New Delhi: The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) is reported to have sent a communiqué to President Pratibha Patil seeking clemency for Balwant Singh Rajoana- one of the assassins of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh.
According to a source privy to the development, the mercy petition was sent through the state’s Governor Shivraj Patil after the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) core committee backed the move.
During the meeting, the core committee of the SAD urged the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to take all possible legal and other steps to secure clemency for Rajoana- one of the assassins of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh.
On his turn, Badal assured the SAD core committee members that he would make a special statement on the subject on the floor of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha today. During the meeting, 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.
The SGPC, in support of its clemency move said hanging Rajoana would hurt the Sikh psyche and also referred to the slain CM’s family having no objection to Rajoana being pardoned.
Earlier on Friday, Akal Takht Jathedar, Gyani Gurbachan Singh, urged Chief Minister Badal, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pratibha Devi Singh Patil to save the life of Rajoana.
Gyani Gurbachan Singh met over 250 Sikh leaders to ascertain their views on the issue. After the meeting, the Jathedar issued the direction. He described Rajoana as an asset of the Sikh community,” and said that it was the duty and accountability of SAD patron Parkash Singh Badal, SAD chief Sukhbir Badal and SGPC chief to save his life.
Describing Rajoana as a “Sikh warrior” who had “raised his voice and acted against atrocities” on Sikh community, bestowed upon him the title of “living martyr” for the Sikh community, which the death row convict refused to accept.
Babbar Khalsa militant Rajoana is to be hanged on March 31 for his involvement in the assassination of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh in 1995.