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Former Moga SSP’s statement helped Ranjit panel zero in on role of Sumedh Saini, Umranangal

The panel report has held that the previous SAD-BJP government had issued direction to senior cops to ensure no action is taken against the Dera Sacha Sauda followers who a few days back had also sat on a dharna at Kotkapura.

punjab Updated: Aug 28, 2018 10:07 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
Ravinder Vasudeva
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Ranjit panel,Justice Ranjit Singh (retd) Commission,Sumedh Singh Saini
Paramraj Singh Umranangal, Charanjit Sharma and Sumedh Singh Saini (HT Photo)

It was former Moga senior superintendent of police (SSP) Charanjit Sharma’s statement that helped the Justice Ranjit Singh (retd) Commission to hold the then director general of police (DGP) Sumedh Singh Saini and then Ludhiana police commissioner Paramraj Singh Umranangal responsible for police firing at protesters in Kotkapura on October 14, 2015.

The panel report has held that the previous Shiromai Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) government had issued direction to senior cops to ensure no action is taken against the Dera Sacha Sauda followers who a few days back had also sat on a dharna at Kotkapura.

The commission quotes Sharma that it was the biggest grouse of the panthic leaders and other Sikhs protesters that they were beaten up and made to lift the dharna at Kotkapura, whereas no action was taken against the premis(dera followers), who sat on dharna for the release of dera head Gurmeet Ram Rahim-starrer film ‘Messenger of God’ (MSG).

“Why the police were so keen to get this dharna lifted when it had taken no such action against the earlier sit-in by the ‘premis’? The responsibility for action at Kotkapura squarely lies with the police. The compulsion on part of the police apparently was due to pressure from the government and DGP Sumedh Singh Saini, who wanted to get the lifted,” the commission report says.

The panel has also quoted Sharma saying that Umranangal, who was supervising the situation at Kotkapura, shared the instructions he received from the DGP that there were chances of tension in Kotakpura if the dharna by Sikhs continues since it is a Hindu-dominated town.

“Hindus may suffer the consequences of the protest. Therefore, it was decided to get the dharna lifted immediately,” the commission report further quotes the then Moga SSP Sharma.

Talked to DGP 22 times in 7 hours

The Ranjit Singh commission has concluded in the report that the entire action in Kotakpura town was carried out under the supervision of Umranangal but he did not tell the panel as who ordered firing at the protesters.

Here too, the commission had quoted a statement by Sharma that the then Bathinda zone inspector general (IG) Jitender Jain was a silent spectator and had virtually no say. Instructions were being received by Umranangal from the DGP.

“It is thus clear that Kotakpura was under the charge of Umranangal and he was working as the DGP Saini’s man on the ground to get the dharna lifted. From the call details of police officials procured during the police action at protesters, it is clear that Umranangal was taking direct instructions from the DGP,” says the commission.

First Published: Aug 28, 2018 10:07 IST