After the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, the likely gallows for death row convict Devenderpal Singh Bhullar is likely to turn into a political storm.
Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal and his son and Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal, on Monday, met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to seek clemency for Bhullar.
After the Supreme Court rejected the clemency pleas, on grounds of delay and mental stability of the convict, execution was certain for Bhullar, who is accused of engineering bomb blasts in 1993, which killed nine people outside the Youth Congress office in Delhi. However, the Akali Dal-led Punjab Government is seeking commutation of death to life imprisonment.
“We asked the prime minister to find a way so that bhullar can be granted clemency,” the Punjab chief minister said after the meeting with Manmohan Singh.
Prakash argued that the state needs peace and harmony the most.
“What we need most is peace and harmony. If it affects peace and harmony it will become an emotive issue. We are warning the government that people are emotional. Moreover he is in a poor health condition...What will they gain by hanging him” the CM added.
Earlier, various Sikh religious bodies had expressed their disappointment at the apex court’s latest order.
Prakash said that he knew how much the country had lost, earlier, due to incorrect decisions. “In the interest of the state and in the interest of the country we are asking to stop it,” he added.
Sources said that a review petition was being prepared to challenge the order.
The Punjab CM pointed out that even Germany -- from where Bhullar was extradited -- had opposed the death penalty.
Later, both the CM and deputy CM met Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and reiterated their demands. Sukhbir told reporters; “We have to look into the larger interest of the state...We have conveyed to the home minister that since Bhullar was mentally sick he should not be hanged.”
The issue has also brought fissures between the Akali-BJP combine in the state. While, Akali regretted the apex court ruling, the BJP said the law should take its own course and Bhullar must be hanged.