Follow Rahul Gandhi & forgive assassins, Sukhpal Khaira to Beant’s family; Bittu says no pardon

Ludhiana, March 13: Responding to Aam Aadmi Party leader and leader of opposition in Punjab assembly Sukhpal Singh Khaira’s appeal to former chief minister Beant Singh’s family to forgive his assassins on “humanitarian grounds and follow Congress president Rahul Gandhi, on Monday, Beant’s grandson, Ravneet Singh Bittu, who is also the Ludhiana MP, has said there was no question of pardoning the terrorists. “The two cases (Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination in 1991 and Beant Singh’s assassination in 1995) are poles apart,” Bittu added.

Khaira had made his statement after Congress president Rahul Gandhi said he and his sister Priyanka Gandhi had “completely forgiven” the killers of their father, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. “Now that @officeofRG (Rahul Gandhi) has forgiven the killers of his father Rajiv Gandhi, I urge the family of late Beant Singh to follow their leader and forgive his killers on humanitarian grounds,” he had posted in a tweet. Khaira, who addressed a press conference later, said Beant’s killing was not due to enmity, but was related to politico-religious issues of the time. “Legal proceedings against the killers should also be dropped,” he added.

“Jagtar Singh Hawara, Paramjit Singh Bheora, Balwant Singh Rajoana and Jagtar Singh Tara – all assassins of my grandfather Beant Singh — are hard-core criminals who have never regretted the crime they committed and are willing to commit more crimes, even if released. There is no question of granting them pardon,” Bittu added.

“Sixteen more lives were lost…I have no right to grant pardon. The killers should say that they will never indulge in such acts of terror again. They openly say that they will convert Punjab into Khalistan. Yes, if they give it in writing to the Akal Takht, to the President or even a court that they feel guilty and won’t commit the crime again, then we can think of pardoning them,” he added.

On August 31, 1995, Beant Singh and 16 others, most of them National Security Guard (NSG) commandoes, drivers and office staff were killed at the VIP portico of the high-security Punjab civil secretariat, when a suicide bomber, Dilawar Singh triggered a bomb as soon the CM got into his bullet-proof car.

In July 2007, a special Central Bureau of Investigation court in Chandigarh sentenced BKI terrorists Jagtar Singh Hawara and Balwant Singh to death. Except Balwant Singh, all the accused filed an appeal in the high court. The trial in the case was marred by the sensational escape from jail of three of the accused in 2004.

Source Hindustan Times