Opposition parties Tuesday accused the Election Commission of bias over its decision to shift Inspector General of Police Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, a member of the SIT formed to probe into the incidents of sacrilege and Behbal Kalan firing, and expressed apprehension that this may have been a result of a “friendly match” between the Congress party and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
Speaking to The Indian Express, Bir Devinder Singh, the SAD (Taksali) candidate from Anandpur Sahib said that unless Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh acted in a transparent manner in order to get the transfer orders of the IG reversed, it would be presumed that there was “some understanding” between the Congress and the Akalis to take the heat off them.
Terming the EC’s order as “atrocious”, Bir Devinder said that it was a clear indication of partisanship and was in utter disregard of religious sentiments of the Sikh community. “Election Commission should have weighed all the pros and cons with deeper precision before passing the order in this matter. EC’s order has blown away all the hopes of a fair probe in the most crucial matter concerning the entire Sikh community,” he said.
He added that it was appalling that EC, rather than taking a holistic view of the religious sensitivity of the Sikhs, has apparently taken a “prejudiced and one sided” view of the complaint filed by Akali leader and Rajya Sabha MP, Naresh Gujral, “at the behest of the Badal family”.
Bir Devinder said that, both, SAD patron and former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son and party chief, Sukhbir Singh Badal, were opposed to the SIT probe since its inception and “were hell bent” to sabotage its fair conclusiveness.
“Now their sinister design has partially succeeded with the myopic order of the EC, in dislodging an important officer of impeccable integrity from the SIT,” he said. He added that Amarinder Singh must logically resist implementing the arbitrary order of the EC and get it recalled and present its view point transparently before the Election Commission requesting thorough review and recall of the order.
Punjab Ekta Party (PEP) president Sukhpal Singh Khaira also condemned the removal of the IPS officer from the SIT probing the sacrilege cases and police firing.
He alleged that EC has become “party to political conspiracy” hatched by SAD in connivance with BJP-led government to remove Kunwar Vijay Partap in the name of model code of conduct. “The removal of Kunwar Vijay Partap, at a crucial time when the SIT was about to nail Badals for their involvement in the cases of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib and incidents of police firing in Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura, was malafide and politically motivated,” he said.
Khaira said that the role of Punjab CM is also under scanner as he seems to have buckled down under pressure from SAD and BJP to shift the IG. He wondered why Amarinder Singh did not counter the complaint made by SAD to EC at government level. He reiterated that Badals and Amarinder Singh were hand in glove and misusing their powers to save each other in criminal cases.
Khaira said if Amarinder Singh had no role in the murky deal of removing the IPS officer from the SIT, he should immediately move Supreme Court to challenge the orders. He said that he feared that during the period the model code is in force for about another two months, the evidence collected by SIT may be damaged and other members of the team may be pressured to dilute the case.
State AAP president, Bhagwant Mann, said that his party would urge the EC to revoke the decision as it has hurt the feelings of crores of Sikhs worldwide.
“Sukhbir Badal or his party will not decide who should carry out the probe. Earlier they did not accept the findings of the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission and now they have come out against a police officer. It also seems that the CM is hand in glove with the Badals and is only doing lip service by protesting against the transfer order,” he said.