Behbal Kalan firing incident: 41 record statements before Justice Katju

Police had fired at people in Behbal Kalan village, who were protesting the alleged desecration of the Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana | Published: February 1, 2016 2:32:07 am
  Behbal Kalan firing incident, Justice Katju, firing in Faridkot last year Retired Justice Markendey Katju during the hearing at Behbal Kalan in Kotkapura.express photo by Gurmeet Singh

A total of 41 people recorded their statements before Justice Markandey Katju (retd.) Sunday in connection with the killing of two people in a police firing in Faridkot last year.

Police had fired at people in Behbal Kalan village, who were protesting the alleged desecration of the Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib.

Katju had said he was approached by the Sikhs for Human Rights (SFHR) and a few other organisations after they expressed dissatisfaction over the ongoing probe. The Punjab government has appointed the Justice Zora Singh Commission to look into the incident.

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Among the people who recorded their statements were Pritam Singh, the grandfather of Gurjeet Singh who was killed in the incident. However, nobody turned up from the family of Krishan Bhagwan Singh, the other person killed in the firing.

Kanwarpal Singh, on behalf of SFHR, said, “We are hoping that someone from Krishan Bhagwan’s family will turn up tomorrow.”

While Gurjeet hailed from Saravan village, Krishan Bhagwan was from Niamiwala village.

Beant Singh, who was injured in the firing and has been bed-ridden since, arrived in an ambulance to get his statement recorded.

Sikh preachers Panthpreet Singh, Avtar Singh and Harjinder Manjhi, former Jathedar Gaini Kewal Singh, and Chandan gave their statements in connection with the lathicharge that happened at Kotkapura Chowk. Avtar Singh also went with Justice Katju to Kotkapura Chowk to narrate the incident.

Advocate Harpal Singh Cheema from SFHR and AAP leader H S Phoolka were present when the statements were being recorded.

Cheema said that he had come as a human rights activist and not as the leader of a political party. However, none of the government officials or the Punjab DGP turned up.

Justice Katju, who will be staying in the village till February 2, said he would try to make the report public as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, sources said villagers were being prevented from recording their statements before Justice Katju.

Kanwarpal Singh said, “A number of villagers were being stopped by leaders of the ruling party from appearing before Justice Katju. Ours is an independent probe, and we have nothing to do with Justice Zora Singh Commission.”

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