Congress, AAP MLAs seek murder charges against former Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal in 2015 sacrilege case

Chandigarh: The ruling Congress and the AAP MLAs today demanded that former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal be booked on "murder" charges on the basis of a judicial panel's report on the 2015 sacrilege incidents in the state.

The report has held him indirectly responsible for the firings at protestors at Kotakpura in Faridkot agitating against the sacrilege incidents, saying he was "aware" of the proposed police action to disperse the mob.

File image of Parkash Singh Badal. PTI

File image of Parkash Singh Badal. PTI

During a debate in the state assembly on Justice Ranjit Singh Commission report on the sacrilege incidents, they also sought slapping of murder charges against erstwhile Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and the then DGP Sumedh Singh Saini, citing the findings of the report. In a nearly eight-hour long debate that ended in the late evening, the MLAs also demanded that the ongoing probe into the sacrilege incidents and the police firing at Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan be withdrawn from the CBI and handed over to the state police.

Holding Badals' "responsible for sacrilege incidents", some of the legislators went on to compare them with 'Mughals and General Dyer' for "allowing" the firings at protesters at Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan which had resulted in the killings of two persons in 2015. Initiating the debate on the sacrilege report, tabled in the assembly on Monday, and the government's action on it, Congress MLA Harminder Singh Gill sought exemplary punishment for former chief minister Badal, holding him "guilty" of the sacrilege incidents as well.

Gill also accused some Dera followers of being behind the sacrilege incidents and said Badals facilitated granting pardon to Dera Sacha Sauda sect head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a blasphemy case arising out of the sacrilege incidents. He also flashed photographs of Badal with Dera head and Asaram Bapu.

The Akali Dal and the BJP MLAs, however, held a "mock session" outside the House, protesting against the "less time" allotted to them to speak during the debate. Intervening into the debate, Punjab cabinet minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhwa, who has been accused by Akalis for fabricating evidence in the report, described Parkash Singh Badal and his son as "traitors" of Sikh 'panth.'

The sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib took place under their regime, he asserted, adding that "Badals proved to be the Mughals for Sikh Panth." "The chief minister and the deputy chief minister were directly involved in the sacrilege incidents as per the Commission report," he said, demanding that they be booked for murders. "Strict punishment should also be given to those police officials who opened fire at protesters," he said.

He also demanded custodial interrogation of former Special Secretary to chief minister Gagandeep Brar. Participating in the discussion, AAP MLA and former Leader of Opposition HS Phoolka demanded prosecution of Dera Sacha Sauda sect head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh for the alleged role of his followers in the sacrilege incidents.

Seeking establishment of special courts for trials of sacrilege cases, Phoolka, a noted advocate, also asked chief minister Amarinder Singh to withdraw the probe in sacrilege cases from the CBI and hand it over to the Punjab police. Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu too launched a blistering attack against Akalis, accusing them of dividing people and polarising the society to serve their vested interests.

Sidhu compared Badals with General Dyer, notorious for ordering the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Sidhu also asked Akalis to explain as to why did they granted pardon to Dera head in the blasphemy case. Accusing Akalis of striking a deal with Dera Sacha Sauda chief for allowing the release of his movie in 2015, he asked them to explain as to "what happened to Rs 100 crore they got for it".

"I want to request the CM not to let them go scot free. They should be given deterrent punishment... arrest them and hang them," he said. Seeking withdrawal of the probe into sacrilege cases from the CBI, he said, "The CBI is the puppet of the Centre. Why should the CBI or the Modi government be investigating the sacrilege cases and why not the Amarinder government be doing it?" he asked.


Updated Date: Aug 29, 2018 08:58 AM

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