Even as Punjab has expressed its inability to hang Balwant Singh Rajoana, who is on death row in the former chief minister Beant Singh’s assassination case, the convict has pledged his body to the Akal Takht, Amritsar.
A Chandigarh court had recently issued orders for hanging Rajoana at the Central Jail on March 31. The Babbar Khalsa terrorist, who is lodged in the jail, on Friday signed the ‘vasiatnama’ (declaration) for donating his body.
Rajoana, who met his sister Kamaljeet Kaur and Sikh hardliner Sant Baljeet Singh Daduwal on Friday, sent a letter to the media through his sister, daring the Shiromani Akali Dal-led government to clear its stand on the ‘genocide’ of Sikhs in 1984 and its aftermath.
Addressing SAD leaders as “neeliyan pagan wale” (blue-turbaned leaders), Rajoana said they should clarify whether Beant Singh’s killing was justified or not keeping in view the ‘attacks’ on Sikhs by then Punjab chief minister.
Asking Sant Samaj leaders to make their stand clear on the 1984 riots and militancy in Punjab, Rajoana asked in the letter, “Where were these religious leaders for more than a decade when the assassination case was being heard by the country’s ‘unfaithful’ judicial system?”
The Sikh radical admitted in the two-page letter that he was part of the conspiracy to kill Beant Singh in 1995.
Rajoana’s sister Kamaljeet said her brother was prepared to be hanged on March 31 and did not want the hanging to be delayed. “His view is that the Punjab government is again playing politics over the issue,” said Kamaljeet.
Daduwal said the ‘vasiatnama’ would be handed over to the Akal Takht Jathedar on March 18, adding that a procession of Sikh leaders would start from Gurdwara Manji Sahib at Rajoana village near Raikot in Ludhiana district.
Meanwhile, security has been beefed up in and around the jail. Apart from the jail security staff, more than 100 personnel from Punjab police have been deployed around the jail keeping in view the sensitivity of Rajoana’s case.
August 31, 1995: Suicide bomber Dilawar Singh blows himself up outside the Punjab civil secretariat in Chandigarh, killing then CM Beant Singh and others
November 1995: UT police arrest Babbar Khalsa terrorist Balwant Singh Rajoana, who was the back-up bomber (he later confessed to his role)
July 2007: Special trial court in Chandigarh sentences Babbar Khalsa terrorists Jagtar Singh Hawara and Rajoana to death
January 15, 2010: Judicial warrant for Rajoana’s execution issued
March 10, 2012: The court of additional district and sessions judge, Chandigarh, orders Rajoana’s execution in Patiala central jail on March 31
March 15, 2012: Punjab director general of police (DGP), prisons, Shashi Kant shoots off letter to state home secretary DS Bains, arguing against the hanging inside Punjab and demanding that the prisoner be transferred back to Burail Jail (Chandigarh) for execution of death sentence