They see an opportunity to reignite trouble. Thinking students and the young easy to provoke, fundamentalist Sikh organisations protesting death sentence to Balwant Singh Rajoana have become active at Punjabi University in Patiala.
In their attempt to prevent the hanging of the militant, or at least spark an outrage, the radical forces on Tuesday night pasted Rajoana's provocative statements and pictures all over the campus. The man is co-suspect in the assassination of the-then chief minister of Punjab, Beant Singh, on August 31, 1995.
The banners were stuck at popular places such as canteens and the main gate of the campus gurudwara. The poster also carries a picture of Dilawar Singh, an activist of Khaliastan movement (militant campaign in the 1980s for separate homeland for Sikhs) who was a human bomb in the killing of Beant Singh outside Punjab secretariat in Chandigarh.
On Wednesday morning, a few hard-line activists also gave away handouts of Rajoana's letter to the Sikh Sangat, in which he has appealed the masses to raise saffron flags on homes on the day of his death by execution on March 31.
Rajoana on Saturday had released the letter (carrying pro-Khalistan slogans and the appeal) to the media through his sister, Kamaljeet Kaur.
As gathered from a few students living in the hostel, capital punishment to Rajoana, its reason, and possible aftermaths were topics of discussion since the distribution of pamphlets. The text on the posters and banners is from an anonymous source.
Shadow of dark days
In the days of militancy, the police considered Punjabi University a sensitive campus where anti-state activities were planned, and always kept it under surveillance.
Captain (retired) Gurtej Singh, university's security officer, claimed he was unaware of any distribution of aggressive literature on the campus.
"No activity has come to my notice," he said. "If there is any," he told the reporter, "I will check it out."
Back to start
Fundamentalist organisations have got not only the campus debate but also the criminal investigation department (CID) active again.
"We have the input from the campus," confirmed a police official, requesting anonymity (for the investigation is on).
"The situation is being monitored."
Sant Baljit Singh Daduwal can't meet Balwant Singh Rajoana in jail. The Patiala jail authorities on Wednesday declined the request of the Sikh hardliner to meet the militant on death row in the Beant Singh assassination case.
Daduwal had sent in the request in on a chit, setting off a 30-minute chat inside. A few relatives of Rojoana, led by his sister, Kamaljeet Kaur, however, could meet him. Daduwal said he was there on Rajoana's wish.