Lok Sabha elections 2019: Amarinder Singh declares memorial for protestors, Rahul vows action against guilty
Chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday said the Punjab government will build a memorial at Bargari village in the memory of the two protesters who were killed in police firing at Behbal Kalan in 2015.
Amarinder announced this during a rally at the village in the presence of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who vowed to punish those guilty of sacrilege.
Bargari was the epicentre of desecration of Guru Granth Sahib soon after the Akal Takht’s pardon to Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh for allegedly imitating Guru Gobind Singh.
This snowballed into major protests by Sikhs across the state, leading to police firing at Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura.
The CM said the memorial will be a befitting tribute to the peaceful protesters against whom atrocities were committed by the then Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) government.
“A committee comprising local panchayat members and other prominent people from the area will give suggestions on the kind of memorial they want at the village. Innocent persons, who were reciting religious prayers, were targeted ruthlessly by the police early morning that day (October 14, 2015),” he said.
He said the then CM Parkash Singh Badal cannot escape the responsibility of owning what happened at Bargari and Behbal Kalan. “When the holy book was violated, the Akali leadership at the helm in Punjab overlooked people’s religious sentiments. Religious texts from other faiths were also damaged and it was a deliberate conspiracy hatched by the Akalis to polarise the Sikh voters in the last elections,” he added.
Addressing the gathering, Rahul said, “I recall coming here (in 2015) when your ‘dharam’ (Guru Granth Sahib) was disrespected. I guarantee you that those who committed wrong will face strict action for hurting the sentiments of people.”
He took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s style of functioning and counting as his achievements the welfare projects that were initiated by the Congress. He said welfare of the farming community and economically marginalised sections of the society would be a top priority of their party, if voted to power at the Centre.
“Modi says the government does not have funds to help the deprived sections whereas his government favoured big corporate magnets. We will take money out from the accounts of those who have been favoured arbitrarily,” he said. He said the PM thinks he is the only person who can run the country while it is the people who run the nation.