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Rajoana hanging row: Many Sikhs groups call 'Punjab' bandh today

Chandigarh, Wed, 28 Mar 2012 NI Wire

The row over proposed hanging to Babbar Khalsa terrorist Balwant Singh Rajoana scheduled on March 31, has intensified as several Sikh groups including Siromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) has appealed to the government to grant Rajoana clemency.

In this regard, Siromani Akali Dal's (SAD's) former president and Chief Minister of Punjab Prakash Singh Badal has decided to meet President Pratibha Devi Singh Patil for appealing clemency to Rajoana on Wednesday in the evening.

On the other hand, two radical Sikh groups Dal Khalsa and Khalsa Action Committee have appealed to the people to observe 'bandh' on Wednesday in the protest of Rajoana's sentenced to death.

A Chandigarh session court on Tuesday directed the central jail in Patiala that Babbar Khalsa terrorist Balwant Singh Rajoana, sentenced to death in the 1995 assassination of erstwhile Chief Minister of Punjab Beant Singh, has to hang as scheduled time and date.

According the death sentence of the court, Rajoana will be hanged at 9 am on Saturday.

Due to rising tension in the state, security has been beefed up and strong vigilance has been deployed on the crowed places like Railway stations, Bus stations, government institutions, courts, nearby places of Patiala central jail and national highways.

Earlier, Rajoana, in his written letter had criticized Punjab Government led by SAD for attempting to save his life and alleged SAD for not fighting for justice to the Sikhs killed in the riots in 1984, occurred after erstwhile Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's assassination.

Suicide bomber Dilawar Singh killed Beant Singh outside the Punjab Civil Secretariat in Chandigarh in August 1995. Rajoana was the standby killer in case Dilawar failed.

The special CBI court had awarded death sentence to Rajoana and Jagtar Singh Hawara on August 1, 2007. Rajoana did not appeal against the verdict, while Hawara's sentence was commuted to life term after he appealed.

Several Sikh leaders including former CM and Congress leader Captain Amarinder Singh had appealed to the government for clemency.

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