Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Navjot Sidhu on Monday once again targeted his own government on the Behbal Kalan firing and Bargari sacrilege cases and said that had it been up to him, he wouldn’t have done delay of even a day in punishing the accused.
The Punjab Congress chief, who visited Behbal Kalan village on Monday to meet the families of victims of the firing incident who have launched an indefinite dharna in the area since December 16 to demand justice, said, “I am the Guru’s disciple and this is an issue related to the whole of Panjabiyat.. sometimes, they ( people in Congress government) get angry over my statements as well. But I have come here to support your dharna as I want swift justice in these cases.”
On October 14, 2015, two people — Krishan Bhagwan Singh of Behbal Khurd and Gurjit Singh of Sarawan Bodla village — had been killed when police had opened fire upon a group of protesters who had sat on a dharna in Behbal Kurd village against the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib in Bargari.
Sukhraj Singh, the son of Krishan Bhagwan Singh, who launched an indefinite dharna earlier this month at the same spot where the firing had taken place in Behbal Kalan, said, “Earlier Captain Amarinder Singh was the Chief Minister and he did nothing. It has been three months since a new CM has been appointed. Yet, he has made no statements regarding the firing incident till now. Everyone knows that former DGP Sumedh Saini was behind this firing. But despite that, the Channi government went ahead and appointed Saini’s counsel as Punjab’s advocate general, a post from which he was later forced to resign.
Sidhu, however, promptly countered Sukhraj’s allegations and said,”I did raise the issue, I took a stand. I always made statements about the firing.”
Prodded about the recent cases of sacrilege in the Golden Temple and in Kapurthala, Sidhu said, “There are some forces who are trying to disturb the peace of Punjab. Someone is trying to polarise communities in the name of votes. But people are dedicated to the Guru and they delivered instant justice themselves in both the cases. This also shows that they have no faith in the system. Had justice been given in 2015, this day wouldn’t have come.”
Apart from Sukhraj, the other person sitting on dharna in Behbal Kalan is one Ajit Singh (23), who was allegedly injured when police had lathi charged and then opened fire at a group of protesters near Kotkapura Chowk on the same day , October 14, 2015. ” A bullet passed through my thigh and I remained crippled for about one and a half years. I was only 17 years old at that time. I have met deputy CM Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa on the issue but am still waiting to be provided with a job on “compassionate grounds.”
Sukhraj added,” I had taken him to meet Randhawa once when Captain Amarinder was the CM. At that time, we had been told that the government couldn’t do anything. Now after Channi was made the CM, I met deputy CM Randhawa again and he promised to give him him a job at Rs 8,000 per month in the Markfed office located in Sangrur, which is about 70km from his village. However, nothing was done. Randhawa is the deputy CM now, yet he has not provided justice to us.”
On this, Sidhu targeted the state government for providing jobs to relatives of Congress MLAs and MPs and said, “If anyone is provided a job on compassionate grounds…it has to be him( Ajit). Instead people who are powerful are getting thse jobs.
He added,”We are all part of a system and we are liable to answer to the people who voted for us. I am also in the system and I am here before all of you to give answers. I have come before you as our leader Rahul Gandhi had come here in 2015. He always keeps asking me about the progress of the case. He wants all the culprits to be punished.” To this, Sukhraj added, “Then Rahul ji must tell CM Charanjit Singh Channi to take action.”
Another protester, Balraj Singh, who is a religious preacher, told Sidhu, “You should take charge of this and get justice delivered to the people of Punjab. The whole of Punjab will be in your debt if you did that. The Shiromani Akali Dal was routed in the 2017 polls for their poor handling of the sacrilege issue. Captain Amarinder was also shown the door as he also took oath holding the Gutka Sahib in his hands but did nothing.”
Sukhraj added, “Had justice been delivered in previous sacrilege cases, incidents of Amritsar and Kapurthala would not have happened.”
Sidhu, in response, said,”I will take up Ajit Singh’s case, he must get a job. “