Who is Balwant Singh Rajoana?

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Balwant Singh Rajoana is a Sikh convicted for the assassination of Punjab CM Beant Singh on August 31, 1995. Rajoana was sentenced to death by a special court in India. Beant Singh was killed by Balwant Singh's associate Dilawar Singh Babbar; Balwant Singh was the backup human bomb to be used had Dilawar failed in his mission.


Balwant Singh was born in Rajoana village in Raikot (District Ludhiana) of Punjab into a traditional Sikh family. In 1986, he joined the Punjab Police. According to his elder brother Kulwant Singh, Balwant was a pacifist and was opposed to any kind of violence. As a child, he was fond of reading ghazals, novels and poetry. The works of Surjit Paatar and Jaswant Singh Kanwal played an important role in shaping his ideology.


Assassination of Beant Singh


In Punjab between 1992 and 1995, at a time when the Khalistan separatist movement was active in the state and the Indian government was aggressively seeking to control the movement. Congress formed the government with Beant Singh as Chief Minister in 1992 even though most of the Punjab population boycotted the elections and he was elected on less than 10% of votes polled. During this time Director General of Police expanded upon a system of rewards and incentives for police to capture and kill militants leading to a dramatic increase in disappearances and extrajudicial executions. Although all Sikhs were vulnerable to disappearance and killing, police especially targeted Amritdharis (Singhs/baptized Sikhs of the Khalsa), those who were politically active with the Akali Dal parties, and families and friends of alleged militants.

Balwant Singh Rajoana was a constable and a close friend of Dilawar Singh Babbar, another serving police officer in the Punjab Police who blew himslef up to assissinate the Chief Minister. Rajoana was the second human bomb to be used in case if Dilawar had failed in his mission. Dilawar Singh and Balwant Singh flipped a coin for deciding who would become the human bomb for eliminating the then Chief Minister. Dilawar Singh Babbar won the fatal toss and agreed to lose his life. But before triggering off the blast, he asked Balwant Singh to confess his hand, which he did on 25 December 1997.


Conviction and death sentence


Balwant Singh had “openly confessed” an involvement and strongly expressed no faith in Indian judiciary. He refused to defend himself accusing Indian courts of applying dual standards of law and the Indian judicial system of shielding the culprits of 1984 anti-Sikh riots.[citation needed] ”Asking for mercy from them (Indian courts) is not even in my distant dreams” Rajoana said in a open letter to Media.
Balwant Singh writes, "thousands of Sikhs were massacred. It is submitted that these murderers have neither been punished nor been punished by any Court of law of the country even after 25 years. How the security can be assured without the law when everybody knows the killers".In a letter to the Chief Justice of the High Court, he writes, "legal system, judicial system of this Country and the rulers of this Country have been discriminating" [and that] "slavery of such system is not acceptable to me". In embracing 17 years of imprisonment including solitary confinement and ultimate execution, Balwant Singh is making a political statement.In a statement to the District and Sessions Judge, Patiala,Balwant Singh writes "conscience of a person have self respect refuses to accept the authority of callous rulers. Such feels instigate a person for becoming human bomb rather than to become a human being.


Rajoana was sentenced to death by a special court and his execution scheduled for 31 March 2012. In his will, Balwant Singh said that his wish was to donate his eyes to Lakhwinder Singh (Ragi at Golden Temple Amritsar) and his kidneys, heart or any other body part to needy patients. On March 28, 2012 India's Home Ministry stayed the execution following clemency appeals filed by the government of Punjab and protests in Punjab and by Sikh communities world wide.
On stay of his execution, Balwant singh said, I have dedicated my life to the Panth and have no regrets. So the stay doesn't make any difference to me". He also added, "This is a victory of real Khalsa Panth after every member of the Sikh Nation rose to the occasion and successfully conveyed the strength of the Khalsa religion. I am ready to be hanged at any time and will live till the God permits me. My happiness over the stay shouldn't be considered as my weakness. I am happy because Sikh religion has shackled the walls of Delhi government, not because my hanging has been postponed."

Awards
On 23 March 2012, he was awarded the title of "Living Martyr" by Akal Takhat, the highest temporal seat of the Khalsa. Rajoana initially refused to accept the title, but later on 27 March, he accepted the award, saying that it will make him "more determined" towards his goals. Dilawar Singh Babbar was also awarded the title of "National Martyr" in the same order from Akal Takhat.

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