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ACCORDING TO THE TRIBUNE -Beant Singh assassin Rajoana’s death sentence commuted Eight other TADA detainee Sikhs to be released

September 29, 2019 07:22 PM

COURTESY THE TRIBUNE  CHANDIGARH Ajay Banerjee & Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service
New Delhi/Chandigarh, September 29


In a major decision that could have a positive spin to BJP’s image in Sikh politics, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has commuted the death sentence of Babbar Khalsa terrorist Balwant Singh Rajoana, who was sentenced to death for his role in assassinating Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh on August 31, 1995, THE  TRIBUNE POSTED THIS NEWS ON  ITS  INTERNET EDITION TODAY.

Sources confirmed to the Tribune the MHA last night okayed commuting death sentence of Rajoana, a former Punjab Police constable. He will now undergo a life imprisonment.

The move comes just two days after the BJP did not enter into an alliance with the Akali Dal, its long standing political ally, for the forthcoming elections in Haryana. The population of Sikhs in the state is almost 8 per cent and traditionally, since the days of militancy (1978 to 1995), have largely opted for Devi Lal/ OP Chautala’s Indian National Lok Dal.

The death sentence of other convict in the Beant Singh assassination—Jagtar Singh Hawara—has already been reduced to life imprisonment by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in October 2010. The same court had upheld the death sentence to Rajoana, who during his trial never defended himself or filed a mercy plea seeking Presidential pardon, saying he had a pact with his friend and fellow Punjab Police constable Dilawar Singh that both will lay down their lives. Dilawar Singh was the human bomb, who blew himself up with explosives to kill Beant Singh as the latter stepped out of his office in Punjab and Haryana Civil Secretariat in Chandigarh. In case Dilawar had failed Rajoana would have been the second ‘human bomb’.



The Union Government, on March 29, 2012 had stayed Rajoana’s hanging which was slated for March 31, 2012. The decision was made after the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) filed a mercy petition, and was actively backed by the Punjab government and other political parties in the state.

In March 2012 then Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal alongwith his son and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, handed over a mercy petition to President ( then Pratibha Patil) on behalf of the state government seeking clemency for Rajoana. The President referred the matter to MHA, which stayed the execution of Rajoana.

Meanwhile the Home Ministry has okayed the release of eight Sikhs, who had been detained over the past three decades or more, under the now abrogated Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA).

The Punjab Government has suggested nine names be released. The MHA has not released the names of the eight to be released. The Punjab Government list was: Lal Singh, Dilbagh Singh, Saran Singh - all lodged in Nabha jail; Hardeep Singh and Baj Singh - lodged in Amritsar jail; Nand Singh lodged in Patiala central jail; Subegh Singh - Ludhiana jail; Gurdeep Singh Kherav- a jail in Karnataka and Waryam Singh – A jail in Bareilly UP. These names had been discussed between the Union Home Ministry and the Punjab Government, three weeks ago.

The TADA was in force between 1985 and 1995. It had very stringent provisions like a confession before the police being assumed a concrete acceptance of a crime. Normally, in Non-TADA cases, a confession before the police is not final and has to made in a court of law.

This is being seen as ‘ act of grace’ ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak

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