The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Sunday sought clemency for Balwant Singh Rajoana, even as the death row convict refused to accept a title from the Akal Takht.
Babbar Khalsa militant Rajoana is to hang on March 31 for his involvement in the assassination of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh in 1995.
The SGPC sent a communiqué to President Pratibha Patil, through governor Shivraj V Patil, seeking clemency for Rajoana, after a meeting of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) core committee, said a source privy to the development.
The SGPC said hanging Rajoana would hurt the Sikh psyche and also referred to the slain CM’s family having no objection to Rajoana being pardoned, the source added.
The chief minister, a member of the SAD core committee, disclosed at the meeting he would make a statement in the assembly on Monday to clarify the state government’s stand.
The core committee also endorsed a communiqué sent by the superintendent of Patiala central jail — where Rajoana is lodged — to the additional sessions judge of the Chandigarh court on Saturday, expressing inability to execute the death sentence.
The jail official had cited legal infirmities and that the state of Punjab had no territorial jurisdiction in the matter.
Meanwhile, Rajoana — in a statement through his sister — refused the Zinda Shaheed (Living Martyr) title which Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikhs, wanted to bestow on him.
With inputs from PTI