Former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday described his successor Amarinder Singh’s allegation against him on the Behbal Kalan police firing as an “attempt to divert the people’s attention from his government’s failure to honour the poll promises”. Amarinder had on Saturday alleged that it was Badal, who was behind the “unwarranted” police firing during an anti-sacrilege protest in Faridkot in 2015, which resulted in the killing of two persons.
“Amarinder’s allegations on the Behbal Kalan issue were a clear attempt to divert the attention from the people’s mounting anger against the utter failures of the Congress government to deliver on its promises to the people,” Badal said in a statement in Chandigarh. He also alleged that the chief minister’s statement “exposed the real truth” behind his claims of not following a policy of vendetta towards his political opponents. The Shiromani Akali Dal leader also accused Amarinder of “acting as the spokesman” of the inquiry commission on the Behbal Kalan incident.
“Perhaps, you (Amarinder) are not aware that you are the first chief minister to act as a spokesperson of a Commission of Inquiry formed by you,” he said. Badal wondered what kind of an inquiry would it be when the chief minister had already “announced its findings”. “If you (Amarinder) are the final judge in everything, then why are you wasting precious public money on setting up these commissions to inquire into the same allegations and arrive at the same conclusions,” he said.
On October 14, 2015, two persons were killed in police firing at Behbal Kalan in Faridkot when a protest against incidents of alleged sacrilege were being staged. Badal also rubbished Amarinder’s charge that it was the chief minister, and not the police officer on-the-spot, who had to order firing.
“Captain Singh needs to know that the chief minister of the state is not a ‘thanedar’ or an SSP to decide on how the force under the officer’s command should react to a specific situation on the spot. It is the officer concerned who assesses the situation, decides on the course of action to be adopted and issues orders, that too only after following the correct administrative procedure,” he said.
The Akali leader accused Amarinder of “acting as the accuser, prosecution and judiciary all by himself”. “This reveals the mindset of the Congress party and its governments, which have no faith in the rule of law, nor any regard for legal and constitutional norms and procedures,” he alleged.