While two people were killed during the Behbal Kalan firing, one person suffered bullet injuries and several others were hurt in the lathi-charge by police at Kotkapura on October 14, 2015.
Former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has been indicted in a report filed by Justice Ranjit Singh (retired) on the 2015 Bargari Guru Granth Sahib sacrilege case and the subsequent firing in Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan. The report by the one-man commission, that was set up in April 2017 by the Congress government to investigate various incidents of sacrilege of the Guru Granth Sahib and other religious texts, was tabled in the Punjab Assembly on Monday.
The report mentions that Badal was well aware of the situation developing at Kotkapura and the proposed action by police. “It’s clear that Parkash Singh Badal wasn’t only in touch with district administration, but was in touch with the DGP as well. He was quite aware of the situation developing at Kotkapura and also about the proposed action by the police,” the report states.
Justice Ranjit Singh Commission report states, “It’s clear that Parkash Singh Badal wasn’t only in touch with district administration, but was in touch with DGP as well, & was quite aware of the situation developing at Kot Kapura & also about the proposed action by the police” pic.twitter.com/QXtYG7ODO1
— ANI (@ANI) August 27, 2018
On October 12, 2015, torn pages of the Guru Granth Sahib were found in Bargari village in Faridkot district. In the protests that followed, two Sikh men died in police firing in Behbal Kalan village on October 14, while one person suffered bullet injuries and several others were hurt in the lathi-charge by police at Kotkapura.
READ | Punjab assembly session: Congress plans to corner SAD over sacrilege incidents
The report further says, “Sufficient material is available with the commission that when the district administration was asked to speak to the then DGP, he had conveyed in no uncertain terms that they (district administration and the local MLA) should not bother much and that he will get the dharna site cleared within ten minutes.”
The report also mentions that the police had kept Badal in the loop while taking action to lift the dharna by Sikhs protesting against the sacrilege. The commission said that it had given the former CM the chance to explain his position, but he didn’t cooperate.
Rejecting the report, Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal called it a “waste paper” prepared at the “residence of chief minister Amarinder Singh”. “The report has no sanctity,” Badal said. The SAD has accused the Congress of defaming the Akalis by blaming them for the sacrilege incidents.
Last week, the Punjab Cabinet approved amendments to the Indian Penal Code to make sacrilege of all religious texts punishable with life imprisonment.
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