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No more public appearances of Rajoana – Authorities to produce him before court via Video conferencing from jail

March 3, 2013 | By

Patiala, Punjab (March 03, 2013): It is learnt that Punjab police and Patiala jail authorities have made arrangements to use video conferencing to produce Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana before a local court.

This way the authorities shall be able to avoid public appearances of Bhai Rajoana, who is currently lodged in Centeral Jail, Patiala.

Recently Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana was produced before a local court via video conference on March 02, 2013.

A file photo of court appearance of Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana.

Certain media sections have reported that “security concerns” have compelled Patiala central jail authorities to use video conferencing mode to produce Balwant Singh Rajoana before a local court.

According to Times of India (TOI) superintendent of Patiala central jail, Bhupinder Singh Virk, said: “Balwant Singh Rajoana appeared before a local court through video conferencing in connection with an Arms Act case registered in Sadar police station. The court has deferred the case till next hearing. We have all facilities required for video conferencing and are using it for some other cases also”.

As per TOI news report: “[s]enior authorities of jail had checked all equipment on Friday night. A local court in December 2012 had passed orders to hear Rajoana’s case through video conferencing and he was to be so presented in the court on January 15, 2013. But Rajoana refused to use e-mode and demanded that he be presented in person”.

“Following the request of Rajoana, the court had agreed to his demand and police presented Rajoana on January 21, 2013 amid tight security. Since police had to make huge security arrangements in every court hearing, Rajoana could not be presented in courts on many dates due to lack of security and VVIP visits to Patiala city” news report reads furhter.

It is learnt that in January 2013, Patiala SSP Gurpreet Singh Gill sent a letter to court stating that deputy chief minister of Punjab had a programme in Patiala and as such police in Patiala would be busy with Sukhbir’s security.

The SSP had accordingly written to the court that presenting Rajoana with less security could have been dangerous and ultimately, Rajoana could not be produced in the court on January 28, 2013.

Kamaldeep Kaur, sister of Rajoana reportedly said: “We have been informed that my brother has appeared before the court through video conferencing and court has fixed March 16, 2013 as the next date of hearing. He had refused to use e-mode earlier”.

Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana (quote from Will)

Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana (quote from Will)

It is notable that Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana was sentenced to death in Punjab CM Beant Singh assassination case. Balwant Singh had refused to contest the case as he declared that he had no faith in Indian state or judicial system. Punjab CM Beant Singh was considered to be responsible for unleashing the region of terror on civilian Sikh population of Punjab and during his tenure as Punjab’s chief minister wide-spread and systematic violations of human rights had taken place. On 31 August, 1995 CM Beant Singh was killed in a blast outside his office at Punjab secretariat in Chandigarh.

It is further notable that Rajoana’s death sentence was confirmed my Punjab and Haryana High Court and a Chandigarh court had issued his execution warrants for March 31, 2012. But before the date of execution Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC) and Badal Dal leaders lobbied with Central Government of India and moved a constitutional review petition under Article 72 of the Constitution of India urging clemency for Rajoana. As a procedural effect of the petition moved before President of India, Bhai Rajoana’s hanging was indefinitely postponed.

As India has recently adopted the practise of secret hangings, where the review petitions of death row convicts are rejected by the President of India and this fact is released to public domain only after the execution of the persons convicted. Two persons, namely Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru were hanged in secrecy by India recently. Many Sikh circles are suspecting that India may adopt such a practise of execute Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana.

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