CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Monday made it clear that his government had merely sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) the list of all long-term TADA prisoners, and had no role in the Centre’s reported decision to release Beant Singh’s killer or any particular prisoner.
His government, said Amarinder, had only sent the list of 17 TADA prisoners held in Punjab, as required by the Centre, which had taken an independent decision on the release of the prisoners. In fact, he said, the state government was yet to receive the names of the nine prisoners who the Ministry of Home Affairs had decided to grant a special exemption.
Amarinder was responding to questions on the Congress stand on reports suggesting that former chief minister Beant Singh’s killer, Rajoana, was among the eight prisoners that the Centre had decided to release, as a humanitarian gesture on the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. Rajoana was in the list of the 17 submitted by the state government to the Centre as he was a TADA prisoner who had completed more than 14 years in jail, like the other prisoners on the list, he added.
The Congress stand on Beant Singh’s killers had always been clear and consistent – that they should serve their full sentence, said Amarinder. He, however, added that he was personally against the death penalty, which he had said back in 2012 too. All death penalty cases should be commuted to life imprisonment, in his personal opinion.
On reports of a threat to Punjab’s peace from the released TADA prisoners, he declared that he would not let anyone disturb the peace and harmony of the state.
“As an ex-Army man, I can assure the people that we are fully prepared to counter any threat and will not let the peace of Punjab be disturbed under any circumstances,” he said.
Pointing out that Pakistan was also striving to destroy Punjab’s hard-earned peace by pushing terrorists and weapons into the state, Amarinder said his government would take all possible steps to tighten security further, as necessary.
He rubbished charges of the Congress promoting Khalistan, saying those were not even worth commenting on.