Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday handed over the probe into three incidents of the alleged desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib to the CBI.
The Chief Minister’s media advisor told newspersons on Sunday evening that the CM was deeply hurt over the incidents and wanted justice to prevail.
The CBI’s probe mandate will be on three specific FIRs – regarding incidents in the Jawahar Singh Wala village, Bajakhana village and Bargadi village. Sources in the government said that since the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the state police had been unable to make any headway into the probe after the initial successes announced by former DGP Sumedh Singh Saini, the state thought it was better to hand over the case to the CBI.
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A meeting between the CM, senior Akali leaders Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Prem Singh Chandumajra, Balwinder Singh Bhunder, DGP Suresh Arora and DIG Intelligence RK Jaiswal at the CM’s house preceded the announcement.
Several Sikh organisations in the state had contested the claims of the Punjab Police about having solved the case of alleged desecration in Faridkot with the arrest of two people, and also the claims about the alleged “foreign hand” behind the incidents.
Sikhs owing allegiance to various groups, including hardliners, had also sought the arrest of the “real culprits”, alleging that the two brothers were “falsely implicated” by the police.
Under intense attack over handling of the situation, the government in a sudden move had also shunted out Punjab police chief Sumedh Singh Saini. A statement released by the Chief Minister’s office late at night said he was “extremely keen” to send a strong signal to the perpetrators of “this outrage”.
Harcharan Singh Bains, the CM’s media advisor, said the CM took note of the demands made by several Sikh religious groups as well as the family of those arrested and “fully respects the sentiments of everyone”.
“The Punjab government is fully sensitive to the deep emotional hurt caused by the incidents and has consistently shown full respect the sentiments and opinions of the Sikh masses….The CM and his deputy have accorded the highest priority to this case,” said Bains.