Punjab CM Amarinder Singh accuses SGPC chief of obstructing justice
The chief minister said in a statement that Badungar, instead of cooperating with the commission, was refusing to join the investigation to cover up the sacrilege incidents.punjab Updated: Oct 02, 2017 09:13 IST
Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday accused SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar of obstructing the course of justice by refusing to appear before a one-man panel investigating cases of sacrilege in the state.
Badungar said yesterday (Saturday) in Patiala that he would not present himself before the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission, which has asked him to appear before the panel on October 8.
The commission has also asked Badungar to bring with him documents related to the incidents of sacrilege and the alleged pardon granted by the Akal Takht to the chief of Dera Sacha Sauda sect Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a blasphemy case.
The panel under Justice Ranjit Singh, a former judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, was formed by the Amarinder Singh government in April to probe the cases of sacrilege in Punjab, including the Bargari incident in Faridkot and the firing at Behbal Kalan, between June 2015 and March 2017.
The chief minister said in a statement that Badungar, instead of cooperating with the commission, was refusing to join the investigation to cover up the sacrilege incidents.
The decision to set up the commission was aimed to ensure that those found responsible for trying to harm the communal fabric of the state were brought to book, Singh said.
The SGPC should have welcomed the move instead of adopting a negative approach, Singh said, lashing out at the religious institution for issuing “misleading” statements at the behest of the Shiromani Akali Dal, which seemed to be striving to “derail” the inquiry out of “fear of exposure”.
In fact, with several of these incidents reported from Gurdwaras, which were under its control and management, the SGPC should have taken on the task of probing the cases, he said.
But by “refusing” to cooperate with the panel, the SGPC showed it had no interest in protecting religious harmony, he said, adding that this amounted to “scuttling” the course of justice and denying the people the truth behind the crimes.
The Punjab government set up the Ranjit Singh Commission after it found the report submitted by the Zora Commission constituted by the previous SAD-BJP government “inconclusive”.
More than 120 incidents of desecrations of holy texts and religious places were reported in the state.