Thursday 29 October 2020

Rift hits sacrilege SIT credibility but two basic issues call for answer

- Posted on 01 June 2019

Jagtar Singh

Chandigarh, June 1: The rift that has surfaced in the special investigating team constituted to probe police firing on Sikh protesters in October 2015 has hit its credibility. Out of its five members, four members have on record dissociated themselves from the chargesheet filed in the Faridkot court by its fifth member Inspector General of Police Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh who has been known as the face of this team. The police firing is related to sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib at Bargari village on October 12, 2015.

It is a serious issue in itself.

However, at the root of the sacrilege narrative of which these two cases are a part are two basic issues that have not been answered by then chief minister Parkash singh Badal and then deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.

First the rift part.

Differences are learnt to  have cropped up between Kunwar Partap and SIT head Additional Director General of Police  Prabodh Kumar over the move to arrest Inspector General of Police Paramraj Singh Umranangal. These differences were never resolved.

The issue is learnt to have reached Capt Amarinder Singh at that time. That Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh has filed the chargesheet under his signature is an indication that  the Chief Minister had concurred with his approach to go to the bottom of this politically sensitive case.

At the political level, the surfacing of differences goes to the advantage of the Badals.

The basic issue, however, is the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib followed by police firing on Sikh protesters at Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan. Those who have been arrested after the exit of the Akali Dal-BJP government headed by Badal are associated with Dera Sacha Sauda.

It is in the context of Dera Sacha Sauda link that two basic issues need to be answered by Badals. Both father and son have not so far answered these questions. After all, they virtually are the Akali Dal and this second oldest party was constituted to voice Sikh concerns.

That the Akali Dal president should come under the scanner in the case of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib  in itself should be of utmost concern to the Sikhs.

The first question that needs to be answered by Badals  is as to why the police filed cancellation report in the Bathinda court against Dera chief Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh in blasphemy case days before the voting in February 2012 Assembly elections.

It may be mentioned that the case against the Dera chief was registered in 2007 after the Assembly elections for appearing in public at his Dera Salabatpura dressed like the Tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. It was on this account that the Akal Takht had issued edict directive to the Sikhs against maintaining any relationship with that sect.

According to  the media reports, the Bathinda police had filed an affidavit in 2008 claiming there were evidence and witnesses available in the case against the dera head.  The 2012 affidavit seeking cancellation of the case was turnaround from that affidavit. The chief minister at that time was Parkash Singh Badal.

The second issue that too directly involves then chief minister Badal is the pardon secured by him for the Dera chief in September 2015 by summoning the Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh and his associates at his official residence in Chandigarh. The SGPC defended this exoneration by inserting ads in the newspapers before it was revoked following angry protests from the Sikhs.

The sacrilege followed this exoneration.

In such a sensitive case, the police could not have filed plea in the court for the cancellation of the case against Dera chief without consulting political bosses.

Badal’s role in engineering pardon for Dera chief has also been under scanner but he has never spoken about it.

The issue in both these cases is not the rift in the SIT.

This is at the root of the entire narrative relating to sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib.

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