CHANDIGARH: Balwant Singh Rajoana, convicted for the assassination of the then Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh in 1995, has announced that he would sit on hunger strike from January 11, 2020 to protest against non-action on his appeal against his sentence which is pending with the President for the last eight years.
Confirming the same, Rajoana’s sister Kamaldeep Kaur on Friday alleged that both Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee (SGPC) were not taking up his issue seriously though they have assured her brother a number of times that they will help him. "Former SGPC President Kirpal Singh Badungar and present president of SGPC Gobind Singh Longowal had twice given written assurances but they did not take any action after he ended his hunger strike," she claimed.
Rajoana, who is presently lodged in Patiala Central Jail, had earlier also gone on hunger strike twice on the same issue.
Kamaldeep said that her brother is also not being provided services of a senior advocate. She said when the Union government had issued a notification to commute her brother’s sentence from death to life sentence then also only one person opposed it. But both SGPC and SAD did not do anything.
A few days ago during the question hour in the Lok Sabha Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that no pardon has been given to Rajoana. He was replying to a question asked by Member of Parliament from Ludhiana Ravneet Singh Bittu who had sought a response from Shah on why Rajoana was pardoned. Bittu is the grandson of Beant Singh.
Interestingly in September, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had announced to commute the death sentence of Rajoana to life imprisonment. On occasion of 550th birth anniversary celebration of Guru Nanak Dev, but this has not been implemented till date and it continues to remain uncertain.
A special court in July 2007 had awarded the death sentence to Rajoana, along with another militant Jagtar Singh Hawara, in the Beant Singh assassination case.
He was scheduled to be hanged on March 31, 2012. However, the execution was stayed on March 28, 2012, by the then UPA government at the Centre after the SGPC filed a mercy petition. Also, SAD which was then in government in Punjab supported the SGPC. Then the president forwarded the plea to the MHA to take a final call and since then the petition was pending with the home ministry.