Even as political parties in Punjab demanded clemency for Balwant Singh Rajoana, the assassin of former chief minister Beant Singh, the Supreme Court on Thursday expressed concern over terror convicts getting support from politicians.
“We would have liked to avoid everything. But what has happened over the last four days in a particular state is a telling situation. If a decision was taken at an appropriate time, the public exchequer would have been saved many crores of rupees,” said the bench, comprising justice GS Singhvi and justice SJ Mukopadhyay.
“Recent instances show that persons who have been found guilty of terrorism have found political support. But then, how can such parties leave them… they have garnered support from such persons.”
Raojana’s execution, scheduled for March 31, was stayed by the ministry of home affairs on Wednesday after Punjab chief minister Prakash Singh Badal submitted a clemency petition to the President. He was sentenced to death for killing Beant Singh on August 31, 1995.
The court was prompted to make the observations during the hearing of Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar's petition, seeking a stay on his death sentence on grounds that there has been an inordinate delay in deciding his mercy petition.
1 dies in police firing
A curfew was imposed in Gurdaspur on Thursday after a teenager was killed and another person injured, when police allegedly resorted to firing for bringing a volatile communal situation under control.
Gurdaspur deputy commissioner Mohinder Singh Kainth said, “A curfew has been imposed in the city, and the situation is under control. We are appealing to the people in city to maintain peace.”
The deceased has been identified as Jaspal Singh (18). Ranjit Singh, who was injured in the firing, has been admitted to a hospital in Amritsar. In an atmosphere of confrontation, around 200 persons had gathered near a gurudwara around 11am. To prevent a clash, police burst teargas shells and fired in the air.
Not an opinion: govt
A day after the central government put Balwant Singh Rajoana’s execution on hold, the home ministry said the move should not be construed as a sign that it has formed an opinion on the merits of the mercy petition.
A ministry of home affairs spokesperson said the petition would only be examined in accordance with the law. The clarification comes in the backdrop of reports attributing the Centre’s decision to political expediency.