By Express News Service
CHANDIGARH: The Justice (Retd) Ranjit Singh Commission's report which was tabled in the state assembly today, has indicted former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal for the police action on anti-sacrilege protesters at Kotkapura about three years ago.
A five-page supplementary report of the commission submitted on August 16 to the state government. Earlier the commission had in its report observed that the facts might indicate the involvement of the CMO, but it is now clear that the Chief Minister (Parkash Singh Badal) and the CMO were apparently kept in the dark about the action proposed by the police and the action finally taken at Kotkapura.
This supplementary report may be read in conjunction with the findings and observations recorded by the Commission from pages 50-55. The report states, "the earlier view expressed by the Commission on page 50 to 52 of Part-1 of the report, needs to be clarified... chief minister Parkash Singh Badal was in touch with the DGP as well as the district administration and cannot be considered ignorant about the action which was finally taken by the police at Kotkapura.''
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The second part of the report states, "The witnesses disclosed before the Commission that the police took action to lift the dharna by using force upon directions given by the DGP (Sumedh Singh Saini) sufficient evidence available in the form of telephone calls between the Deputy Commissioner and MLA Mantar Singh Brar with the CM's Special Principal Secretary Gagandeep Singh Brar. It is on record that contact was established with Gagandeep Singh Brar who made the Chief Minister speak to Mantar Singh Brar. Soon after Mantar Singh Brar spoke to DGP Sumedh Saini, that too on being asked by Gagandeep Singh Brar. The chain is, thus, complete and it is clear that Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was not only in touch with the district administration, but was in touch with the DGP as well, and was quite aware of the situation developing at Kotkapura and also about the proposed action by the police.''
"Sufficient material is available with the commission that when the district administration was asked to speak to the then DGP, he (DGP) had conveyed in no uncertain terms that they (district administration and MLA) should not bother much and that he will get the dharna site cleared within 10 minutes,'' the report states.
Thus it is clear from the report that the commission indicted former Chief Minister Badal on the basis of a written statement submitted to it by then DGP Saini. Interestingly Saini was then removed from his post after this incident. The Congress-led Punjab Government has today accepted the supplementary report of the commission and then tabled the whole four-part report in the state assembly.
In the report the recommendations of the Commission has been accepted, as it states, "Since it has already been decided to refer the matter to the CBI, the investigation agency shall also ascertain whether any act of omission and commission was committed by any other person.-" Earlier Shiromani Akali Dal MLAs held a protest demonstration outside the Punjab Vidhan Sabha ahead of the tabling of the report in the Assembly. As the report was tabled by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Brahm Mohindra, all the Akali legislators staged a walkout from the house. Later Navjot Singh Sidhu had a verbal clash with Sukhbir Singh Badal and dared him to be present in the house tomorrow. The debate on the four-part report would be held on Tuesday.
The Justice (Retd) Ranjit Singh Commission was formed by chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh when Congress came to power last year to probe the sacrilege incidents and subsequent events, including the killing of two Sikh protesters in police firing at Behbal Kalan in 2015.
Report of Zora Singh Commission
During the SAD-BJP regime the then CM Badal had formed Justice (Retd) Zora Singh Commission to inquire into these incidents, the 51-page report of the then commission had then not indicted any officer for the firing. It only gave certain recommendations regarding compensation to be paid to the families of victims. It has recorded statements of 206 witnesses. The report had stated that the victims were defenseless and unarmed and were killed in a sitting position as the police fired on them from close range. It had recommended action as per law against the erring officials who fired gunshots and they should be identified.