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Cops order gurbani at CM events to drown out protests, then roll it back

🔴 After political backlash, with Leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema uploading a copy of the order on Twitter, the office of Inspector General SPU withdrew the order, citing 'clerical mistake'.

Written by Navjeevan Gopal | Chandigarh |
Updated: December 10, 2021 6:18:04 am
Charanjit Singh Channi, Charanjit Singh Channi news, Harpal Singh Cheema, gurbani, Punjab government, Punjab news, Chandigarh city news, Chandigarh, India news, Indian Express News Service, Express News Service, Express News, Indian Express India NewsPunjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi (File)

In a bizarre order to all deputy commissioners, police commissioners and senior superintendents of police, the Special Protection Unit (SPU) of Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi Thursday asked them to put in place DJs playing gurbani shabad/religious songs so that “slogans raised by different protesting organizations are not heard” during the programmes of CM in respective districts.

After a political backlash where Leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema uploaded the copy of the order on his twitter account, the office of Inspector General SPU withdrew the order, citing “clerical mistake”.

The subsequent letter, withdrawing the earlier direction, issued after few hours read, “The earlier letter is being withdrawn due to a clerical mistake. Further action be not taken in connection with the letter. It is informed that when CM is hearing the pleas of the people, the sound of loudspeakers should be lowered so that CM does not face any problem in hearing the voice of common people.”

The earlier correspondence with subject line “Regarding security arrangements during the visit of CM” read: “…when there is function/program of Punjab CM in your respective district, different organizations raise slogans in loud voice. Hence, in future, whenever there is function/program of CM in your district where different organizations protest in connection with their demands, a DJ should be put in place there in which gurbani shabad/religious songs be played so that sound of slogans is not heard.”
AK Pandey, the Inspector General (SPU) to CM, when contacted, said: “There was a clerical mistake. The directions were withdrawn and new directions were issued.”

AAP legislator Cheema, however, accused the “Congress government of stooping too low” and “trying to create a religious conspiracy”.

“Instead of solving problems of the people, government is resorting to such things,” said Cheema. He trashed the subsequent directions by SPU office saying that it was done for “saving face”.
SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema said, “The Congress government tried to muzzle the voice of protestors by using gurbani. The gurbani stands for empowering the oppressed class. But, the way government has tried to use it to suppress the voice of protestors is very unfortunate. What could be bigger disrespect to gurbani than this?”

Talking to The Indian Express, Daljit Cheema further said, “Home minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa should step and CM should make his stand clear on the issue”.

On withdrawal of the letter by the SPU, he said, “Crime has been committed”.

Former chief minister and Punjab Lok Congress founder Capt Amarinder Singh termed the development as “a classic case of the theatre of absurd” and said, “People are protesting and agitating about their problems and you are singing divinity to them. This is not even hilarious. It is tragic farce, so characteristic of this government”.

Randhawa, who also is also the Home Minister, denied any knowledge of the directions issued by the SPU. “It is not in my knowledge. It (SPU) is not under us. Had it been in notice, I would not have let it happen…if anyone would say that organize paath at any such place [where protests take place], it cannot be allowed. The job of police is to maintain law and order,” he said.

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