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Beant Singh’s assassination: Rajoana starts hunger strike; SGPC, SAD to meet Rajnath on mercy plea

Rajoana had accused the SGPC and SAD of not pursuing his mercy petition which was filed with the President in 2012.

punjab Updated: Jul 16, 2018 21:18 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Patiala/Amritsar
Beant Singh,hunger strike,Balwant Singh Rajoana
Balwant Singh Rajoana, a convict on death row for the assassination of the then Punjab chief minister Beant Singh in 1995.(HT File)

With the death row convict in the Beant Singh assassination case, Balwant Singh Rajoana, starting fast unto death in the Patiala central jail on Monday, the Shiromani Akali Dal and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) said their delegation will meet Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday to pursue his pending mercy petition.

Rajoana had accused the SGPC and SAD of not pursuing his mercy petition which was filed with the President in 2012.

Ignoring the appeal of the Akal Takht jatehdar and the SAD leadership, which had asked him to not to start a hunger strike, an adamant Rajoana didn’t take food offered by jail officials on Monday.

SGPC members Surjit Singh Garhi and Nirmal Singh met him in the jail to persuade him to end his fast, but to no avail. They also informed him of their plan to meet the Union home minister.

The jail superintendent informed senior officials who asked to depute a doctor to keep tabs on Rajoana’s health. Rajoana, who is in the Patiala jail for the last 20 years, on Saturday had handed over a letter to his relative who came to meet him.

In 2012, the court had issued his death warrants but SGPC approached the Supreme Court besides filing a mercy petition before the President on Rajoana’s behalf.

“Despite being a coalition partner of the BJP, the SAD has failed to pursue the matter of my mercy petition. Either they should get the result or withdraw it,” said Rajoana in the letter.

SAD leader Prem Singh Chandumajra said a meeting has been fixed with Rajnath on July 18 and appealed to Rajoana to end his fast.

SGPC spokesperson Daljit Singh Bedi said, ““A delegation comprising SGPC chief Gobind Singh Longowal, SAD president Sukhbir Badal and Akali MPs will meet Rajnath Singh on July 18. When Rajnath Singh visited the Golden Temple for paying obeisance, the SGPC had raised the demand for disposing of the appeal as early as possible.”

First Published: Jul 16, 2018 21:10 IST