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Rajoana mercy plea: Akal Takht talks of ‘concrete plan’ if Centre doesn’t act on pleas

Jathedar says will prepare future course of action in consultation with SGPC if nothing done in 6 weeks; thanks Beant killing convict for ending hunger strike.

punjab Updated: Jul 24, 2018 11:01 IST
Surjit Singh
Surjit Singh
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Rajoana,Rajoana mercy plea,Akal Takht
Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh (C) with other Sikh high priests during a meeting held at the Akal Takht in Amritsar.(Sameer Sehgal/HT)

The Akal Takht on Monday said it will chalk out a concrete plan if the Centre fails to take decision on the mercy plea for Balwant Singh Rajoana, the death row convict in the Beant Singh assassination case, within one-and-a-half months.

The petition for commuting Rajoana’s death penalty to life imprisonment was moved by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) in 2012 before the President.

“Rajnath Singh (Union home minister) has assured an SGPC-Akali Dal delegation to resolve the issue soon. The SGPC chief has given the home minister one-and-a-half months time. If the government fails to take any decision in time, a concrete plan will be chalked out in consultation with the SGPC chief and action will be taken accordingly,” said Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh.

After chairing a meeting of Panj Singh Sahiban (five Sikh clergymen) at the secretariat of Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikhism, Giani Gurbachan Singh thanked Rajoana for ending his hunger strike.

Takht Patna Sahib jathedar Giani Iqbal Singh, Takht Kesgarh Sahib jathedar Giani Raghbir Singh, Takht Damdama Sahib jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh and Akal Takht head granthi Giani Malkit Singh were also present in the meeting held over issues concerning the community.

What Rajoana says

Interestingly, Rajoana recently wrote to the Patiala jail superintendent that the SGPC had filed the petition without taking his consent.

Demanding that either the Centre should take a decision on the petition or SGPC withdraw it, Rajoana on July 16 had gone on an indefinite hunger strike in the Patiala jail. Two days later, a SAD-SGPC delegation met Rajnath Singh. After SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal briefed Rajoana about that meeting, he ended the hunger strike on Saturday.

Gurdwara panels in Rajasthan dissolved

The Sikh clergy also resolved to dissolve the two committees laying claims on the management of Gurdwara Shaheed Nagar at Budha Johar in Rajasthan’s Sri Ganganagar district.

“Both the committees indulged in a tussle over petty issues and created their own constitutions. Besides dissolving the committees and rejecting the constitution, the management has been handed over to new nine-member panel to run the gurdwara affairs till the new constitution is not framed with the approval of the Akal Takht,” said the jathedar.

First Published: Jul 24, 2018 10:58 IST