Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Thursday released CCTV footage from 2015, showing police action against people demonstrating against the desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book, in Kotkapura city. Two people had been killed and 60 hurt in the clashes on October 14, 2015.
Sidhu held former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal responsible for the police firing, PTI reported. Sidhu said both should be booked because there was evidence against them in report of the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission, which investigated alleged incidents of sacrilege in Punjab.
“Both Badals should be booked first and later the proposed special investigation team can investigate the matter,” Sidhu said. “The commission says there is prima facie evidence against them.”
Sidhu said that he had acquired the footage from cameras installed on the main road, connecting Moga, Jaitu and Muktsar areas in Kotkapura. He added that the CCTV footage showed senior Indian Police Service Officer RS Khatra and other officers urging the protestors to end the dharna. When the demonstrators refused to do so, several police officials picked up Panthpreet Singh, the group’s leader, and forcibly took him away, Sidhu said.
The Congress leader said the police lobbed tear gas shells and opened fire to disperse the crowd. “The people who were sitting peacefully at the dharna site in Kotkapura were brutally thrashed by the police,” he alleged.
The minister also released a statement by Kulwinderpal Singh, a doctor who had been asked by the police to reach Kotkapura city on October 14, 2015, as “any eventuality might arise” due to the protests.
In August, the Amarinder Singh government in Punjab passed a law to make desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib, the Bhagavad Gita, the Holy Quran and the Holy Bible punishable with life imprisonment.