No compromise with terrorism: Punjab BJP on Rajoana

Breaking its silence on the impending death sentence to Babbar Khalsa terrorist Balwant Singh Rajaona, the Punjab BJP on TUesday said there should be no "compromise" with terrorism.

Speaking to The Indian Express, party national vice president and in-charge of Punjab affairs, Shanta Kumar, said BJP's stand on terrorism was clear. "There should not be any compromise with terror and law should take its own course in such cases," he added. Asked about its ally SAD having pleaded for pardon for the terrorist with the Centre, Kumar said: "There should be no attempt to interfere with the process of law."

Rajoana is facing death for planning the assassination of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh. His mercy petition filed by SGPC is pending with President Pranab Mukherjee. The BJP's stand has brought the differences between the BJP and the SAD on the issue again to the fore. Senior SAD leader Prem Singh Chandumajra had already stated that the Akalis were against Rajoana's death sentence. "As a party, we are opposed to death penalty. For SAD, it is a matter of principle that no one should be hanged for a crime. We believe that it is for God to give life and take life," he said.

With BJP leaders clearly stating they were against any softness towards terrorists, the SAD leadership is now faced with a piquant situation. Backed by SAD, the SGPC had filed a clemency appeal before the President for Rajoana in March 2012 and the state BJP had maintained a stoic silence over the move. However, the then state BJP president Ashwani Kumar and Health Minister Madan Mohan Mittal had made it clear that no terrorist should be spared.

"In case of Rajoana, the party is clear that it did the right thing in appealing for his pardon. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had met the Prime Minister and later the Union Home Minister last year over the issue. In case, it is needed, we will meet them again," said Chandumajra.

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