Ground Zero : Timing of arrest of ex-SSP Sharma in Bahbal Kalan firing is strategic

Jagtar Singh

Chandigarh, January 27: The timing of arrest of former Moga police chief Charanjit Singh Sharma in the Behbal Kalan firing case  when countdown for the Lok Sabha has already started is strategically important.

At the political level, this vital arrest can spell further trouble for 5-time chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal who  heads the Akali Dal. Two persons were killed on October 14, 2015 in unprovoked firing on people who were protesting at Behbal Kalan against sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib in nearby Bargari. A few hours earlier  that morning, the police had used force to disperse protesters staging dharna at Kotkapura on the same issue.

The chief minister at that time was Parkash Singh Badal with Sukhbir Singh Badal as the deputy chief minister holding home department.

Ironically, the case that was registered at Bajakhana police station with reference to Behbal firing was against unidentified policemen.  Sharma is among those ‘unidentified’ police officials.

Here was the government of Akali Dal that was created to articulate the Sikh concerns. The attitude of the Badal government on sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib and the related issue shocked the Sikh world. It is pertinent to mention that the Bir of Guru Granth Sahib was stolen by some devotees of Dera Sacha Sauda on June 1, 2015 from a gurdwara at Burj Jawahar Singhwala and its pages were found scattered in the streets of nearby Bargari village on October 12.  Posters had appeared in Bargari challenging the Sikhs to trace the Bir that was claimed to have been hidden in that very village.

The crime of sacrilege has been traced and all those arrested are devotees of Dera Sacha Sauda whose chief Gurmit Ram Rahim is in jail in murder and rape cases.

Badal went a step ahead when he summoned Akali Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh and his associates to his residence in September 2015 to secure pardon for Dera chief in blasphemy case. The Badals had been seeking political support from Dera chief.

The arrest of Charanjit Singh Sharma is crucial link in the chain of command from Chandigarh to Behbal via Kotkapura. The issue is who gave orders to forcibly evict peaceful protesters? Who ordered Sharma to go to Behbal as this was not in Moga district and thus not under his jurisdiction.

The names of Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir appeared for the first time relating to this case in the report submitted by Justice Ranjit Singh Commission.

Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh handed over the probe to SIT after withdrawing the same from CBI. Sharma andothers had got stay from the Punjab and Haryana High Court that was vacated earlier last week leading to the arrest.

It has been established that Badal was in touch with the situation. It would now come out during investigation as to who gave orders to the police to forcibly remove the protesters.

It is pertinent to mention that two different SITs are probing sacrilege related issues. The SIT headed by DIG R S Khatra is probing the sacrilege issue and has arrested the accused. Constituted by the Badal government, this SIT made progress after the change of regime.

The other SIT  headed by ADGP Prabodh Kumar that is investigating the Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan incidents was constituted by the Amarinder government.

Yet another crucial case is that of bomb blast at Maur during 2017 Assembly elections that has also been traced to the Dera.

With the arrest of Sharma, the investigation would now start moving to other vital links in the chain of commands that would lead to the source of command. It is the source that is important. As the then DGP,  Sumedh Singh Saini was one such  vital link in this chain.

Both the Badals have been questioned by the SIT earlier. However, the situation has now changed with the arrest of Sharma.

As sacrilege has been traced to Dera Sacha Sauda,  questioning of Ram Rahim by the SIT is not ruled out. He is in Rohtak jail.

It is for these reasons that the timing of arrest of Sharma is strategic for political fallout.

Jagtar Singh


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