H S Bawa
Jalandhar March 23-
Lauding the services of Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana and Bhai Dilawar Singh Jai Singh Wala for Sikh Panth, Akal Takht, the supreme temporal authority of Sikhs has declared Bhai Rajoana ‘Zinda Shaheed’ while Dilawar Singh has been conferred upon the title of ‘Panth da Shaheed’.
In addition, Akal Takht today issued a ‘Adesh’ (directive) to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and Avtar Singh Makkar, the president of the SGPC asking them to approach President Pratibha Devi Singh Patil to get the hanging of Balwant Singh Rajoana stayed. Rajoana is a convict in the case of assassination of former Punjab CM Beant Singh. He is presently lodged in the Central Jail at Patiala and had been served with death warrants which mean that he is due to be hanged at 9.00 am on 31st of the March.
The CM and the Deputy CM have been asked to do everything possible to get the death sentence of Bhai Rajoana converted into life imprisonment.
The Badals have been given this task as Rajoana had clearly told the Sikh Clergy that he is not ready to bow before any authority or beg for mercy. He had made it clear, a number of times that neither he will go in for an appeal or a petition nor permit his family members to do so.
The Sikh clergy has also asked the Sikhs World over to show their protest against this injustice and solidarity with Bhai Rajoana by hoisting Kesri Flags on their houses or buildings and wear Kesri Turbans and Dupattas on 28th of March.
The ‘Adesh’ was issued after a meeting of the Jathedars of five Takhts at Akal Takht, here today. Those who attended included Singh Sahib Giani Gurbachan Singh – the Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Balwant Singh Nandgarh – the Jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib Talwandi Sabo, Giani Iqbal Singh – Jathedar of Takht Patna Sahib and Giani Partap Singh, Head Granthi of Takht Sachkhand Shri Hazur Sahib, Nanded.
Lawyers for Human Rights International (LFHRI) representative, Human Rights activist and Senior Lawyer Navkiran Singh was present at the meeting held at Akal Takht. He was specially called in to give legal opinion on the issues to be discussed in the meeting.
Prior to the meeting the Akal Takht Secretariat accepted written suggestions from various Sikh groups. These suggestions were taken into consideration during the meeting and after deliberating on the issue for about three hours it was decided to issue a ‘Adesh’ to the Chief Minister.
Reportedly about 250 Sikh Organisations handed over their suggestions. These included Gurmat Siddhant Parcharak Sant Samaj led by Baba Harnam Singh Khalsa, SAD Amritsar President Simranjit Singh Mann, Akali Dal Panch Pardhani president Bhai Daljit Singh Bittu, Baba Baljit Singh Daduwal, Kanwar Pal Singh of Dal Khalsa, Karnail Singh Peermohammad of All India Sikh Students Federation.
Akal Takht had initially decided to hold a meeting today at Teja Singh Samundri Hall but as an afterthought and to save the situation from going out of hands, it was decided not to hold a meeting but accept written suggestions and then discuss the issue at the highest level.
It may be recalled here that Rajoana himself had issued a statement saying that he should not be asked to file a mercy petition or appeal before any authority as it would amount to bowing before the killers of Sikhs and those who have not been able to deliver justice to the Sikhs. He had created a stir by asking Akal Takht not to commit a blunder by asking him to file a mercy petition as it will
It may be not out of place to mention here that Bhai Rajoana had requested Giani Gurbachan Singh, the Jathedar of Akal Takht to confer the title of 'Panth da Shaheed' upon Bhai Dilawar Singh when he met him last in Patiala Central Jail.
Raising their voice against the concept of Capital Punishment Jathedars said that it is inhuman and should be done away with. They said that most the countries of the world have deone away with capital punishment and India should also follow suit.