For the unrest in Punjab over the desecration of Guru Granth Sahib, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has blamed “dirty politics” and sought action against those responsible for the October 14 police firing that killed two Sikh protesters at Behbal Kalan in this district.
As the national convener of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that fancies winning the 2017 assembly elections in the state, he went to Faridkot’s Sarawan and Niamiwala villages on Saturday to meet the families of police firing victims Gurjeet Singh (25) and Krishan Bhagwan Singh (45). All four MPs of the AAP are from Punjab, of which two were suspended recently for “anti-party activities”.
‘Pained by desecration’
Taking the Punjab government on, Kejriwal said it should have been prompt in reacting to the desecration incidents but let the public anger rage. Expressing pain over the tearing of copies of the Sikh holy book, he said it had hurt everyone and disturbed him personally.
Demanding strict action against the officials who ordered firing on peaceful protesters in Faridkot, Kejriwal also called for a fair inquiry to justify the Punjab government’s theory of a foreign hand in the first-reported desecration incident at Bargari in Faridkot district, adding that the official investigation, as of now, had many gaps. “If the Punjab government wants, it can catch the actual culprits within 24 hours and punish them, since it has all the agencies it takes,” Kejriwal said.
Reacting to the demand for people’s commission that religious preachers have raised to look into the Bargari incident, Kejriwal said it was the state’s responsibility to inquire. Appealing for peace and harmony in Punjab, he said big injustice had been done to the families of the firing victims and the AAP was with them.
Addressing the media at Sarawan village of police firing victim Gurjeet Singh, Kejriwal said Punjab was burning and the state government need to do something quickly. “Delay in catching the real culprits will intensify public anger,” he said. Party’s Punjab affair’s in-charge Sanjay Singh, Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann, Faridkot MP Sadhu Singh, senior leader HS Phoolka, and Punjab convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur accompanied him.
‘Don’t frame innocents’
The families of the two brothers accused of sacrilege were also present at Sarawan when Kejriwal said that no innocent should be implicated, unless the government wanted to risk more unrest. Gurjeet’s family asked Kejriwal to lead its fight for justice. “Even if the protesting mob swells to lakhs, firing is not justified. After cane charge, tear gas and warnings, if the situation still demands it, firing should be at the feet. To shoot directly into the crowd is condemnable,” said the AAP convener.
Kejriwal claimed Gurjeet’s family must have the copy of the first-information report (FIR) against the police officials who had ordered firing. “The family also has the right to record its statement. The cops who killed two innocent men deserve to be punished,” he added. Sarban Singh, maternal grandfather of Gurjeet Singh, said police had declined the family’s repeated requests for the FIR. “My grandson went out to serve langar (food prepared in common kitchen) at the protest, and within 45 minutes, was brought back dead,” he said. On October 21, the government had ordered an FIR against police for opening fire.