Akal Takht asks Balwant Rajoana to end hunger strike, forms committee to take up issue with Centre : The Tribune India

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Akal Takht asks Balwant Rajoana to end hunger strike, forms committee to take up issue with Centre

Appeal came day after Rajoana went on strike inside Patiala Central Jail to press SGPC to withdraw petition filed with the President

Akal Takht asks Balwant Rajoana to end hunger strike, forms committee to take up issue with Centre

Balwant Singh Rajoana. File photo



PTI

Chandigarh, December 6

The Akal Takht on Wednesday asked Balwant Singh Rajoana, a death row convict in the 1995 former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh assassination case, to end his hunger strike to seek withdrawal of his mercy petition filed by the SGPC.

The appeal by it came a day after Balwant Rajoana went on the strike inside the Patiala Central Jail to press the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to withdraw the petition filed with the President in 2012.

On Sunday, SGPC president Harjinder Singh Dhami had said the SGPC had filed the petition keeping “Panthic” sentiments in mind and it is not in the interest of the community to withdraw it.

The Akal Takht also formed a five-member panel led by Dhami to take up with the Centre the implementation of a notification issued on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev to commute Balwant Rajoana's death sentence and release Sikh prisoners, many of whom were arrested in connection with terror and separatist activities in Punjab.

The other members of the panel are Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) president Harmeet Singh Kalka, Punjabi newspaper editor Barjinder Singh Hamdard, Rajoana's sister Kamaldeep Kaur Rajoana and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Virsa Singh Valtoha.

The Akal Takht also said if the Centre does not commute the death sentence by December 31 this year, then the SGPC should review its decision of not withdrawing his mercy petition while considering that many letters were sent by Balwant Rajoana to it, according to a statement.

“If the central government does not take a sincere decision in the given time, only it will be responsible for the situation arising thereafter,” read the statement of the Akal Takht.

These decisions were taken in an emergency meeting of the Panj Singh Sahiban (five Sikh clergymen) in Amritsar and it was headed by Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Raghbir Singh.

Takht Damdama Sahib Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh, Takht Kesgarh Sahib Jathedar Giani Sultan Singh, Takht Patna Sahib additional head granthi Giani Gurdial Singh and Darbar Sahib granthi Giani Baljit Singh also attended the meeting.

The SGPC had earlier asked Rajoana not to go on hunger strike. It has been seeking the release of several Sikh prisoners, including Rajoana and Devinderpal Singh Bhullar, a 1993 Delhi bomb blast convict.

#Akal Takht #Balwant Singh Rajoana #SGPC #Sikhs


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