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Punjab AG Atul Nanda recommends fresh probe into sacrilege incidents

The Punjab government appears all set to order a fresh probe into various incidents of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib in the state.

punjab Updated: Apr 10, 2017 09:14 IST
Navneet Sharma
Navneet Sharma
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Punjab AG,Atul Nanda,Guru Granth Sahib
Police vehicles gutted during a protest against alleged sacrilege in Kotkapura. Zora Singh panel was set up in 2015 to probe the sacrilege and incident of police firing on protesters.(HT File Photo)

The Punjab government appears all set to order a fresh probe into various incidents of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib in the state.

Advocate general Atul Nanda has recommended a fresh commission of inquiry (CoI) to probe the sacrilege incidents to fix responsibility for the same. “This issue is a matter of recurring concern to the state and merits a full and proper inquiry,” he is learnt to have told the state government, suggesting appointment of the CoI under Section 11 of the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952, with new terms of reference.

The state government had asked the AG for his views on “whether the government of Punjab can constitute a CoI under Section 11 of the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952, on certain aspects/issues left unanswered/not dealt with by the report given by the justice Zora Singh Commission”. Nanda examined the commission’s report in detail and held discussions with chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, chief principal secretary to the CM and the additional chief secretary (home) before making the recommendation, sources told Hindustan Times.

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The AG, on being contacted, said he had already given opinion to the state government in the matter. The commission headed by justice Zora Singh (retired) of the Punjab and Haryana high court was set up by the previous Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) government on October 16, 2015, to investigate the alleged sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib in Faridkot and the incident of police firing at Kotkapura, besides looking into the firing that led to the death of two persons at Behbal Kalan village. It submitted the inquiry report on June 30, 2016, and the same was forwarded by the then government to the director general of police to “aid” the investigation.

In his advisory to the state government, the AG has endorsed the new government’s view that while the commission report detailed the incidents, it did not complete the fundamental limb of the inquiry – the truth of what occurred in such incidents and the factual role of the persons who may have been involved. “The findings in the commission report are broad if not vague on such aspect and have not named or identified precisely the role of persons involved,” he has said, quoting extensively from the report.

According to the advisory, the commission report limited itself to vague observations and reference, leading to “ambiguous remarks” such as some of the police officials, certain police officials, erring officials and general words such as police firing, etc. “The commission report, in the context of the sacrilege incidents in Faridkot, repeatedly finds that no one was taken into custody for interrogation or investigation during the incident, that sketches of suspect were prepared not accordingly to the version of the person who had seen the culprits and that these were not published, that none of the persons who were suspected by the locals were arrested nor was the granthi in village Burj Jawahar Singh Wala thoroughly interrogated,” sources said, sharing details of the advisory.

Another observation in the advisory is that the commission made no reference to any finding as regards any particular officer or his role in the investigation or the role played/act of omission or commission by any particular officer which may have led to such faulty investigation.

First Published: Apr 10, 2017 08:09 IST