RS Bains to represent Punjab govt in courts over sacrilege violence
Human rights lawyer, senior advocate Rajwinder Singh Bains, has been named as special public prosecutor by the Punjab government to appear before trial courts and the Punjab & Haryana high court in the politically sensitive sacrilege violence cases of 2015, according to a government notification on Friday.
The move appears to be part of the steps being taken to assuage state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu by chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi because it effectively keeps the state’s advocate general, APS Deol, out of the sacrilege cases.
On September 27, Sidhu objected to the appointment of Deol because the senior advocate had in the past appeared for some of the accused in the matter, including former director general of police Sumedh Singh Saini. Sidhu cited Deol’s appointment as one of the reasons for his sudden decision to quit as Punjab Congress president on September 28, only to change his mind after a meeting with CM Channi on Thursday.
To be sure, Deol could not have represented the state in the matter in any case because of his previous appearances for some of the accused.
Bains, son of former Punjab and Haryana high court judge Ajit Singh Bains, is a well-known criminal and constitutional lawyer and has appeared in cases from across the political spectrum, including cases of human rights violation in Punjab’s terrorism days in the 1980s.
However, former SIT member and AAP leader Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh questioned the appointment. “Another big fraud with Punjab and Punjabis by Congress government. Appointment of Special Public Prosecutor in Kotkapura -Behbal Kalan cases is only an eyewash. The intention of the government is very clear, to continue with the present advocate general.”
In 2015, three incidents of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of Sikhs, were reported from Punjab’s Faridkot. Days later protesters broke out in Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan, where two people were killed in police firing. The incident is one of the issues driving the feud between former chief minister Amarinder Singh and Navjot Sidhu.