Patiala: Balwant Singh Rajoana, a convict on death row for the murder former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh, has announced an indefinite hunger strike in jail here to protest the alleged failure of the Centre to take a final decision on his mercy plea.
He has also accused the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and the Home Ministry of “betraying” him on the issue.
In a missive addressed to Khalsa Panth and released by his sister Kamadeep Kaur, Rajoana said his hunger strike will continue till a final decision is taken on his punishment.
Jail Superintendent Bhupinder Singh Virk confirmed the development and said a medical officer went to him for a routine check up but Rajoana refused.
Meals were served to him this morning at his cell in Batti Chakkian of the jail but he refused to take them, said Virk.
A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court awarded the death sentence to Rajoana in July 2007 along with another terrorist Jagtar Singh Hawara, in the assassination case.
Rajoana was scheduled to be hanged on March 31, 2012.
Punjab’s ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in 2012 had maintained that it would go to any extent to save Rajoana and asked the state government and the SGPC “to take all possible legal and other steps” to secure clemency for him.
In 2012, the SGPC had filed a clemency petition for him with the then President Pratibha Patil which is pending.
The former chief minister (1992-95), who was largely credited with wiping out terrorism from Punjab, was assassinated by Dilawar Singh, a human bomb, at the high security Punjab civil secretariat in Chandigarh on August 31, 1995.
While Hawara was the mastermind of the assassination, Rajoana was the second human bomb to be used in case the first assassin failed. Rajoana, during the trial, had admitted that he alone was responsible for the killing.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court had October 2010 upheld the death sentence for Rajoana, but changed the capital punishment given to Hawara to life imprisonment.
Rajoana had refused to challenge the death sentence awarded to him. PTI
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