`SGPC sends mercy petition; Badal to meet PM`
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Last Updated: Monday, March 26, 2012, 19:34
Chandigarh: SGPC, the apex religious body of Sikhs on Monday sent a mercy petition to the President seeking clemency for death row convict Balwant Singh Rajoana even as Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said he would soon meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in this regard.

In a related development, the Superintendent of Patiala Jail moved a petition in a court seeking deferment of Babbar Khalsa militant's hanging as the CBI contended he had no locus standi to challenge the warrant of execution.

Making a statement in the Legislative Assembly, Badal termed the issue as sensitive and historic and appealed to the people to maintain peace, communal harmony and the spirit of brotherhood in the state.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee had sent a mercy petition to the President seeking commutation of the death sentence awarded to Rajoana for his involvement in the assassination of former Chief Minister Beant Singh in 1995.

The petition had been sent in line with the decision taken by the core committee of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal here late last night, SGPC sources said.

The petition had sought conversion of Rajoana's death penalty to life imprisonment as was done in the case of another convict Jagat Singh Hawara.

In the House, the Chief Minister said he would soon meet the President and the Prime Minister to seek clemency for Rajoana who is scheduled to be hanged on March 31 in the Patiala Central Jail.

"All legal options will be explored by my government in this regard. Our steps will ensure peaceful atmosphere in the state," he said.

His Deputy and SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said "hanging is not going to take place."

"Our duty is to maintain law and order at any cost," Sukhbir, who also holds the Home portfolio, told reporters outside the Assembly.


First Published: Monday, March 26, 2012, 19:34

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