Today I received a letter from Grant Shapps MP (Minister of State for Housing and Local Government) in response to a letter I sent him and his colleagues in the government concerning the Balwant Singh Rajoana human rights case. The full text of the reply is provided below:
Dear Mr Singh,
Grant has asked me to thank you for contacting him about Balwant Singh Rajoana and for me to reply on his behalf.
Grant appreciates your pressing concerns with Mr Rajoana’s case. The Government is fully aware of this issue.
Foreign Office Minister Lord Howell has stated: “It is the longstanding policy of successive Governments to oppose the death penalty, in all circumstances, as a matter of principle. We are deeply concerned by reports that India intends to execute Mr Balwant Singh Rajoana, thereby ending India’s seven year de facto moratorium on the death penalty. However, we understand there are some questions over whether or not the execution will take place on the date set by the court. We are therefore following developments closely.”
Grant is aware that, as the Minister’s remarks illustrate, that the Government has also consistently and regularly made clear to the Indian Government its opposition to the death penalty – both bilaterally and through the European Union. Furthermore, it has pledged to continue to press for its universal abolition.
Grant welcomes the recent reports that a stay of execution has been granted, and also the efforts to press for universal abolition. Grant would like to assure you that he will continue to monitor developments closely.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact Grant.
With kind regards
Office of the Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP