The opposition Congress has called upon the SAD-BJP government to “streamline the Punjab police and restore its chain of command” for it to work in an effective manner and win over the trust of the public.
“Over the last nine years there has been a complete breakdown of the chain of command in the state police force, as a result the cops looked helpless when the current turmoil broke out in Punjab following the incidents of sacrilege of the Guru Granth Sahib at different places in the state,” Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Partap Singh Bajwa stated in Amritsar on Friday while talking to the media.
Bajwa alongwith a number of Congressmen including his wife and MLA Charanjit Kaur Bajwa, Ludhiana MLA Rakesh Pandey, the urban and rural presidents of his part for Amritsar district, Rajesh Bhagat and Gurjeet Singh Aujla respectively and number of others paid obeisance at the Golden Temple and prayed for the return of peace and harmony in the state. He also participated in the ‘bhog’ ceremony of the ‘akhand paath’ that took place at the Akal Takht complex. in the morning. The ceremony was organised by the PPCC for the restoration of peace in Punjab.
Later, outside the shrine, Bajwa told mediapersons that the law and order machinery in Punjab had suffered a breakdown, mainly due to political interference. The chain of command collapsed at the ‘thana’ (police station) level, the district headquarter level and even at the top level in Chandigarh.
“Jathedars and the so called ‘halqa’ incharges were dictating orders to police officials leading to total chaos. Innocents were being framed in false cases as a result the state police force lost all its respect and its credibility hit an all time low”, he observed while making a reference to certain cases.
Elaborating further, he added, “ The image of the cops took a further beating after the sacrilege incident at Bargari. Under pressure from their political bosses, they framed two brothers in this case leading to a public outcry. Had the cops acted on their own and conducted their own investigation, they would not have come under any criticism”.
Bajwa welcomed the appointment of Suresh Arora as Director General of Police (DGP) saying, “This was long over due”. He advised the new DGP that besides bringing normalcy in Punjab, he must restore the honor and credibility of the force under his command.
Advise to CM
Bajwa advised Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal to make all efforts to apprehend those who may have been behind the sacrilege incidents in Punjab. He must restore the credibility of his government, he added.
‘Do not frame innocent persons as you did in the Bargari sacrilege case. The entire move backfired on your government and your credibility took another hit”, he added.
He also advised the CM to review his own personal security as well as of his deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal and even of others.
“Whom are you or your son afraid of? Why do you not cut down on your own security manpower and that of your son and daughter-in-law and union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal? Let the people come forward to meet you and address their problems”, he added.
Bajwa also called for scaling down the personal security of all VIPs in Punjab including himself using this manpower elsewhere, for maintaining general law and order.
Refusing to answer any political questions, Bajwa said that his party president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi were also concerned about the happenings in Punjab and wanted peace and normalcy to return.