CHANDIGARH: Punjab's ruling Shiromani Akali Dal Sunday asked the state government and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to take all possible legal and other steps to secure clemency for Balwant Singh Rajoana, a Babbar Khalsa International terrorist, facing death sentence for former chief minister Beant Singh's assassination.
At an emergency meeting here of the party's core committee, chaired by party president and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, members expressed satisfaction with the decision of the state government not to implement the March 31 warrants of execution issued by a court in Chandigarh recently.
The core committee also asked the SGPC to immediately file a clemency appeal for Rajoana before the president, an Akali Dal spokesman said here.
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who was present at the meeting, disclosed that he would make a special statement on the subject in the assembly Monday.
Rajoana was awarded death sentence by a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court here July 2007 along with another terrorist, Jagtar Singh Hawara, in the Beant Singh assassination case.
The former chief minister (1992-95), who was largely credited with wiping out terrorism from Punjab by dealing with terrorists with an iron hand along with supercop K.P.S. Gill, was assassinated by a human bomb, Dilawar Singh, at the high security Punjab civil secretariat here Aug 31, 1995.
While Hawara was the mastermind of the assassination, Rajoana was the second human bomb to be used in case the first assassin failed to kill Beant Singh. Rajoana, during the entire 11-year trial of the assassination, had admitted that he alone was responsible for the killing of Beant Singh.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court had October 2010 upheld the death sentence for Rajoana but changed the capital punishment given to Hawara to life imprisonment. Rajoana had refused to challenge the death sentence awarded to him.
"The core committee fully endorsed the steps taken by the Punjab government in this regard so far. The core committee took note of the fact that the warrants of execution against Bhai Rajoana had been returned since it was legally not possible to execute them," the spokesman said.
He said that the Akali Dal endorsed the efforts being taken by the government to secure clemency for Rajoana.
"The party is prepared to go to any extent to secure clemency for Bhai Rajoana so that the hard earned atmosphere of peace and communal harmony in the state is not disturbed," he added.
The core committee appealed to all political parties, organizations, institutions and citizens of the country to extend support for the cause of clemency for Rajoana.
The family members of Beant Singh have also stated that they had forgiven Rajoana and that his death sentence be converted to life imprisonment.
Punjab Congress President Amarinder Singh Sunday endorsed the stand taken by the family of Beant Singh that the death sentence of Rajoana be commuted to life imprisonment.
He also assured all support and cooperation to the Punjab government, whether legal or by way of making an appeal to the President for clemency to Rajoana, in this regard.