Seeking clemency for Khalistani terrorist Devenderpal Singh Bhullar, Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal on Monday approached Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to find a way out to stop the execution as he apprehended it would affect peace and harmony in the state.
"We asked the prime minister to find out a way so that he (Bhullar) can be granted clemency," the Punjab chief minister told mediapersons after the meeting.
Citing law and order situation in Punjab, Badal said, "I have the experience of how much the country has lost due to incorrect decisions. In the interest of the state, in the interest of the country, we are asking to stop it," he said referring to the impending execution of Bhullar.
The memorandum submitted by Badal and his deputy Sukhbir Singh Badal to the prime minister on behalf of Shiromani Akali Dal said, "The process must be started for finding ways to ensure that the ends of justice do not clash with the long term interests of the nation...In the overall national interest and in the interest of peace and communal harmony in the country in general and in Punjab in particular, the death penalty in this case may be commuted into life imprisonment."
The memorandum said in matters relating to death penalty, "There is legal and constitutional requirement for putting the case beyond all reasonable doubt. This was clearly not done in the case of Bhullar."
Sources in the Prime Minister's Office said the government was studying the representation to the prime minister on Bhullar issue. The two also separately met Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde.
Rejecting suggestions that commuting Bhullar's death sentence will send a 'wrong' message, senior Badal said the state needs peace and harmony the most.
"See, you do not understand. What we need most is peace and harmony. If it affects peace and harmony, it will become an emotive issue. We are warning the government that people are emotional. Moreover, he is in a poor health condition... what will they gain by hanging him," the chief minister said.
The SAD veteran claimed if the Centre or a state government commits even a small mistake, it has to "pay the price".
Badal also cited the split Supreme Court judgement which confirmed death penalty for Bhullar and said even Germany, from where Bhullar was extradited, had opposed death sentence.
The deputy CM said the chief minister has taken up the issue with the prime minister and the home minister for the sake of peace and communal harmony in Punjab.
"So, we have to look into the larger interest of thestate," he said. Sukhbir said they have conveyed to the home minister that since Bhullar was mentally sick, he should not be hanged.
He said Shinde assured them that the issue will be examined. The Supreme Court had last week dismissed death row convict Bhullar's plea for commutation of his death sentence.
The apex court had reserved its order on April 19 last year on the plea of Bhullar's family which had filed a petition on his behalf pleading that his capital punishment be commuted to life as there has been "inordinate" delay in deciding his mercy plea and he is not mentally sound.