Philanthropist Surinder Pal Singh Oberoi appointed member of Jail Development Board - ECAS Punjab

Philanthropist Surinder Pal Singh Oberoi appointed member of Jail Development Board

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Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, October 3

The Punjab Government has appointed Dubai-based philanthropist and human rights activist Surinder Pal Singh Oberoi and Monica Dhawan, director, India Vision Foundation, as members of the Punjab Prisons Development Board.

The Board has been established up to engage prisoners in gainful economical activities and to ensure no human rights violations take place in jails. The Board is chaired by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh with Jails Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa being senior vice-chairman.

"It will help in putting a stop to crimes while simultaneously generating revenue by keeping inmates busy in various activities. It will also take care of human rights violations," said Randhawa.

Sources said Oberoi has been taken on board for his work in the field of human rights. The Dubai businessman, who donates 95 per cent of his earnings for charitable causes was instrumental in freeing 17 Punjabis from the UAE in 2013. The youths were facing a death sentence for allegedly murdering Mishri Khan, a Pakistani man following a brawl between two groups of bootleggers in Sharjah.

"The CM, Capt Amarinder Singh, personally visited the youths in Sharjah Central Jail and assured them that he will take up their case with the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Later, Manmohan Singh gave instructions to the Indian Consulate General in Dubai and Embassy in Abu Dhabi to work closely with me to ensure the youths were freed. I paid blood money to the tune of Rs 4 crore to the family of Mishri Khan, which subsequently paved the way for the youths to return home," said Oberoi.

He has paid for air tickets for nearly 800 Indians languishing in various jails in the UAE. "They had completed their sentences, but were rotting in prisons due to an assortment of reasons. To me, this was a violation of their human rights," said the construction magnate.

"To deny people their human rights is akin to challenging their very humanity. Rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened. I will ensure that there are no violations of rights in Punjab's prisons," said Oberoi.

from The Tribune

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