Some ‘high-profile’ person of the state may soon face action in the Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura police firing incidents, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh indicated Wednesday in his strong statement on the issue.
The CM’s statement came during his reply to the Governor’s address in the ongoing session of Punjab Assembly in the backdrop of a clamour in the Congress camp for action against former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and former Home Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal besides former DGP Sumedh Singh Saini over the firing incidents.
Two days ago, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Bargari sacrilege and subsequent police firings, arrested IG Paramraj Singh Umranangal. Earlier last month, the SIT arrested ex-SSP Moga Charanjit Sharma. Both are accused of ordering firing at a peaceful mob that had gathered to protest against the sacrilege incidents. The CM has been under pressure from his colleagues to take a stern action on the issue. A number of Congress MLAs implored him to take action against alleged erring Akali leaders in the House on Tuesday. Cabinet Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa had gone on record to say that the arrest of Umranangal was not enough and action against Badals should follow.
Without naming anyone, the CM on Wednesday said, “I do not want to take it further as the SIT is working. Lekin jo Justice Ranjit Singh Commission di report uppar gallan ayian ne (but based on what has come out after Justice Ranjit Singh Commission report), the matter is going to go very high. I will say this much only.”
The CM took on Akalis in the House alleging “complete destruction of all institutions of governance in the state”, calling it a “danda raaj” with “orders – legal and illegal – being passed by one family”. Talking about the Bargari sacrilege issue, he said: “Je tussi kanooni vyavastha challan nahi deoge tan ohi hoyega jo pehlan hoya si. Beadbi da dassan laggeyan tuhanu (If you would not let law and order system work then the same will happen. I am going to tell you about sacrilege). What was that? A failure of the law and order system. Kinne hoye vakyaat jithe Guru Granth Sahib de panne faad ke sutt ditte, nadiyan de vich tobheyan de vich (Many incidents took place in which Guru Granth Sahib was desecrated). Kinne tussi Guru Granth Sahib faad ditte, Geeta faar ditti, Quran Sharif faad ditta tussi (Guru Granth Sahib,The Gita and The Quran were desecrated during your regime).”
He claimed the previous government had even failed to accept their own commission’s report over the issue. “Why could you not do what we have done… You could have formed a Special Investigation Team. You could have taken action,” he said.
‘Do not come to me for more tubewells’
Raising concerns about the depleting underground water in the state as well as receding of glaciers, Amarinder said, “If we do not wake up now, Punjab will be a dessert in 20 years… Do notcome to me for more tubewells.” He patted state’s farmers for refraining from burning paddy stubble last season.
He credited the Congress party for opening of the Kartarpur Corridor, saying that talks for it were intiated by former PM Dr Manmohan Singh. The CM batted for a visa-free entry for paying obeisance and said he had already written to Centre to take up the matter with Pakistan. He called on the opposition to join in the efforts of his government for celebrations of 550th Parkash Utsav of Sri Guru Nanak Dev and asked the SAD deputy leader in the Vidhan Sabha, Parminder Singh Dhindsa, to speak with his leader on the issue.
Attack on former CM
Amarinder did not miss the opportunity to hit out at his arch-rival, Parkash Singh Badal in his absence when he told the House that he had once pulled the Speaker out of his chair. He also took a dig at Sukhbir Badal saying he had never seen him in the House. He also took on the Akalis for disrupting Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal’s budget speech.
Stating that his government had broken the backbone of drug trade in the state, Amarinder asked opposition to come out with the names of the ‘big fish’ with evidence to help the STF arrest them. “We have arrested everyone. You give out the names, we will arrest them,” he said referring to Lok Insaf Party member Simarjit Singh Bains’ allegation in the Vidhan Sabha that the government had let off the big fish.