Chandigarh: Breaking his silence over the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission report, former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Saturday said he never ordered police firing on protesters at Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura, which left two people dead.
In a statement issued in Chandigarh, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) patriarch said use of force was never considered to quell the October 2015 protests after the Bargari desecration incident, and there were clear and firm instructions from him that the issue should be resolved 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," he said even though, the report by Justice Singh claimed that Badal was "aware" of the proposed police action to disperse the protesters by using force.
"It was a period of unbearable pain and stress on my mind. I remained in live contact with the district administration officials and the DGP till well past midnight," he said. "There was never a minute when I was able to go to sleep peacefully as the situation was extremely delicate and critical."
Badal said that his government had handed over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for a fair probe. "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 said.
Badal also lashed out at Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh accusing him of lowering the dignity of the his office by using "foul and cheap language" in the Punjab Assembly.
Referring to Singh's usage of expressions such as 'badmash' (goon), 'buzdil' (coward), "liar" and "unreliable" on the floor of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Badal said every sensitive and civilised Punjabi was deeply hurt to see their chief minister "stooping to such lowly depth".
"If according to you a person who has spent long years languishing in the country's worst and the darkest prison cells fighting for the cause of the nation, the state and of the Khalsa Panth is a coward, then what would you call someone who has never fought for any cause nor been to a prison for even a moment nor made any other sacrifice for any principle he believes in, if he does believe in any?" asked Badal. "But I expected nothing better than this from a leader whose mind is debased and who is not only a rank opportunist but is also devoid of moral character and given to pursuits of unethical leisure and pleasure."
The former Punjab chief minister said he was truly saddened that he had to hit back at those who "hit below the belt". Badal said Singh represented a party which was responsible for the "worst and the most painful" sacrilege against Guru Granth Sahib committed when the then prime minister Indira Gandhi rolled tanks and mortars to "destroy" Akal Takhat Sahib and shattered the sacred bosom of Harmandar Sahib. "Countless 'saroops' of holy shri Guru Granth Sahib were desecrated by the forces then," he said.
Badal also warned the chief minister against playing with fire and pushing Punjab back into the "jaws of violence and bloodshed". "The flames that turned the urban and country landscape of Punjab almost to ashes are still raging. And you are preparing to unleash new flames. Have mercy on the innocent and peaceful men, women, youth and children of Punjab and roll back your forces of hatred," Badal said.
The former chief minister said that in his years in service of Punjab as the chief minister, he devoted all his time and energy to ensure peace and communal harmony and understanding among various sects in the state. "...I am not scared of the threats being thrown by a hollow braggart who wastes his life in the pursuit of unethical pleasures. I have discharged with utmost honesty, transparency, dedication and commitment whatever sacred duty had been assigned to me by the people of Punjab," said Badal.
Updated Date: Sep 01, 2018 23:17:48 IST