Patiala, Punjab: There was no question of even talking about hanging Balwant Singh Rajoana, as his mercy petition was still with the President, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal said here on Sunday.
“For the peace of Punjab, please, don’t rake up this issue. Nothing is going to happen as long as the clemency petition filed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on behalf of Rajoana is pending. We are against death penalty,” said Badal, denying any plan to shift Rajoana from Patiala to some other jail, as the convict had claimed during court hearing.
“Besides, the petition of the other convicts is also pending in the Supreme Court,” the CM said. On being reminded that Rajoana himself had sought the execution of his death sentence, Badal said: “Rajoana if free to comment as he likes but my government will take decision with a view to maintaining Punjab’s hard-earned peace.”
On March 28, 2012, the union home ministry had stayed Rajoana’s execution after appeal by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. Badal was here to administer the oath of office to newly elected members of panchayats.
STATE TO ASSIST GUJARAT SIKHS IN LEGAL BATTLE
On the issue of the eviction of Punjabi farmers from Gujarat, the CM said apart from political efforts, the government would also support the farmers in legal battle. “Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal will lead a delegation to the Gujarat CM, and the state government will hire best lawyers to fight the case in the Supreme Court,” said Badal.
The CM added that he had taken up matter with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh.
‘LESSON’ FOR MAMATA
Taking a dig at his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal compared the violent panchayat elections in her state with the “peaceful process” in Punjab.
“I don’t want to comment on how West Bengal did it but we were able to conduct the elections smoothly,” he said.