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Ranjit Singh panel indicts former CM Parkash Singh Badal, Akalis trash report

Though one person was injured at Kotkapura unlike Behbal Kalan where two Sikhs were killed, the indictment of Badal for police action has added more fire to the Congress arsenal as it debates the report on Tuesday.

punjab Updated: Aug 28, 2018 09:20 IST
Sukhdeep Kaur
Sukhdeep Kaur
Hindustan Times, Patiala
Ranjit Singh Commission,Kotkapura firing,Parkash Singh Badal
Former Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal(HT File )

The Justice Ranjit Singh Commission report on sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib and subsequent firing by cops on Sikh protesters in 2015 has indicted former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal for the police action at Kotkapura.

The four-part fact-finding report was tabled in the Punjab assembly on Monday. The panel’s latest findings, based on the reply of former director general of police Sumedh Singh Saini, have come in the supplementary filed by it to the first part that covers the first desecration incident at Bargari and police firing at protesters two days later (October 14, 2015).

Justice Ranjit Singh (retd) has said in his reply, Saini has admitted that he and Badal spoke at 2am on October 14, 2015.

“It is reasonable to infer that the DGP had either discussed or apprised the CM about the proposed action of getting the dharna site cleared by using force or they both were on the same wavelength on the proposed action. In its earlier report, the panel had observed that the facts may indicate the involvement of CMO. But it is clear now that the CM and his office were apparently kept in loop about the action proposed to be taken and finally taken at Kotkapura,” the report concludes.

Though one person was injured at Kotkapura unlike Behbal Kalan where two Sikhs were killed, the indictment of Badal for police action has added more fire to the Congress arsenal as it debates the report on Tuesday.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has rejected the report, calling it “waste paper”. “The report has no sanctity. It has been prepared at the residence of chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh,” SAD president and the then deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal said at a protest held outside the assembly complex where the party legislators dumped copies of the report even before it was tabled in the House.

SAD MLA Bikram Singh Majithia, who was also present, alleged that Amarinder, Justice Ranjit Singh (retd) and Sikh preacher Baljit Singh Daduwal, parallel jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib, had colluded to prepare the report to defame the party.

Also read: Ranjit panel report a plot, ‘panth’ is in danger: Sukhbir Badal

The panel’s first report had said Badal and his son Sukhbir secured Akal Takht’s pardon for Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim in September 2015 to facilitate release of the sect head’s movie. Though the edict was revoked after backlash from Sikh bodies, the panel says it had a “devastating effect and played the role of catalyst in sacrilege incidents”.

It has also put Sukhbir, the then home minister, in the dock for “showing no involvement and seriousness” in solving sacrilege cases.

“Had the home minister paid attention to first desecration case (Bargari), subsequent sacrilege incidents could have been avoided. Little effort would have led to finding the accused long ago.”

Citing arrest of dera men for sacrilege incidents, the report says it should give a cause for all those responsible for giving religious edict for political gains to ponder over their acts.

Notably, in its first report, the panel had found no direct evidence of talks between Badal and Saini before the firing and given two possible reasons for firing: “Saini had his way and the CM was helpless or he agreed with his police chief”. The debate on the panel report will be held on Tuesday and telecast live.

First Published: Aug 27, 2018 15:02 IST