Balwant Singh Rajoana ends hunger strike 

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Patiala:  As per media reports Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana, facing death sentence in the then Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh assassination case, ended his hunger strike in the Patiala central jail following a meeting with the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) president Gobind Singh Longowal on Friday evening.

Rajoana, who has been on hunger strike since Monday, had recently written to the Patiala jail superintendent that the SGPC had moved a mercy petition seeking commutation of his death penalty into life imprisonment in 2012 before the then President Pratibha Patil without taking his consent.

He had reportedly accused the SPGC of failing to pursue his mercy petition. He had claimed that until the SGPC does not withdraw the mercy petition — if they do not get any results — or the Union home ministry does not decide on it he would remain on hunger strike.

After his meeting with Longowal, Rajoana took fruit juice in the presence of his relative Kamaldeep Kaur.

Longowal, along with Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MPs, had met Union Home minister Rajnath Singh on July 18, and urged him to ensure early decision on the mercy petition filed by SGPC for the commutation of Rajoana’s death sentence.

Longowal reportedly briefed Rajoana about their talks with the Union home minister. He said the mercy petition has reached the Union home ministry and Rajnath has directed the officials to take a decision at the earliest.

The SSGPC chief said that he is hopeful that the President will commute the death sentence given to Rajoana into life sentence.

“After the assurance of the SGPC president and the Akali Dal leadership, Rajoana has shown faith in their words and decided to end the hunger strike,” said Kamaldeep, while adding that now the onus of the early decision on the mercy petition lies with the SGPC and the SAD.

Its pertinent to note that Rajoana is facing the gallows in the murder case of the former chief minister Beant Singh. In March 2012, when his death warrants were issued, the SGPC had filed a mercy petition with the President.

Rajoana at that time had refused to file a mercy petition. However, now he wants the SGPC to either withdraw its petition or get results on it with the intervention of the Centre, which has to advise the President in the matter.

 

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