After Advocate General of Punjab, Atul Nanda, recommended a new commission to probe cases of sacrilege before elections, the Punjab government on Friday constituted another one-man commission, headed by former High Court judge, Justice Ranjit Singh, to look into the cases, including that of Bargadi and Behbal Kalan.
The A-G, in his legal opinion on the Jora Singh Commission report, said it was inconclusive and not enough to nail the guilty. “The commission has not answered the very substance of the reference, i.e. an inquiry into the incident of sacrilege and the role of the police force,” said Nanda. The Jora Singh Commission was constituted by the previous SAD-BJP government.
The government, through a notification issued by the Department of Home Affairs and Justice, has included all incidents of sacrilege, including those involving Bhagwad Gita and Quran besides Guru Granth Sahib, within the ambit of the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission’s terms of reference.
In a compilation of the total number of cases, the home department had recently identified 120 cases of sacrilege before polls. The home department report revealed that only 60 cases were solved. The new commission has been given a six-month deadline. The commission will conduct an inquiry into the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib, Bhagwad Gita and Quran. It will also probe the detailed facts and circumstances as well as chronology of events of what actually happened and to identify as a matter of fact, the role played by various people in the incidents of sacrilege in Faridkot and elsewhere in the state.
Giving details of the notification, an official spokesperson said the new commission would find out the truth of what occurred during such incidents and the factual role of people, who may have been involved. The commission has also been tasked to look into the Kotkapura firing on October 14, 2016, and that of Behbal Kalan village in which two persons were killed.
According to its terms of reference, the commission will identify and inquire into the role of the police officers/ officials in incomplete/ inconclusive investigations into the earlier incidents of sacrilege so far. The notification follows the state government’s conclusion, after considering various factors, including the A-G’s advice. In his advice, Nanda also observed that the commission did not complete the fundamental limb of the inquiry i.e. what exactly occurred and the factual role of those who may have been involved.
“The findings of the commission are broad on such aspects and it has not named or identified precisely the role of the persons involved. Also, certain aspects and issues entrusted with it remain unanswered and have not been dealt with in depth to enable the government to reach definitive conclusions,” concluded the Advocate General.