A month after two protesters were killed in police firing at Behbal Kalan village in Faridkot district, Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Tuesday visited families of victims Gurjeet Singh and Krishan Bhagwan Singh.
In a press release issued later in the day, Sukhbir announced government jobs for one member each of the two families, besides a community centre to be built at Sarawan village in memory of Gurjeet Singh.
Sukhbir said in his statement, “The accused in the Behbal Kalan incident would be punished and nobody would be spared. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) stands by the families of those killed. The incidents of sacrilege are very unfortunate. Mischievous persons behind the incidents would not be allowed to exploit the situation to disturb peace in the state.”
Sukhbir was scheduled to reach Sarawan village around noon, but his visit got delayed by more than four hours as about two dozen protesters were sitting outside Gurjeet’s house with black flags. The protesters were asked by Gurjeet’s family members to leave the spot so that the deputy CM could pay a visit. They reluctantly moved to a place near the house. Just before the deputy CM’s arrival, about a dozen protesters holding black flags were taken into custody.
“We are protesting against the incidents of sacrilege and the killing of Gurjeet Singh and Krishan Bhagwan Singh. The deputy chief minister’s visit has come too late to pacify us,” the protesters alleged.
Sukhbir spent about 15 minutes with Gurjeet’s family. The victim’s father, Sadhu Singh, told the media later: “Anyone is welcome to our house, but we will continue our efforts to seek justice. We have requested the deputy chief minister to arrest the accused in the firing incident. He has assured us that the inquiry would be completed in three months.”
Sadhu Singh said Sukhbir had promised them that a community hall would be built in Gurjeet’s memory at a cost of Rs 60 lakh, besides a government job for a member of the family.
The deputy CM also visited Krishan Bhagwan Singh’s family at Niamiwala village and gave Rs 1 lakh to Beant Singh, who was injured during the protests last month.
On Monday, four members of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) from the district had given Rs 10 lakh each as financial help to families of the victims.