Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Death row convict Rajoana ends hunger strike after meeting with SGPC chief (Punjab)

Posted at: Jul 20, 2018, 8:21 PM 

Patiala: Balwant Singh Rajoana, the death row convict in the then Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh assassination case, on Friday ended his hunger strike in the Patiala central jail following a meeting with the SGPC chief.

Balwant Singh Rajoana
Rajoana had recently written to the Patiala jail superintendent that the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) had moved a mercy petition seeking commutation of his death penalty into life imprisonment in 2012 before the then President Pratibha Patil without taking his consent. According to media reports, Rajoana had accused the SPGC of failing to pursue his mercy petition. He had claimed that until the SGPC does not withdraw the mercy petition—if they do not get any results—or the Union Home Ministry does not conclude on it he would remain on hunger strike.

The SGPC, in a statement today, said that its chief Gobind Singh Longowal met Rajoana in the Patiala central jail here, following which he ended his hunger strike. Jail Superintendent Rajan Kapoor confirmed that Rajoana has ended his hunger strike. Rajoana, who began his fast unto death from Monday, had earlier turned down the SGPC’s request to end it. Longowal, along with Akali Dal MPs, had recently met Union Minister Rajnath Singh regarding Rajoana’s mercy petition. A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court had in July 2007 awarded the death sentence to Rajoana, along with another terrorist Jagtar Singh Hawara, in the Beant Singh assassination case.

Rajoana was scheduled to be hanged on March 31, 2012. However, the execution was stayed on March 28, 2012, by Patil after the SPGC filed the mercy petition. The President had forwarded the application to the Home Ministry but the later is yet to take any decision on it. Rajoana is currently lodged in execution cell of the Patiala central jail. Former Chief Minister Beant Singh, who was largely credited with wiping out terrorism from Punjab, was assassinated by Dilawar Singh, a human bomb, at the high security Punjab Civil Secretariat in Chandigarh on August 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 trial, had admitted that he alone was responsible for the killing. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had in 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 Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in 2012 had said it would go to any extent to save Rajoana and asked the SGPC “to take all possible legal and other steps” to secure clemency for him. — PTI

Source: https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/death-row-convict-rajoana-ends-hunger-strike-after-meeting-with-sgpc-chief/623695.html (Accessed 25 December 2018)

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