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Radicals take over sacrilege protests in Punjab as senior IPS officers fail to complete probe

IPS Nau Nihal Singh and IPS L K Yadav

Chandigarh: The genesis of ‘Beadbi Insaaf Morcha’ (Sacrilege Justice Sit in) at village Behbal Kalan, Faridkot, is the inability of the two Special Investigations Teams (SITs) to complete their investigations into the October 14, 2015, incidents of lathi-charge and firing at Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan respectively. The activities at the Morcha site create an atmosphere of insecurity and lawlessness in Punjab.

The Morcha – now taken over by radical Sikh organisations – is demanding action against what FIRs state as “unidentified policemen,” responsible for a lathi-charge on the protesters in Kotkapura, injuring over 100 of them, and opening fire in Behbal Kalan, killing 2 of them on October 14, 2015. The protests started after torn pieces of holy Guru Granth Sahib were littered in front of a Gurdwara in Bargari village near Kotkapura on October 12, 2015.

The present volatile law and order situation in the state results from the inability, deliberate or otherwise, of the two SITs that have failed to submit their reports even after one and a half years of their formation. Another SIT that investigated three sacrilege-related FIRs of Burj Jawahar Singh Wala and Bargari filed chargesheets against 11 accused Dera Sacha Sauda followers initiating a trial in the court.

The background of the Morcha is linked to the formation of the first SIT by the then Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal-led SAD-BJP alliance government on October 15, 2015. The SIT comprised Parbodh Kumar, Arun Pal Singh, and Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh. The Punjab and Haryana High Court set aside the report of this SIT on April 8, 2021, and ordered the formation of a new SIT. The High Court’s order led to the constitution of the present functional SIT under the chairmanship of DGP L.K. Yadav and ADGP Nau Nihal Singh, tasked to look into  two separate FIRs related to Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan incidents, respectively.

Indianarraitve.com contacted Yadav and Nau Nihal to know the status of their investigations that have been lingering since June 2021. The 2nd query was how much more time is required to complete their job, especially when the Morcha organisers have threatened to block roads all over the state if no action is not taken against guilty policemen.

DGP Yadav and ADGP Nau Nihal did not give satisfactory answers to the queries sent to them on Tuesday, February 7th morning. Yadav sent a text of an advertisement issued by him asking the general public to come forward to provide any information about the Kotkapura lathi-charge adding that investigation is in an advanced stage but gave no time frame.

Nau Nihal replied that the details of the investigation could not be shared and added no time limit could be fixed to complete the job.

Such a response from the chiefs of the 2 SITs is bound to embarrass Vidhan Sabha Speaker Kultar Sandhwan, who some 5 months ago visited the protesters promising to “deliver justice in one and a half months.” AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal, before the elections, promised to solve the sacrilege issue within 24 hours of coming to power.

As the investigation reports continue to be delayed, the Morcha stage is repeatedly taken over by the controversial radical leaders of ”Waris Punjab De’ including Amritpal Singh, gangsters-turned-activists, and SAD (Amritsar) leaders who propagate separatism.