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.