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‘Never gave orders for firing on anti-sacrilege protesters’ says former Punjab CM Prakash Singh Badal

In a hard-hitting statement, Akali patriarch said he, as then chief minister, had given clear and firm instructions for peaceful resolution of all issues (arising out of desecration of Guru Granth Sahib) through discussion and dialogue.

punjab Updated: Sep 02, 2018 09:37 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
anti-sacrilege protesters,Prakash Singh Badal,Punjab
Former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal (HT File )

Breaking his silence on the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission report that has touched off a political storm in Punjab, former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Saturday said he had never passed any orders for firing on anti-sacrilege protesters in 2015.

In a hard-hitting statement, Akali patriarch said he, as then chief minister, had given clear and firm instructions for peaceful resolution of all issues (arising out of desecration of Guru Granth Sahib) through discussion and dialogue.

“At no stage was the issue of police firing even considered and nor were any orders passed by me in this regard,” Badal said, alluding to the Congress government-appointed panel’s report that has indicted both Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal, then home minister, for the police firing in Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan that led to killing of two Sikh protesters.

“I remained in live contact with the district administration officials and the DGP well past midnight as the situation was extremely critical,” Badal said. He said his government had handed over the entire case to the CBI. “We wanted a totally credible and transparent solution. It was in the pursuit of this that we set up Zora Singh commission and formed an SIT. The same SIT has been functioning with the same officers under the present government too” he added.

Badal also lashed out at chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh for “using foul and cheap language” against him in the Punjab assembly session last week. The commission report was tabled and debated even as Akali-BJP MLAs abstained from the House.

Accusing Amarinder of lowering the dignity of chief minister’s office, Badal took an exception to the use of expressions such as “badmash, buzdil, liar and unreliable” for him. “But I expected nothing better than this from a leader who is not only a rank opportunist but is also devoid of moral character and given to pursuits of unethical leisure and pleasure,” he said.

First Published: Sep 02, 2018 09:35 IST