The execution of Balwant Singh Rajoana, a co-accused in the killing of former
Punjab chief minister Beant Singh in 1995, is taking political connotations in
the state even as top leadership of main parties Shiromani Akali Dal and
Congress treaded cautiously on the issue here in Chandigarh.
Before the commencement of the 1st session of the assembly, Chief Minister
Parkash Singh Badal was circumspect while replying to media querries on the
"The crime has not taken place in Punjab. It happened in the Union Territory,
so any decision on execution of Rajoana will have to be taken by the UT," Badal
told reporters here while refusing to make any further remark on the issue.
However, Ravneet Singh Bittu, a Congress member of Parliament from Anandpur
Sahib and grandson of late Beant Singh, said Punjab government should
immediately make its stand clear on the issue.
"Rajoana had never sought pardon...however, there is no question of giving him
relief," he said adding "I fail to understand why Punjab government is confused
on the issue."
Punjab Jails minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur said "any decision on the issue
will be taken keeping in mind the law and verdict of the court."
Punjab Congress chief and former chief minister Amarinder Singh said "he is not
clear on this legal issue and so he will first go into its detail before making
any statement." Meanwhile, Gurbachan Singh, the head of Akal Takhat, the
highest temporal seat of Sikhs, had convened a meeting of top 5 Sikh priests at
Amritsar tomorrow to take any decision on the issue.
Meanhwile, Rajoana had expressed desire to donate his body and eyes, Patiala
jail sources said. However, the execution of Rajoana is likely to be delayed as
a trial in a Patiala court is pending against him. Additional District and
Session Judge, Chandigarh,
Shalini Nagpal had last week issued a warrant of death sentence against the
Babbar Khalsa terrorist. According to the warrant, Balwant will be hanged on
March 31 in Patiala Central Jail.
Jail sources said they have written to the Punjab director general of police
(jails) seeking clarification on whether a death warrant can be carried out
when a case is under judicial process against a convict.
Human rights activist and lawyer Barjinder Singh Sodhi has questioned the order
for execution of Balwant Singh as a case against him, relating to explosives,
was still pending.
There is also the question who will hang Balwant as Punjab has no hangman now.
The jail authorities have raised this matter as well.
Balwant himself had requested a court to fix the date for his execution and the
judge signed the death warrant that he should be hanged in Patiala Central Jail
on March 31 at 9 am.
A special Central Bureau of Investigation court, held inside Chandigarh's
Burail Jail, had awarded death sentence to Rajoana and Jagtar Singh Hawara on
August 1, 2007.
3 other accused Lakhwinder Singh, Gurmeet Singh and Shamsher Singh were
sentenced to life imprisonment for hatching the conspiracy to kill Beant Singh.
Rajoana did not appeal against the judgment. The death penalty of Hawara, who
filed an appeal against it, was communted to life sentence.
Beant Singh was killed in the high-security Punjab civil secretariat in
Chandigarh, when a suicide bomber, Dilawar Singh, blew himself up, on August
Rajoana was the 2nd human bomb to be used in case Dilawar failed in his