The family of late Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh will challenge in the Supreme Court the Centre's decision to commute Balwant Singh Rajoana's death sentence, the leader's grandson said on Tuesday. “We will challenge the Centre’s decision in Supreme court,” Punjab MLA and Beant Singh’s grandson Gurkirat Singh Kotli told PTI.
“We are taking legal opinion on what grounds it will be challenged. One of the main grounds for challenging the Centre’s decision will be that Rajoana himself had never apologised and had never moved any mercy petition for commuting his death sentence,” he said. The Centre has sparked a row with its decision to commute the death sentence awarded to the Babbar Khalsa terrorist for Beant’s assassination to life imprisonment. Earlier, Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu, who too is a grandson of the assassinated leader, had criticised the Centre's decision.
READ | Punjab CM asks MHA to explain decision on Beant Singh's assassin
On September 30, speaking to Republic TV, Gurkirat Singh Kotli had opposed the Home Ministry’s move. He said, “We are opposing the move. And it's not only us. There are others whose family members were killed. Even their stand is that the accused should not be given any reprieve. The convicts' conduct has not changed, they still believe in Khalistani.”
Kotli also alleged that the Centre took the decision as Rajoana had appealed for votes for the BJP and its ally Shiromani Akali Dal during the last Lok Sabha elections. He also added that “BJP wants to take hardliners for political gains, that would be equal to playing with fire. They have broken their alliance in Haryana with Akali Dal. Akali Dal has a double standard, they say they want peace in Punjab but on the other hand, they support people who believe Khalistan."
On August 31, 1995, Beant Singh under whose rule Khalistani terrorism came to an end, was killed in an explosion outside the Civil Secretariat in Chandigarh. Sixteen others also lost their lives in the terror attack in which Punjab police employee Dilawar Singh had acted as a human bomb. The Babbar Khalsa terrorist was the second human bomb in case the first one would have failed in killing the Congress leader. Balwant Singh Rajoana was convicted in the assassination of the former CM.
(With PTI inputs)