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Badal, Amarinder in the line of fire in Bargari protest by parallel jathedars

Speakers at the protest held Punjab CM Amarinder Singh, former CM Parkash Singh Badal and former deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal responsible for delaying probe in the Behbal Kalan firing incident.

punjab Updated: Jun 03, 2018 11:09 IST
Gagandeep Jassowal
Gagandeep Jassowal
Parallel jathedars and Aam Aadmi Party held a protest on Friday at Bargari village of Faridkot district against the Punjab government.(Gagandeep Jassowal/HT)

Former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, his son and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal, and CM Captain Amarinder Singh were all in the line fire during a protest at Bargari village of Faridkot organised by “parallel” jathedars (heads) of Sikh temporal seats appointed at a ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ (congregation) held by hardliners in 2015. From the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), leader of opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira and local MP Sadhu Singh, besides three MLAs, were too present.

The protest was to mark the third anniversary of the Guru Granth Sahib desecration. It was on June 1, 2015, that the holy book was allegedly stolen from a gurdwara of nearby village Burj Jawahar Singh Wala and later found desecrated here. The protesters demanded action in the Bargari sacrilege case as well into death of two protesters in alleged police firing at nearby Behbal. Another demand was release of Sikh prisoners who have served their sentences.

Dhian Singh Mand, one of the parallel jathedars, announced to start indefinite protest at Bargari until the culprits of the desecration are arrested and action is taken against the accused police officers in the Behbal Kalan firing.

Khaira said the CM must reveal who is stopping him from take action against the accused police officers even after 14 months of taking over from the SAD-BJP. He further said, “We must came on a single platform to unroot the Badals (of SAD) from the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee for betterment of the religion.” He too sought prisoners’ release.

Lok Insaaf Party MLA Simarjeet Singh Bains and AAP’s Kotkapura MLA Kultar Singh Sandhwan too accused Sukhbir Badal of being behind the Behbal Kalan firing.

Baljit Singh Daduwal, another of the parallel jathedars, said, “Captain Amarinder Singh betrayed the entire community by not solving these cases despite having promised to before the assembly polls.” He urged the AAP to raise the issue in the assembly in the form of a resolution.

In 2015, a special investigation team (SIT) was constituted by the SAD-BJP government to investigate the episode, and the three cases were later given to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). In 2016, the SAD-BJP government constituted a commission under a retired judge to look into a series of desecration cases, including Bargari. The Congress government too constituted a commission in April 2017; it is yet to submit its final report.

First Published: Jun 01, 2018 19:06 IST