A judicial commission headed by justice Zora Singh (retired) to probe a 2015 incident of alleged sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib in Faridkot district has held Punjab Police officials guilty of unprovoked firing on “peaceful” protesters at Behbal Kalan village that led to the death of two persons.
Justice Zora Singh submitted his report in the Punjab chief secretary’s office here on Thursday evening. The commission recommended action against officials who ordered the firing and an aid of Rs 25 lakh each to the family of killed protesters and Rs 10 lakh each to the two injured. The commission also wants the government give job to a family member of the killed protesters.
The panel has asked the government to take action against the cops within six months. The commission examined over 200 witnesses.
Aam Aadmi Party, Punjab today termed the report submitted by Justice Zora Singh commission in desecration of Guru Granth Sahib and Behbal Kala incident as bogus and mere eyewash. The party said that the commission was appointed by Badal government to save the real culprits responsible for the incident.
In a joint statement issued by AAP Punjab Convener, Sucha Singh Chhotepur and Spokesperson and Convener, RTI Cell, Sukhpal Singh Khaira said that from the beginning of the investigation, AAP has been saying that the commission is totally government sponsored and nothing will come out of this. Chhotepur said that then Education minister of Punjab, Sikander Singh Maluka was given clean chit in the multi-crore books scam by Justice Jindal commission following same procedure.
Chhotepur said that appointing bogus commission and distorting the real facts is the old game plan of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and if Justice Zora Singh commission wanted to submit the fact based report then the investigation must have started from Home minister, Sukhbir Singh Badal who is the commanding authority of Police. If the commission should have summoned then Punjab Police chief, Sumedh Singh Saini and enquired about who ordered to fire on peacefully agitating sangat then there were chances of facts coming out. He demanded to make the complete report public.
Khaira said that in the same case Justice Markandey Katju took just three days time to investigate the matter and submitted far better report than submitted by Justice Zora Singh commission. Justice Katju in his report demanded that investigating call record of police officer present on the spot will provide the lead as it will show who gave the firing orders to the policemen. Khaira said that even the CBI inquiry initiated in the case has been failed to give any authentic report yet. He said that without catching the culprits responsible for desecration of Guru Granth Sahib the investigation is just eyewash.
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Capt Amarinder Singh today rejected the Justice Zora Singh Commission report on the Bargadi sacrilege and the subsequent police firing on the unarmed protestors that led to death of two people.
“The commission has defeated the very purpose it was constituted for”, he said, adding, “It appears to have worked overtime to hide the what actually was needed to be revealed”.
Capt Amarinder pointed out, “its mandate was not to fix the compensation for those killed or injured, but to arrive at an unambiguous conclusion as who was responsible for the sacrilege and who was responsible for the killing of the protestors”.
“Surprisingly, the Justice Zora Singh has not even touched those topics”, he quoted newspaper reports, adding, “it has only vindicated our apprehensions from day one that the commission was merely an attempt at cover up rather than arriving at the truth”.
“Not that we had expected much from the commission, but we did not expect the report to be so tame that it will not even touch real issues involved”, the former Chief Minister observed, adding, awarding compensation to the victims is an administrative matter which can be handled by the government even without any recommendation.
Meanwhile, Capt Amarinder demanded that the compensation should be same for those killed and those handicapped for life. He said, two persons who had suffered spinal injuries and have been restricted to bed for whole life, should get the same amount of compensation as those killed.
He said, the intentions of the government in arriving at the truth on the matter were exposed the way it treated Justice Zora Singh when he had come to submit his report. “This is an insult to the man who was assigned such an important duty”, he said, while adding, “irrespective of whether we agree with his findings or not, Justice Zora Singh deserved a better deal”.