Days after the Supreme Court refused to commute the capital punishment of Khalistani terrorist Devender Pal Singh Bhullar, the Punjab government made an effort to save him.
On Monday, Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to intervene in the matter.
The ends of justice should not clash with the long term interests of the nation, Badal reportedly told the PM. In the interest of peace and communal harmony, Bhullar’s death penalty should be commuted into life imprisonment.
“While we are committed to maintaining peace in state, governments have no control over the emotional damage such a case can inflict on the collective social psyche,” said the memorandum he submitted to the PM. “This damage must be avoided at all costs.”
Further, pointing out that for death penalty, there is a requirement for putting the case beyond all reasonable doubt, the memorandum added, “This was clearly not done in the case of Bhullar.”
The BJP questioned the propriety of the chief minister’s appeal, contending that it was against national interest. A terrorist deserves no mercy, said the party’s national vice president Laxmi Kanta Chawla.
“I do not know the compulsions of the chief minister but he seems to be making this appeal just to please a particular section,” she said. “Today we have a CM appealing for mercy for a terrorist of his state. Tomorrow we will have another one making a similar appeal for a terrorist of Jammu and Kashmir and then another leader from a southern state making a similar appeal. This will set an unhealthy precedent and Badal should realise this.”