Punjab politicos pull out all stops to stop Rajoana hanging

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Balwant Singh Rajoana
New Delhi, Mar 28: With the case of former Punjab CM Beant Singh's assassin, Balwant Singh Rajoana's clemency row grabbing media headlines, there are politicos who want to utilize the matter and make the most of the controversy. A bandh has been declared in Punjab after the Chandigarh court upheld Rajoana's hanging on Mar 31.

Massive security and police personnel are put in place ahead of the bandh in the state. 60,000 Punjab police personnel and 15 companies of para-military forces have been deployed here. Sec 144 is also in place with many Sikh groups offering their support to the bandh.

Rajoana had also written a letter to the Sikhs that 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 as "cheaters". Venting his anger at the Akali leaders, he stated that they failed to get justice for the innocent Sikhs and should not throw their turbans before Delhi to seek clemency for him.

The Central Jail in Patiala where Rajoana is lodged is also witnessing massive security arrangements. Both the SAD-BJP government and the Congress are seeking clemency for Rajoana. Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal is also expected to meet the President on the issue. Determined to save the assassin from the gallows, he stated that no action on the case will be taken until the final verdict is passed by the High Court.

Badal has been quoted as saying, "My plea to the President is that the case is still on, and no action should be taken yet. The law of the land must be upheld. I shall meet President Pratibha Patil on Wednesday."

Beant Singh was assassinated by a human bomb, Dilawar Singh in 1995. He was a Punjab Police constable. Rajoana was also a police constable who was a back up human bomb in case Dilawar was unsuccessful in his attempt. Rajoana was later arrested and convicted. The matter has irked several Sikh groups who have affirmed that they will not let Rajoana hand no matter what.

The man in thew center of the storm, Rajoana wants to be hanged for his deed and doesn't want to plead for clemency. Speaking to a private channel, Rajoana's sister has been quoted as saying, "What my brother did was for Punjab. If the people want to protest against his hanging, they should do it peacefully. What he did was right. If anyone should protest against the ruling of the court, it should be us, his family, not any other third person."

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