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Pressure on Badal to seek clemency for Beant killer

Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal, who was present at the SAD core committee meet which asked the state govt to take all possible steps to secure clemency for Rajoana, said he would make a special statement on the floor of the Vidhan Sabha today.

india Updated: Mar 26, 2012 14:43 IST

Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, who was present at the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) core committee meeting which asked the Punjab government to take all possible legal and other steps to secure clemency for Balwant Singh Rajoana, sentenced to death in the Beant Singh assassination case, said that he would make a special statement on the subject on the floor of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha on Monday.

The SAD core committee fully endorsed the steps taken by the state in this regard so far. It took note of the fact that the warrants of execution against Rajoana had been returned since it was legally not possible to execute them.

Earlier on Sunday, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) sought clemency for Balwant Singh Rajoana, even as the death row convict refused to accept a title from the Akal Takht. Babbar Khalsa militant Rajoana is to hang on March 31 for his involvement in the assassination of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh in 1995.

The SGPC sent a communiqué to President Pratibha Patil, through governor Shivraj V Patil, seeking clemency for Rajoana, after a meeting of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) core committee, said a source privy to the development.

The SGPC said hanging Rajoana would hurt the Sikh psyche and also referred to the slain CM’s family having no objection to Rajoana being pardoned, the source added.

The core committee appreciated the fact that the Punjab government had already taken a decision not to execute the death warrant against Rajoana and fully backed the efforts being taken by the government to secure clemency for him.

At an emergency meeting convened and chaired by SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal, the Core Committee said "the party was prepared to 'go to any extent to secure clemency for Bhai Rajoana so that the hard earned atmosphere of peace and communal harmony in the state is not disturbed".

The core committee also endorsed a communiqué sent by the superintendent of Patiala central jail — where Rajoana is lodged — to the additional sessions judge of the Chandigarh court on Saturday, expressing inability to execute the death sentence.

The core committee appealed to all political parties, organisations, institutions and citizens of the country to extend support for the cause of clemency for Rajoana to maintain peace and communal harmony in the state and the country.

The jail official had cited legal infirmities and that the state of Punjab had no territorial jurisdiction in the matter.

Meanwhile, Rajoana — in a statement through his sister — refused the Zinda Shaheed (Living Martyr) title which Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikhs, wanted to bestow on him.


First Published: Mar 26, 2012 09:24 IST