The Akal Takht will soon review its March 23 decision to accord the ‘zinda shaheed’ (living martyr) status to Balwant Singh Rajoana, who is on death row in connection with the former chief minister Beant Singh assassination case. Rajoana is to be hanged on March 31.
Reacting to Rajoana’s rejection of the ‘martyr’ status bestowed upon him, Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh told mediapersons on Sunday that five Sikh head priests will meet soon and reconsider their stand on the issue.
The clergy, in its directive on Friday, had asked the chief minister and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president to take steps to save Rajoana from the gallows. It had accorded the ‘zinda shaheed’ status to Rajoana and the ‘quami shaheed’ (martyr of the Sikh community) status to Dilawar Singh, the human bomb that killed Beant Singh.
Rajoana, who is lodged in the Patiala central jail, refused to accept the ‘martyr’ status, but appreciated the ‘quami shaheed’ status accorded to Dilawar Singh.
Meanwhile, the jathedar has viewed with serious concern the Punjab bandh call given by certain radical organisations on March 28 to protest against ‘injustice’ meted out to the Sikh community and the decision to hang Rajoana. He also did not appreciate the call given by these groups to carry out protest marches from Akal Takht, Takht Damdama Sahib and Takht Kesgarh Sahib to Patiala on March 29 and 30.
“The Akal Takht has already announced the programme for the entire Sikh community and all must abide by it, as Rajoana belongs to the entire community and not to any individual group,” said Giani Gurbachan Singh.
He again called upon Sikhs to support ‘kesri’ (saffron) turbans or ‘dupattas’ on March 28 and hoist ‘kesri’ flags atop their houses or on their vehicles to show their resentment against the “denial of justice” to the community.
Giani Gurbachan Singh made it clear that members of the community should willingly halt their routine work and offer prayers for the ‘chardi kala’ of Rajoana. He again appealed to the community to remain calm and not to disturb the state’s peace.
Meanwhile, the ‘bhog’ of the ‘akhand path’ for ‘chardi kala’ of Rajoana was performed at different SGPC-controlled shrines in Punjab and adjoining states on Sunday.