March 31 hanging of Sikh terrorist Balwant Singh Rajoana in the
assassination of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh appeared
unsure Monday after the Patiala jail superintendent approached a
court seeking deferment of the hanging and Chief Minister Parkash
Singh Badal said there was possibility of the BKI terrorist
Badal told the state assembly Monday that the hanging of Babbar
Khalsa International (BKI) terrorist Rajoana could not be carried
out in the present circumstances as there is a possibility of his
getting relief in the assassination case.
In a statement, Badal said it was "necessary to await the outcome
of the matter in the Supreme Court before executing the death
warrant of Rajoana".
The chief minister's statement came as the superintendent of
Patiala jail, where the Sikh terrorist is lodged and is scheduled
to be hanged March 31, Monday approached the Central Bureau of
Investigation (CBI) special court here seeking deferment of the
warrant of death issued for Rajoana.
Patiala jail superintendent L.S. Jakhar had earlier returned the
warrant of death issued by the court saying that the legal
circumstances of the Beant Singh assassination case were such that
Rajoana could not be hanged till the Supreme Court decided all
The matter of two other terrorists, Jagtar Singh Hawara and
Lakhwinder Singh, convicted in the same case, is pending before
the Supreme Court. The CBI has approached the Supreme Court in
Hawara's case as his death sentence, awarded by the CBI special
court in 2007, was commuted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court
in 2010 to life imprisonment. The appeal of Lakhwinder Singh
against his conviction is also pending.
However, the high court had upheld Rajoana's death sentence in the
case as he had refused to defend himself.
Citing the petition moved by the Patiala jail superintendent
before the court, Badal said: "In view of the old cases and rules
it is amply clear that Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana could also get
the same relief to be given to other accused in this case, whether
he (Rajoana) has not filled any appeal."
"In view of these circumstances, it is clear that Bhai Balwant
Singh Rajoana cannot be hanged," Badal stated.
He pointed out that if Rajoana is hanged now and the court gives
relief later, no one would be able to give life back to him then.
Badal said that he would soon meet the president and prime
minister to seek clemency for Rajoana. He said the Punjab
government did not want the hard earned peace and communal harmony
in the state to be disturbed by the Rajoana hanging case.
Earlier, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) filed
a clemency petition with President Pratibha Patil for Rajoana.
Punjab's ruling Shiromani Akali Dal had Sunday evening said it was
willing "to go to any extent" to save Rajoana and asked the state
government and the SGPC "to take all possible legal and other
steps" to secure clemency for him.
A court in Chandigarh has issued the death warrant for March 31
and asked the authorities in Patiala jail in Punjab, 80 km from
here, to execute Rajoana. He had refused to defend himself in any
court saying that he "be hanged to death for the cause of
Khalistan" (a separate Sikh homeland).
The Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of the Sikh religion,
had last week asked the Punjab government and the SGPC to initiate
steps to save Rajoana from the gallows.
Beant Singh, a former Punjab chief minister (1992-95), who was
largely credited with wiping out terrorism from Punjab, 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. Rajoana, during the entire 11-year trial, had admitted
that he alone was responsible for the killing of Beant Singh.
The family members of Beant Singh have also stated that they had
forgiven Rajoana and that his death sentence be converted to life
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), alliance partner of the Akali
Dal in the Punjab government, has avoided any comment on the
clemency issue of Rajoana.