Ranjit Singh panel report in public domain, leaves little to imagination

Chandigarh, August 15: The report of the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission into cases of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib and related police firing at Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan in 2015 that is now in public domain leaves nothing to imagination.

In the last sentence, the commission has recommended that the accountability should be fixed at the top, thereby meaning the chief minister. The chief minister in 2015 was Parkash Singh Badal.

It states: “Should not all those who were at helm of affairs be made answerable for such serious lapses? Commission would  recommend so.”

The panel has “noticed with concern that the then Government and Ministry of Home affairs did not do much, after placing one SSP under suspension and after changing the DGP. Suspended SSP got himself reinstated through the High Court as no charge sheet was prepared or served upon him. Charge sheet has been served upon him only by the present Government. No action is noticed against the DGP who was changed. Police has not pursued the investigations of serious case of murders at Behbal Kalan and of police action at Kotkapura. But for change of Government, all these cases would have been buried deep down without trace”.

The report of this Commission was to be tabled in the forthcoming session of the Vidhan Sabha. The state government had also been considering the proposal to convene special session of the Vidhan Sabha for this purpose. However, Part II of this report based upon the reply submitted by then Director General of Police Sumedh Singh Saini on the last day of his retirement  is likely to be submitted this week.

It is Part I of the report that has been leaked. Action has already been initiated by the state government by naming several police officers.

The police leadership had made last ditch effort against naming these police officials. However, it was the pressure group led by Rural development and Panchayats Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa that prevailed on Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.  The Bahbal Kalan FIR is open and more names can be added during investigation.

In it in this context that the last sentence of the report is significant.

Badal had boycotted the probe panel. Akali Dal chief and former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had yesterday described the report as political document dictated by Capt Amarinder Singh.

However, one issue on which the Badals have been at the receiving end since 2015 is the apology granted by Akal Takht to Dera Sacha Sauda chuief Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh in the base of blasphemy. This apology was subsequently withdrawn under protest from the Sikh organisation. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee spent lakhs of rupees on ads to justify exoneration before the same was withdrawn. The credibility of the SGPC and Akal Takht, the two highest Sikh institutions, touched the lowest ebb. Now this entire gamut has been brought on record.

Details have been given out as to how this apology was managed by summoning Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh and his associates at official residence of Badal in Chandigarh.

It is pertinent to mention that the police have claimed to solve the cases of sacrilege to Bargari and Burj Jawahar Singh Wala with the arrest of followers of Dera. Dera chief Ram Rahim is in jail serving jail term in rape case.

The investigation, if taken to the logical conclusion, has potential to shake Punjab’s religio-political dynamics.

It is too well known that the Badal government adopt soft approach to seek support of the Dera in election but that support failed to save the party.

However, it is Bathinda Lok Sabha seat that is all the more important for the family as it is represented by Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal.

Here is the test for Capt Amarinder Singh.

Jagtar Singh



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