KOTKAPURA FIRING: SIT records statements of four Sikh preachers
The special investigation team (SIT), probing the sacrilege and police firing incidents, on Tuesday recorded the statements of the four Sikh preachers who were protesting against the desecration of Guru Granth Sahib at Kotkapura chowk on October 14, 2015, when police opened fire on them.
The SIT had summoned Sikh preacher Harjinder Singh Manjhi, Harjit Singh Dhapali, Harjinder Singh Wajidke and Gursewak Singh to appear at the Faridkot camp office. They had earlier recorded their statements before the Justice Ranjit Singh commission, set up by the Capt Amarinder Singh government in 2017 to probe the sacrilege and police firing incidents. Manjhi is one of the key preachers who led the protest against the then SAD-BJP government over sacrilege.
In their statements, the Sikh preachers said the police used force on peaceful protesters without issuing warning and also opened fire at them. But they didn’t identify any of the cops.
“We appeared before the SIT last year regarding a sacrilege case, but it is for the first time that we recorded our statements before the SIT in the Kotkapura police firing case. Instead of taking action against the cops who opened fire without any warning, a case was registered against protestors,” said Manjhi.
He said Sikh outfits will hold a protest outside the residence of Faridkot MLA Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon on March 22 to protest Congress government’s failure to take action against the people responsible for sacrilege incidents in the state.
Wajidke was named in the first information report (FIR) registered by then Kotkapura station house officer (SHO) Gurdeep Singh Pandher on October 14, 2015, after the firing incident.
The SIT had filed a 2,000-page chargesheet against six accused on May 27. Later two supplementary chargesheets were submitted in the court.
After the retirement of the district and sessions judge, Faridkot, two months back, the proceedings in Kotkapura police firing case have come to a standstill.
SIT had named suspended inspector general of police Paramraj Singh Umranangal, former senior superintendent of police (SSP) Charanjit Singh Sharma, former Akali MLA Mantar Singh Brar, then Ludhiana additional deputy commissioner Paramjit Singh Pannu, then Kotkapura deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Baljit Singh and then Kotkapura SHO Gurdeep Singh Pandher accused in the Kotkapura police firing case.
A case under Sections 307 (attempt to murder), 323 (causing hurt) and 341 (wrongful restraint) of the IPC along with sections of the Arms Act was registered against them on August 7, 2018. Later, SIT added more IPC sections, including 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence or giving false information), 218 (public servant framing incorrect record) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).