah was sentenced to death by hanging in August 2001 following the attempted assassination of former Indian Youth Congress head M.S. Bitta, an outspoken critic of the Sikh separatist Khalistan movement which seeks to create a separate state in Punjab.
Bhullah later admitted to the attack which left nine bystanders dead, including two of Bitta’s body guards. Bitta himself escaped with shrapnel wounds.
Two years after receiving the death sentence, Bhullar filed a petition for clemency with the then president of India which was rejected eight years later in 2011.
Congress leader Bitta, who is also head of the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front, criticized the government’s “mishandling of the case” following the Supreme Court’s decision on Monday.
“The leadership of Congress has no sympathy for those who lost their lives in the blast,” he told ucanews.com. “This is a very unfortunate decision of a few Congress leaders.”
Bitta and family members of the victims of the blast were planning to challenge the Supreme Court’s decision, according to people close to Bitta who declined to be identified.
Others including political commentator Harijai Singh welcomed the decision.
“It is in line with the Supreme Court’s own ruling regarding delay in deciding on a mercy petition,” he said.