Akal Takht chief opposes Rajoana's hanging

   Mar 28, 7:28 pm

Amritsar/Rupnagar, Mar.28 (ANI): Akal Takht chief Gurbachan Singh on Wednesday opposed the death sentence awarded to Balwant Singh Rajoana, a co-accused in the assassination of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh on August 31, 1995.

Rajoana is to be executed on March 31 at the Central Jail in Patiala.

Singh said that there was a need to make amendments in the existing laws where the convict is awarded a death sentence.

"It is beneficial for the law as well as the mankind to eliminate the shortcomings existing in the law because many such cases are in process in the court, where many culprits have surrendered themselves. If the law takes the decision of hanging Balwant Singh and later if there is a need to present him before the court, how will you present him? So, this would be showing disrespect to the law," said Singh.

Singh appealed to the government to hold off on Rajoana's death sentence.

"We appeal on behalf of the Sikh community that the decision of granting death sentence to Balwant Singh Rajoana should be put on hold, so that peace prevails in Punjab. After a long time, people are living peacefully in the state and everybody wants that law and order should be maintained," added Singh.

Markets and business establishments in Amritsar and Rupnagar city remained closed in the wake of Singh's call to Sikhs to protest against Rajoana's likely hanging.olice was deployed in large numbers to thwart any violence in the state.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Rupnagar, Harbir Singh Atwal, said security was stepped up to ensure that that the law and order situation remained under control.

"We are taking every precaution to keep the law and order situation under control. So, as per the directions of the Senior Superintendent of Police, we have deployed paramilitary force and state police. We have also put barricades in place and mobile patrolling is being undertaken. We will not let law and order situation go out of hand," said Atwal.

Beant Singh was assassinated in a car bomb on August 31, 1995 in Chandigarh. Eleven other persons, including three members of his security staff, were also killed in the incident.

Separatist group Babbar Khalsa had claimed responsibility for the assassination, but authorities expressed their apprehension over the claim.

Beant Singh was lauded for restoring peace in Punjab in 1992 after suppressing separatist groups and their activities. (ANI)

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