Now Punjab police to probe sacrilege cases, no CBI investigation
The announcement and the assurance came after the House unanimously passed a resolution, by voice vote, to withdraw CBI investigations into the cases and get the same probed by the SIT
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced today that a special investigation team (SIT) of the Punjab Police for the time-bound investigation into the Bargari and other sacrilege cases as well as the firing incidents of Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura.
Winding up the discussion on the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission report on sacrilege incidents on the last day of the Assembly session, he said his government would take immediate action as per the findings and recommendations of the SIT to ensure that justice is meted out to innocent victims. The announcement and the assurance came after the House unanimously passed a resolution, by voice vote, to withdraw CBI investigations into the cases and get the same probed by the SIT.
The resolution was moved by Rural Development Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa on chief minister's request, who took the decision after taking cognizance of the sentiment of the majority, including the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs. However, Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal said by handing over the sacrilege cases to the Punjab Police, the CM had admitted that he "failed" to "achieve his objectives" against them through the commission and would now "misuse" police.
The CBI is already probing three sacrilege cases including theft of a 'bir' (copy of Guru Granth Sahib) from Burj Jawahar Singh Wala village in Kotkapura. On July 30, the Congress government announced to hand over the probe into Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan firing that followed the Bargari sacrilege to the CBI. The chief minister said there was no question of going soft on Parkash Singh Badal, whom he blamed squarely for the damage caused to the state and its people with his grave acts of commission and omission.
He came down heavily on the SAD leaders, including Parkash Singh Badal, Sukhbir Badal, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Bikram Singh Majithia and others, for "failing" to even visit those injured in the police firing in Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura. The chief minister said the Congress had made an election promise to bring the truth of the Bargari sacrilege case and the subsequent firing incidents to the people of Punjab. He said he had decided to get the incident thoroughly probe when he visited the injured after the incidents. Amarinder Singh attacked Parkash Singh Badal calling him "coward and liar" and said Badal had lodged false cases against him, adding he was even turned out of the Assembly and had to be reinstated by the Supreme Court.
Referring to Operation Bluestar, he blamed Badal for the incident. "Whenever there was any scope of negotiation, Badal would sabotage the efforts," the CM said, adding that he would run away after promising the hardliners of his support. The CM also lashed out at Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia, saying nobody knew where he had come from and he clearly came from a family which completely "lacked character". Majithia, along with Badal and Sukhbir Badal, had come together to form a "dangerous coteries" working against the interests of the state and continuously trying to divide it, he alleged.
On the Bargari and Behbal Kalan incidents, Amarinder pointed out that DGP Sumedh Singh Saini, on the last day of his service, had given a statement that he had spoken to then CM Parkash Singh Badal before the firing incident. He wondered how the then CM could have been sleeping, as claimed by him, at such a grave time for the state. It was not done for a leader to blame his subordinates, said Amarinder, adding that Badal was obviously not a leader in the true sense of the word. Earlier participating in debate, Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal lashed out at Badals for indulging in "communal politics to polarise the society".
He accused them of sowing the seeds of communal divide in Punjab for the first time by conspiring to allow the 'Nirankari Samagam' on April 13, 1978, despite intelligence reports against holding it in Amritsar, which resulted in the death of 16 Sikhs protesting against the 'Samagam'. Punjab minister Sukhjinder Randhawa demanded that Parkash Singh Badal be stripped of the honour of 'Fakhr-e-Quom' bestowed by the Jathedar Sri Akal Takht Sahib as he had indulged in his "anti-Sikh and anti-panthic" activities, for which he actually deserves the title of 'Gaddar-e-Quom'- traitor of 'Panth'.
Leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema moved a resolution seeking apology by the Centre for failing to take any action against guilty in sacrilege cases, which was unanimously passed by the House. During the debate, the House also passed a privilege motion against the SGPC chief for rejecting the Ranjit Singh Commission report.
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