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Balwant Singh Rajoana

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Balwant Singh Rajoana
Born (1967-08-23) 23 August 1967 (age 56)[citation needed]
OccupationFormer Police constable
Known forParticipation in the conspiracy to kill Beant Singh

Balwant Singh Rajoana was convicted for the assassination of Beant Singh (former Chief Minister of Punjab) on 31 August 1995.[1][2] Rajoana was sentenced to death on 1 August 2007 by a special CBI court in Chandigarh.[3][4] Beant Singh was killed by Balwant Singh's associate Dilawar Singh Babbar and Balwant Singh was the backup human bomb to be used had Dilawar failed in his mission.[5]

Although Rajoana was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to death for his involvement in the assassination, his execution has been stayed multiple times due to various legal proceedings and appeals.

Early years[edit]

Balwant Singh Rajoana was born in Rajoana Kalan village near Raikot in Ludhiana district of Punjab in a Sikh family on 23 August 1967. 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.[6]

Assassination of Beant Singh[edit]

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. It is alleged that, during Beant Singh's tenure, upwards of twenty-five thousand of Sikh civilians disappeared or were killed and their bodies cremated by the police in extrajudicial executions.[7] Rajoana, who was a police constable at that time, conspired with Dilawar Singh Jaisinghvala, a police officer, to kill Beant Singh. Based on a coin toss, Dilawar Singh Jaisinghvala was chosen to be the suicide bomber with Rajoana as a backup. The attack on 31 August 1995 resulted in the death of Beant Singh and 17 others,[8] and, on 25 December 1997, Rajoana confessed his involvement.[9]

Conviction and death sentence[edit]

Balwant Singh had "openly confessed" an involvement and strongly expressed no faith in Indian judiciary. He refused to defend himself and refused to take a lawyer. He accused Indian courts of applying dual standards of law and the Indian judicial system of shielding the culprits of 1984 anti-Sikh riots.[10] "Asking for mercy from them (Indian courts) is not even in my distant dreams" Rajoana said in an open letter to Media.

Explaining his actions, Balwant Singh referred to the deadly anti-Sikh genocide which followed the assassination of Indira Gandhi and talked about how the perpetrators of the riots had not been brought to justice even after 25 years. In a letter to the Chief Justice of the High Court, he complained about discrimination at the hands of the country's judicial system and the rulers.[11] Rajoana defended his actions citing the 1984 Operation Blue Star offensive at the Golden Temple and the killing of Sikhs during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.[10]

Rajoana was sentenced to death by a special CBI court and his execution was scheduled for 31 March 2012.[12] 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 28 March 2012 India's Home Ministry stayed the execution following clemency appeals filed by the SGPC, a Sikh organization.[8]

On stay of his execution, Balwant singh Rajoana said, "I have dedicated my life to the Panth (referred to Khalsa and meaning the Sikh Community) and have no regrets. So the stay doesn't make any difference to me".[13] He also added, "This is a victory of real Khalsa Panth after every member of the Sikh Community 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 as long as God has decided for me. My happiness over the stay shouldn't be considered as my weakness. I am happy because Sikh Community has shocked the walls of the Delhi government, not because my hanging has been postponed."[14] Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Tuesday said in Lok Sabha that death sentence of Balwant Singh Rajoana, a convict in the assassination case of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh, has not been commuted. "The sentence has not been commuted," he told the Parliamentarians in the Lower House today. Shah also urged the fellow members to not to go by media reports which have stated that the ministry has recommended commuting the death sentence of Rajoana and the communication had been sent to Punjab government and Chandigarh administration. Shah made the remarks after the matter was raised by the Congress members and the grandson of late Beant Singh, Ravneet Singh Bittu during the question hour in the lower house. Bittu said that the members on Monday had demanded death sentence for those convicted in heinous cases against women but Rajoana's death sentence was sought to be commuted. He also sought a response from the Home Minister. (ANI) .[15]


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 title, saying that it will make him "more determined" towards his goals.[12][16] Dilawar Singh Babbar was also awarded the title of "National Martyr" in the same order from Akal Takhat.


  1. ^ "Here, Balwant Singh Rajoana is still a hero". Rediff. 11 April 2012. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  2. ^ "Rajoana rushed to Rajindra Hospital following complaints of back pain". 3 July 2015. Archived from the original on 16 August 2015.
  3. ^ "Beant Singh killing: Balwant Singh Rajoana's hanging stayed". IBNLive. 28 March 2012. Archived from the original on 12 February 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  4. ^ Chaudhry, Yug Mohit (29 March 2012). "Why Balwant Singh Rajoana shouldn't be hanged". The Hindu.
  5. ^ "Punjab on edge over hanging of Beant Singh's killer Balwant Singh Rajoana". India Today. 28 March 2012. Archived from the original on 29 March 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2012.
  6. ^ Amrita Chaudhry (29 March 2012). "Beant killer, a fan of Punjabi literature". Indian Express. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  7. ^ Romesh, Silva; Marwaha, Jasmine; Klingner, Jeff (2009), Violent Deaths and Enforced Disappearances During the Counterinsurgency in Punjab, India: A Preliminary Quantitative Analysis (PDF), archived from the original (PDF) on 17 July 2011, retrieved 14 August 2012
  8. ^ a b "India puts Sikh radical Rajoana's execution on hold". BBC News. 28 March 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  9. ^ Saurabh Malik (19 March 2012). "Promises to keep". The Tribune. Chandigarh. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  10. ^ a b "Why Balwant Singh Rajoana shouldn't be hanged". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 29 March 2012.
  11. ^ Why Balwant Singh Rajoana never appealed against his death sentence
  12. ^ a b "Will Balwant Singh Rajoana be hanged on Saturday? 10 big developments". NDTV. 28 March 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  13. ^ "Stay makes Rajoana neither unhappy, nor sad". The Times of India. 30 March 2012. Archived from the original on 21 July 2012.
  14. ^ "It's victory of panth: Rajoana". Hindustan Times. 30 March 2012. Archived from the original on 1 April 2012. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
  15. ^ "'Backup bomber' and his sympathizers | Toronto Sun". 3 April 2012.
  16. ^ Aman Sood (28 March 2012). "Finally, Rajoana agrees for 'Zinda Shaheed' title". The Tribune. Retrieved 29 March 2012.