Balwant Singh Rajoana is the prime accused and convicted for the assassination of Beant Singh (former Chief Minister of Punjab) on 31 August 1995. Rajoana was sentenced to death on 1 August 2007 by a special CBI court in Chandigarh.. 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.
Balwant Singh was born in Rajoana Kalan village near Raikot in Ludhiana district of Punjab in a Jatt Sikh family on 23 August 1967. He joined the Punjab Police. According to his elder brother Kulwant Singh, Balwant was a pacifist and was opposed to any kind of violence. 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
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. 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, and, on 25 December 1997, Rajoana confessed his involvement.
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. Dilawar Singh Babbar was also awarded the title of “National Martyr” in the same order from Akal Takhat .