March 30, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Patiala, Punjab (March 30, 2013): According to certain media reports the Punjab jails department on March 29, 2013 dismissed the rumours that Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana, currently on death row for assassinating former chief minister Beant Singh, has been shifted to Delhi’s Tihar Jail. The authorities reportedly refuted such claims as baseless.
According to a news report published on the website of Hindustan Times (HT): “[i]n a statement issued here, Bhupinderjit Singh Virk, superintendent, central jail, Patiala, denied the rumours circulating about Rajoana, saying he was safely lodged in the Patiala jail”.
“In a signed statement, the jail superintendent clarified that Rajoana was lodged in the Patiala jail, and warned mischievous elements against spreading rumours regarding his hanging or transfer to another jail” the HT news reads furhter.
He reportedly said the state government would act strongly against anyone spreading the rumours.
It is for the second time that such rumours have hit the state. Earlier, in the first week of March, the Punjab Police had clarified about such rumours.
It is notable that Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana was sentenced to death by an Indian court for his involvement in assassination of Punjab’s Chief Minister Beant Singh on August 31, 1995. Bhai Rajoana had admitted his participation to the assassination of CM Beant Singh. In his hand-written letters submitted in the court from time to time, he refused to contest his case in Indian courts expressing no faith in Indian state system or the Indian judiciary. In his letters he made it clear that while planning and executing the assassination of Beant Singh, they had acted out of existential concerns, as Sikhs were facing facing existential crisis during Beant Singh’s regime that was indulged in committing mass level atrocities on civilian Sikh population.
Bhai Balwant Singh even refused to appeal against the death sentence awarded by Indian court. In March 2012 a Chandigarh court issued his death warrants for March 31, 2012. But before the date of execution a constitutional review petition was field by Shiroamani Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC) before President of India under Article 72 of the Indian Constitution. As a matter of procedure the execution of death sentence was indeterminately postponed.
It is notable that on November 21, 2012 Indian terminated about eight years long de-facto moratorium on death penalty by Hanging Azmal Kasab for his involvement in 26/11 Mumbai attacks. This was followed by hanging of Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri who was convicted in 2001 attack on Indian parliament. Both were hanged in secrecy by Indian state. India’s President had rejected their review petitions but the fact of rejection of petitions was released only after their executions. The body of Afzal Guru was also buried in Tihar Jail Delhi as the government had cited jail rules as reason for refusal to hand over his body to the family for last rites.
There are apprehensions that India may hang Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana in secrecy. Common impression is that in order to avoid mass-protests in Punjab as the aftermath of the suspected/proposed execution Indian government may transfer Rajoana to Delhi’s Tihar Jail for execution.
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