|(Photo Courtesy: sikhphilosophy.net)|
The main accused in the assassination of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh would be hanged on March 31.
A sessions court in Chandigarh directed authorities of the Patiala Cental Jail, Punjab to execute Balwant Singh Rajoana on that date.
The jail authorities received the order yesterday.
The former chief minister was killed in a car bomb blast at the secretariat complex in the state capital Chandigarh on August 31, 1995.
Rajoana was arrested the same year for his involvement in the killing and was given death sentence by a special trial court in 2007.
Rajoana neither denied his involvement in the assassination nor appealed against his execution.
Beant was credited with wiping out entrenched militancy from the state, which was at its peak during the 1980’s and 1990’s, and suppressing voices that demanded Khalistan (a separate state for Sikhs carved out of Punjab).
The state government now fears the execution might revive the demand. Protests have already started in different parts of the state.
On Wednesday, protests were carried out at Mansa, Barnala, Sangrur and Lehragaga.
The protesters also raised pro-Khalistan slogans apart from demanding the converting Rajoana’s execution into life imprisonment.
The jail administration of the state is on tenterhooks, keeping in mind the sensitivity of hanging of Rajoana in Punjab.
India: Besides undergoing jail term, he has to pay a fine of rs 2.15 lakh.