Monday, 19 March 2012

Punjab not keen on hanging Beant killer. (Article from DNA India)

Punjab not keen on hanging Beant killer
Published: Monday, Mar 19, 2012, 8:18 IST 
 Ajay Bharadwaj | Place: Chandigarh | Agency: DNA

The hanging of Balwant Singh, convicted for the assassination of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh, lodged in the central jail in Patiala, has sparked controversy.
A Chandigarh court had pronounced the death by hanging for the convict last week here, following which Punjab and the Chandigarh administration have been locked in a tug-of-war.
The Punjab prison department has expressed its reservation on executing the court order, saying that it did not have any hangman for the purpose, and moreover since the crime took place in Chandigarh, it had no legal obligation to execute the punishment in Punjab.
Punjab has also taken exception to the court order saying that it had no such understanding with the Chandigarh administration. Meanwhile, many radical Sikh organisations have been up in arms in Punjab against the court verdict.
The last hanging in Punjab was carried out on June 16, 1989 by hangman Kaloo, who was specially summoned from the Tihar Jail in Delhi.
DGP (Jails) Shashi Kant said the Punjab home department was exploring legal options as to how “the execution orders by a Chandigarh court pertaining to the hanging of Balwant Singh Rajoana could be sent back without being executed.”
Another dimension to it has been Punjab’s reluctance to rattle the Sikh radical feathers, for it comes as a setback for the newly formed Akali Dal-BJP government.
The DGP visited the high security Patiala jail to assess the situation on Sunday and held a closed-door meeting with the jail officials.
The DGPcited a 1983 agreement between Chandigarh and Punjab, wherein it was stated that the condemned prisoners could be kept in the Central Jail, Patiala, in lieu of daily lodging and boarding charges.
“However there is no provision that such prisoners would be hanged in the Central Jail, Patiala,” they said.