Chandigarh, December 3: The Shiromani Akali Dal on Tuesday termed as “very unfortunate” the statement of Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Parliament that no pardon has been given to Balwant Singh Rajoana, who was convicted for the assassination of then Punjab chief minister Beant Singh in 1995.
SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said a party delegation will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah and take up the matter with them. The SAD is an ally of the BJP at the Centre.
“I want to say on my party’s behalf that it is very unfortunate. Because earlier reports came in—that the media had highlighted—that the government of India had decided to give pardon to him (Rajoana) on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary celebrations (of Guru Nanak Dev),” he told reporters here.
The Home Minister on Tuesday told the Lok Sabha that no pardon has been given to Rajoana.
He was replying to Congress member from Punjab Ravneet Singh Bittu, who had sought a response from Shah on why Rajoana was pardoned, during the Question Hour.
Bittu is the grandson of Beant Singh.
Asking Bittu not to go by media reports, Shah said, “koi maafi ki nahi gayi (no pardon has been given)”.
In September, the Union Home Ministry officials had announced the central government’s decision to commute the death sentence of Rajoana to life imprisonment.
The decision was taken as a “humanitarian gesture” on the occasion of 550th birth celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev, the officials had said.
Badal said Rajoana has been in jail for 30 years without parole, which is an “injustice”.
“A delegation of our party will meet the PM and the Home Minister,” he said.
Badal is an MP from Ferozepur parliamentary seat in Punjab.
Rajoana, a former Punjab Police constable, was convicted for his involvement in an explosion outside the Punjab civil secretariat that killed Beant Singh and 16 others in 1995.
After media reports emerged in September that Rajoana’s death sentence would be commuted, his sister Kamaldeep Kaur had then said the decision would “heal wounds” of the Sikh community. —PTI