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Sikh community pained, anguished by Shah's statement on Rajoana: Sukhbir

Sikh community pained, anguished by Shah's statement on Rajoana: Sukhbir

Chandigarh, Dec 3 (UNI) Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal on Tuesday said the statement of Home Minister Amit Shah that Balwant Singh Rajoana's death sentence had not been commuted, caused pain and anguish to the Sikh community, which was under the impression that the death sentence had been commuted to life on the eve of the 550 Prakash Purb celebrations of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji.

In a statement here, Mr Badal said 'We all feel aggrieved today. We thought we had moved ahead, when news statements appeared last month quoting the Home ministry officials as saying that the death sentence of Rajoana had been commuted.

'However, today's assertion has shocked everyone. There is a feeling of hurt that justice has not been done to the Sikh community and the spirit of clemency, which was espoused on the occasion of the 550th Prakash Purb, has not been carried through,' he added.

He said the SAD stood for adopting a humanitarian approach in the case and had conveyed the same to the Union government through various representations.

'We feel this is a deserving case for clemency as Rajoana has spent more than 23 years in prison without parole. There is also the issue of the inflamed sentiments due to repression let loose by the erstwhile Congress government of Beant Singh, during whose regime, thousands of innocent Sikh youth were killed as part of a state-sponsored terror.

'Simultaneously, the SAD is against the death penalty as a matter of principle and has also represented to the Union government as well as the President on this issue,' he added.

Stating that the party would continue its fight to ensure reprieve to Rajoana, the SAD chief said a high level delegation would meet the Union Minister soon and apprise him about the sentiments of the Sikh community.

He said this was also the sentiment of Punjab Vidhan Sabha, which had passed a unanimous resolution in this regard, which had also been supported by Beant Singh's grandson Gurkirat Singh Kotli.

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