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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Punjab: As probe into post-desecration firing case wobbles, disquiet in Congress grows

Not only the opponents, but also leaders within the party too have been attacking the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh over the issue.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh |
April 15, 2021 5:47:42 am
COVID 19 Second wave, Punjab Covid Cases, Rise in Covid Cases, Amarinder Singh on Covid, Lockdown in Punjab, punjab covid updates, CM on Oxygen scarcity, Indian Express newsPunjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

After the High Court quashed the SIT probe into the Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura firing case and the SIT head, Punjab Police IG Kunwar Vijay Pratap, submitted his resignation, resentment prevails in ruling Congress as the party feels cornered on the matter. Not only the opponents, but also leaders within the party too have been attacking the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh over the issue.

So much so that Amarinder not only had to back Kunwar Vijay Pratap and reject his resignation, but also defend Advocate General Atul Nanda claiming that he should not be blamed for the state’s embarrassment in the High Court. Much to the chagrin of the Congress, the SIT chief took to Facebook, hours after CM rejecting his resignation, and said that he stood by it. Amarinder met Kunwar Vijay Pratap on Wednesday, but no details were shared on the issues discussed during the meeting.

While AAP and SAD hit out at the government, Congress leader Navjot Sidhu went to Bargari on Baisakhi and demanded that Kunwar Vijay Pratap’s report should be made public. On Wednesday, Congress Rajya Sabha Member Partap Bajwa took on the government and demanded action against the Advocate General.

The Bargari sacrilege incident, and Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura firing have been emotive issues in the state ever since 2015. Congress had made a pre-poll promise to bring the guilty to book in the case. While the government is towards the fag end of its tenure, a feeling prevails that the guilty will not be brought to the book.

With the latest development in the case, a number of Congress leaders say that Congress was on a strong wicket, but improper handling the case could cost the party dear.

A Congress MLA, who has been at the forefront seeking justice in the case, told The Indian Express that it was just indiscipline in the SIT that had created a scenario that was prevailing.

“Why was Pratap single-handedly allowed to investigate while there were other members in the SIT too? Why were the other members allowed not to sign on the report? It is just a case of oversight. The petitioners have used this as a ground to get the High Court take notice,” he said.

Another senior leader said that the SIT head’s resignation, and later his Facebook post were only lending credence to the speculation that he wanted to jump into politics, portray himself as the only saviour of the Sikh Panth.

“What will we do if he quits, joins Aam Aadmi Party, releases the report of his SIT and tells the people that this was his report and the government did not work on it?” he asked.

He also raised a question as to why the government allowed members of the SIT to keep fighting among themselves, “write letters against each others, leak them to the media and make a mockery of the issue?”

“How dare they did not sign? We should have had people who were willing to investigate it properly. We allowed him to become a hero,” he said.

A few leaders are seeing the timing of former Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu’s visit to Bargari two days ago and Vijay Pratap’s resignation as a “pre-planned design”.

“It appears that it was pre-planned by the parties involved to project themselves as heroes and paint others as villains,” a leader said, adding that instead of the CM, the DGP should have publicly rejected his resignation. “CM’s reaction only made the police officer bigger,” he said.

Another party leader said that the entire episode was going to haunt the Congress.

“It will haunt us definitely. Instead of prosecutors, we are now the accused. They should have handled the case better. It is a badly handled case. We were on the top of the situation before this but now everything has gone down the drain,” he said.

The leader went on to say that there was a general feeling in the Congress that somebody should be held accountable.

“Some heads should roll. Otherwise, we will pay a heavy price for this. The person, who is responsible should be held responsible for landing us in a mess,” he said.

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