Fatehgarh Sahib: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Friday defended the state government's seeking clemency for death convict Balwant Singh Rajoana saying since the mercy plea of the other co-accused was pending in courts it was not at all justified to hang him till
the outcome of these appeals.

He told reporters here that the state government had taken this stand "keeping in view the sentiments of the people and in order to avoid any law and order problem".

Rajoana, a Babbar Khalsa terror group member, has been sentenced to death for killing former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in Chandigarh on August 31, 1995.

Earlier, addressing a gathering here, Badal appealed to the people to maintain peace, communal harmony and amity in the state and to thwart "anti-Punjab forces bent upon vitiating the congenial atmosphere" in the state.

The Chief Minister said that unfortunately the recent disturbances in the state have indicated that "anti Punjab forces" were again trying to raise their ugly head to disturb the hard-earned peace in the state.

Badal said though the state government was fully vigilant to crush the "nefarious designs" of such forces the people of the state also need to play a proactive role by extending support to the government at this juncture.

The Chief Minister said Punjab was land of Sikh Gurus who had always shown us the path of peace, communal harmony and amity so Punjabis should ensure that universal brotherhood and goodwill prevails in the state.

He also said Punjabis had witnessed a lot of bloodshed during the troublesome days of militancy due to which the overall growth of the state was retarded.

"People of Punjab have suffered during those dark days in the state. So, need of the hour is to maintain total peace and harmony in the state," added Badal.

Training his guns against the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre, the Chief Minister alleged the union government was running away from its duty by trying to hamper the development of the state by creating obstacles in the flow of funds.

He charged the union government was only returning 32 percent of the total revenue taxes collected from the state, thus reducing the states to mere beggars.

Demanding a fair distribution of the taxes between the Centre and the states, Badal said if the distribution of taxes was fair and impartial then only the states could prosper in right perspective.

(Agencies)