Chandigarh court says Rajoana must be hanged on 31 March

A sessions court in Chandigarh said the death sentence on Balwant Singh Rajoana had to be carried out and also served a contempt notice on the superintendent of the Patiala jail.

FP Politics March 27, 2012 16:51:14 IST

A Chandigarh sessions court has dismissed a petition filed by the Patiala central jail superintendent to stay the hanging of Balwant Singh Rajoana, found guilty of being involved in the assassination of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh.

The sessions court said that Rajoana must be hanged on 31 March, and also initiated contempt proceedings against the Patiala jail superintendent for saying that he could not carry out the execution. The legal counsel for the Punjab government told journalists outside the courtroom that the superintendent had also moved a separate petition saying that he did not have the facilities to carry out the sentence.

Chandigarh court says Rajoana must be hanged on 31 March

Rajoana's hanging has assumed mimes political significance: Screengrab from CNN IBN

The Punjab government said it was planning to appeal in a higher court against the ruling by the sessions court.

The matter of Rajoana's killing has assumed immense political importance in Punjab and the paramilitary were put on high alert in the state, minutes before the sentence was read out.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had earlier said that his government would engage with the Centre to obtain clemency for Rajoana.

He said his government would support the SGPC petition sent yesterday to President seeking conversion of Rajoana's death sentence to a life term.

Various Sikh organisations have called for a bandh in Punjab in view of the expected hanging of Rajoana who has neither challenged his conviction nor filed any mercy petition. As per a court order, he is scheduled to be hanged on 31 March in the Patiala Central Jail.

However Rajoana himself does not want clemency.

In a letter released to Sikhs from inside the Patiala Jail, Rajoana said, "I don't need any help from blue-turbaned Akali leaders, who have not done anything so far to secure justice for Sikhs. Akali leaders have started speaking up now as they fear that if they don't, they will lose their support." He also called the Akali leaders "cheaters".

The copies of Rajoana's letter were distributed by his foster sister Kamaldeep Kaur outside the Central Jail.

Rajoana also wrote that Akali leaders failed to secure justice from Delhi for innocent Sikhs and should not now throw their turbans before Delhi to seek clemency for him.

Rajoana, in a letter to the Sikh community said that the Shiromani Akali Dal is taking up his cause for their vested interest and is trying to score brownie points for their political gains.

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