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Monday, December 06, 2021

‘Sacrilege, firing a topic every poll; leaders only do politics, haven’t even met us once’: Kin of victims in Punjab

Projects in victims’ names left unfinished; if Sidhu is so concerned, he should meet us as well, say families

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana |
November 8, 2021 9:14:38 pm
Parents of the Behbal Kalan firing victim Gurjit Singh at home at village Sarawan in Faridkot. (Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh/File)

The ongoing politics in Punjab over sacrilege incidents and subsequent police firing in 2015 has left a bad taste in the mouths of the families of the firing victims, who say all they have heard is statements in the run-up to elections, while not a single leader has come and met them.

The Behbal Kalan firing had taken place on October 14, 2015. Police had opened fire on protesters sitting on a dharna in Behbal Kalan village, in order to get it lifted. Krishan Bhagwan Singh of Behbal Khurd village and Gurjeet Singh of Sarawan Bodla, who were protesting against the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib there, were killed in the firing.

Gurjit’s father Sadhu Singh said: “I read news of Navjot Singh Sidhu visiting Burj Jawahar Singh Wala village. He visited that village twice…but he has never met the families who were victims of firing or lathicharge. If he is so concerned, he should meet us as well. The incident happened during the Akali government’s tenure and after that Congress left no effort unturned to let justice get delayed. Sidhu appears to be concerned, but even he issues only statements and nothing else. Wonder for how many elections they will drag this incident…”

He further said: “The then SAD-BJP government had started work on a community hall and sports stadium in the name of my son in November 2016. However, that work is still lying incomplete. These works don’t need any court hearing. Apart from issuing statements, governments should do something else as well. A 3 km road leading to community hall was also to be named after my son. That road is still kucha, forget naming it. Everyday, after hearing statements on this issue, we just feel upset, wondering for how long politicians will keep using the victims for their votebank politics.”

Sukhraj Singh, son of Krishan Bhagwan Singh, said, “No doubt the government gave Rs 1 crore each to both families, Rs 10 lakh was given days after the incident by SAD-BJP government while Congress government had later enhanced this amount to a crore and the remaining Rs 90 lakh were given in August 2017 by the Congress government led by Captain Amarinder Singh…However, I go to every court hearing on my expenses. I have hired my own lawyer, but the government is delaying justice. Channi government is also following the Captain’s footsteps. This is why SP Bikramjeet Singh (an accused police officer in the case) has been reinstated. Accused are applying for bail and politicians are issuing statements. Sidhu says exemplary punishment should be given. But he never meets the people at ground. Hence, he too is not much concerned. We are all being used as election statements.”

Both said they will be raising the issues of road, community hall and sports stadium with authorities again.

Six years have passed. The families feel that every politician uses them as a subject for votebank politics but justice hasn’t been delivered. The government job offered to each family was also as per educational qualification of the family members. Sukhraj said, “Vidhan Sabha elections of 2017, Lok Sabha polls of 2019 and now Vidhan Sabha polls of 2022, the same subject of sacrilege is being raised…this shows the intention of politicians.”

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