Chandigarh: Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday directed the state police to withdraw all cases registered against people protesting the alleged sacrilege of the Sikh holy book Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji during the last one week.
"The sentiments expressed by the protesters were the result of extreme provocation and the state was with them in this hour of grief," he said. "My sentiments have also been deeply outraged by the desecration and I can understand the actions of the people", he said.
The Deputy CM, who also holds the Home portfolio, said he had directed Punjab police to withdraw all cases registered against protesters at both Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan, both in Faridkot district, as well as anywhere else in the state.
"My conscience does not allow me to spoil the future any youngster who has reacted in a charged manner after hearing of the desecration of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji", he said. Badal also appealed to Punjabis to maintain peace and communal harmony at all costs.
"There are some forces who would like to disturb the peace in Punjab. We must not let such people succeed in their nefarious designs," he said. He also assured the people that the Punjab government was with them in their hour of grief and was taking steps to arrest the culprits responsible for this "ghastly crime" immediately.
Early this week, clashes had taken place at Butter Kana village in Moga district, Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan in Faridkot district between activists of Sikh organisations and police which left two dead and at least 75 injured.
Police have booked close to 500 people under various sections of the IPC in connection with the clashes.