Punjab CM announces time-bound SIT probe into sacrilege cases

Chandigarh,   Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday announced in the Assembly a time-bound probe by the SIT instead of the CBI into various sacrilege cases and subsequent police firing in Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura in 2015.

He also assured the house of immediate action on the findings and recommendations of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to ensure justice to the innocent victims.

The Chief Minister’s announcement came after the house unanimously passed a resolution by a voice vote to opt out of a CBI probe and an SIT investigation instead.

The resolution was moved by Rural Development Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa on the request from the Chief Minister, who took cognisance of sentiments of a majority of MLAs, including those of the ruling Congress and the opposition Aam Aadmi Party.

The Chief Minister, while concluding a debate on Justice Ranjit Singh (retd) Commission report on the sacrilege and police firing, said there was no question of going soft on his predecessor Parkash Singh Badal, whom he squarely blamed for the damage caused to the state and its people with his “grave acts of omission and commission”.

He came down heavily on Akali leaders, including Parkash Singh Badal, his son Sukhbir Singh Badal and daughter-in-law Harsimrat Kaur Badal and the latter’s brother Bikram Singh Majithia, for “failing to even visit those injured in the police firing in Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura”.

The Chief Minister said that the Congress had promised during campaigning for Assembly elections to bring out the truth in the Bargari sacrilege case and subsequent police firing.

He said he had decided to get the incident thoroughly probe when he visited the injured.

Referring to the Army’s Operation Bluestar in Harmandar Sahib in 1984, he said that Akali leader Parkash Singh Badal was directly to blame for the incident.

“Whenever there was any scope for negotiations, Badal sabotaged the efforts,” the Chief Minister claimed, adding that he would run away after promising hardliners his support.