After more than two years Punjab Police continues to drag feet to act against the rioters who caused colossal damage to public and private property in the various districts of the state to protest against the attack on the chief of Dera Sachkhand Ballan and his deputy in Vienna on May 24, 2009.
Though the police have registered 92 FIRs of arson and violence against unidentified persons and had even rounded up nearly 4,500 people for the aforesaid offences but all were let off on the directions of political bosses and the investigations are making no headway in these cases, disclosed a senior police officer.
Punjab DGP, Paramdeep Singh Gill when asked why the cops abdicated their duty and failed to act against the hooligans and the instigators of violence he said there was no such charge against the police
"We are still investigating the cases and will surely act against the guilty," claimed the DGP. But the DGP claimed that it was hard to identify the accused in the mob who indulged in violence.
Principal secretary home affairs and justice, DS Bains who has been asked by the Punjab & Haryana high court to monitor the progress in the case said he would not like to comment as the matter was still pending in the court. The case is coming up in the high court on July 11.
Jalandhar DSP, H S Khak admitted that though 20 FIRs were registered but no arrest has been made and even the police have not presented the challan in any case so far.
On the petition filed by General Samaj Manch of Phagwara, Acting Chief Justice of high court AK Goel had passed strictures against the Punjab government.
The petitioner had sought the directions to the state government to investigate the case and take appropriate action against the rioters. It was also prayed that the police officers who failed to perform their duties should also be prosecuted as per the law.
The bench had found that more than two years had passed after the incident and the state government was still investigating the case. Particularly SSP Jalandhar had failed to perform his duties and to comply with the orders of the high court, observed the bench on May 18.
In fact in consultation with the Punjab Advocate General office the police have decided to file an affidavit in the high court on July 11. In the affidavit the police would claim that they had to discharge the accused after realizing that they had picked up the wrong persons. In the affidavit the police would also make a claim that the violence occurred at the spur of the moment and they were not prepared for the massive scale of violence.
Sources in the Punjab Police disclosed that the political bosses have categorically told the senior officials to go slow on the cases keeping in view the state assembly polls scheduled for early next year.
For seven days the Punjab government had to impose curfew in six districts Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur, Nawanshahr, Mohali and Mukatsar where according to the home affairs and justice department the hooligans torched 175 and partially damaged nearly 70 government and private vehicles.
The rioters burnt bogies of a train, railway stations, recovery vans, dispensaries, ATM machines and municipal corporation offices in the aforesaid districts where the concentration of the dera supporters was sizeable.
Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal who also holds the home affairs and justice portfolio had promised to act against the perpetrators but failed to issue direction to the police in this regard. In fact the state government has failed to evoke the Punjab (Prevention of damage to Public & Private Property) Act, 2010, against anyone, which has been enacted on the directions of Sukhbir to check the mob violence.
The Punjab government has also not financially compensated the victims of the mob violence so far.