Akal Takht jathedar Gurbachan Singh on Saturday had a “secret” meeting with Balwant Singh Rajoana, who is on death row for assassinating former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh.
The meeting took place in the chamber of Patiala Central Jail superintendent and kept a secret till Rajoana’s sister Kamaldeep Kaur shared its picture on social media. Both Rajaona and the Akal Takht jathedar can be seen in it. Clicking photographs on the jail premises is against the jail manual.
Sources said the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) had asked the Sikh high priest to meet the death-row convict, anticipating that he may resume his hunger strike to demand quick decision on his mercy petition.
The meeting has taken place a month after SGPC president Kirpal Singh Bandungar promised to take up his case with the President of India. Rajoana had been on hunger strike inside the jail and had to be hospitalised. He wanted speedy decision on the mercy petition filed by the SGPC with the President, when his death warrants were issued in March 2012. As of now, the SGPC has not pursued the matter.
Sources said during his meeting with jathedar Gurbachan Singh, Rajoana took up the matter of release of Sikhs languishing in various jails besides raising his own issue. The jathedar reportedly assured him that the SGPC will lead a delegation to the President besides raising the issue on various political fora and also with the judiciary.