CHANDIGARH: Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Badal on Saturday urged the Union government to set free Balwant Singh Rajoana, who was sentenced to death in 2007 for the assassination of former Chief Minister Beant Singh, to put a decisive end to his unending incarceration.
“This humanitarian gesture would be in conformation with civilised values and justice as Bhai Rajoana had already served more than the effective equivalent of a life sentence,” he said in a statement.
Badal asked the Congress leaders to rise above political opportunism and back the release of Rajoana. “It is so unfortunate that Amarinder Singh has always run with the hares and hunted with the hounds when it comes to emotional Sikh issues. He tries to please his masters in Delhi by opposing the release of Rajoana while opportunistically maintaining that personally he is opposed to capital punishment.”
Badal called upon both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind to personally expedite this gesture as “a fulfilment of a national commitment made to Punjabis in general and the Sikhs in particular by the government of India.
The government of India is already on record having committed to commute Rajoana’s death sentence to life imprisonment. This commitment was made as a special gesture ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, he added.
A former Punjab Police constable, Rajoana was sentenced to death on August 1, 2007 by a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Chandigarh and his execution was scheduled for March 31, 2012.