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No pardon has been given to Balwant Singh Rajoana: Amit Shah

File photo of Balwant Singh Rajoana, who has been sentenced to death in the murder case of former Punjab CM Beant Singh.

File photo of Balwant Singh Rajoana, who has been sentenced to death in the murder case of former Punjab CM Beant Singh.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

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Home Minister responds to query from Congress MP on assassin of Punjab CM Beant Singh

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday informed the Lok Sabha that Balwant Singh Rajoana, convicted of the assassination of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh, had not been pardoned.

The Minister was responding to a query from Ravneet Singh Bittu, Congress member from Punjab, who asked the Home Minister why the Centre pardoned the killer of the former Chief Minister.

Denies reports

“Please don’t go by media reports. No pardon has been given,” the Home Minister told the Congress member, who is the grandson of Beant Singh. In September, Home Ministry officials said the government had decided to commute the death sentence of Rajoana to life imprisonment as as a “humanitarian gesture” on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.

A former Punjab police constable, Rajoana was convicted of his role in an explosion outside the Punjab Secretariat in 1995 that killed the then Chief Minister and 16 others.

In July 2007, a special court awarded the death sentence to Rajoana and he was scheduled to be hanged on March 31, 2012.

However, the execution was stayed two days before the scheduled date after the Shiromoni Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC), the Sikh religious body, filed a mercy petition.

Statement unfortunate: SAD

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Tuesday termed Mr. Shah’s statement in Parliament about Rajoana’s death sentence not having been commuted as unfortunate, saying it has anguished the Sikh community.

“We all feel aggrieved today. We thought we had moved ahead when news statements appeared last month disclosing the death sentence of Bhai Rajoana had been commuted to life sentence. However today’s assertion has shocked everyone. There is a feeling of hurt that justice has not been done to the Sikh community and the spirit of the clemency which was espoused on the occasion of the 550th Parkash Purb has not been carried through,” said Sukhbir Singh Badal, president, SAD.

He said that the SAD would continue its fight to ensure reprieve to Rajoana.

“A high-level delegation would meet Mr. Shah the Union Minister soon and apprise him about the sentiments of the Sikh community and urge that Bhai Rajoana’s death sentence be commuted,” he said.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 4:47:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/no-pardon-has-been-given-to-balwant-singh-rajoana-amit-shah/article30148800.ece

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